20+ Easy Lunch Recipes You Can Prep the Night Before

by Rajesh Kaur

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time to prepare healthy and nutritious meals can be a challenge. With busy schedules and limited time, it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that you’re eating well even on the busiest of days. That’s where make-ahead lunches come in handy. By prepping your meals the night before, you can have a filling and nutritious lunch ready to go, regardless of how packed your day may be.

Here are some delicious and easy-to-make make-ahead lunch recipes that will keep you fueled and feeling your best throughout the day:

1. Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowls:
With shortcut ingredients like precooked rice packets and seasoned baked tofu, you can create these high-fiber, high-protein meals in just 15 minutes. The Teriyaki Tofu Rice Bowls are not only quick to make, but they are also packed with nutrients and flavor.

2. Better Three-Bean Salad:
Give the traditional three-bean salad a fresh spin by adding black soybeans, snap peas, and a tarragon-infused dressing. This salad is high in fiber and bursting with flavor, making it a satisfying and nutritious option for busy days.

3. Tortellini Salad:
Featuring a tomato-rich dressing, this tortellini salad is a great option for those who are looking for a filling and healthy lunch. Packed with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes, this salad provides a good dose of vitamins A, C, and fiber.

4. Meal-Prep Chili-Lime Chicken Bowls:
Skip takeout and opt for these equally delicious and easy-to-make burrito bowls. Great for a fast and convenient dinner or a healthy meal to pack for work during the week, these bowls are packed with protein and flavor.

5. Loaded Chicken-Quinoa Salad:
Transform simple, precooked ingredients into a delicious one-dish meal that is high in fiber and protein. Loaded with chicken and quinoa, this salad will keep you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the day.

6. Spicy Tuna Wrap:
Inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls, these wraps are a flavorful and satisfying option for lunchtime. Pair them with peppery watercress or other greens, such as arugula or romaine, for added freshness and crunch.

7. Avocado Ranch Chicken Salad:
Avocado adds a creamy and healthful twist to this classic chicken salad. Mixed with a bit of ranch dressing and pickled jalapeño, this salad is tangy and flavorful. Serve it on whole-wheat toast or in a lettuce cup for a low-carb lunch option.

8. Spinach & Dill Pasta Salad:
Edamame gives this veggie-packed vegan pasta salad a protein boost. Topped with freshly ground pepper, this salad is a quick and easy option for a satisfying lunch.

9. Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower Rice:
This flavorful burrito bowl replaces the traditional cilantro-lime rice with cauliflower rice, making it a low-carb, protein-packed option. Perfect with chicken or shrimp, this bowl brings all the flavors of your favorite takeout without the added carbs.

10. Roasted Veggie & Quinoa Salad:
Quick, simple, and packed with protein and fiber, this salad makes for a perfect lunch or easy one-dish dinner. Roasted veggies and quinoa create a satisfying and nutritious meal that can be enjoyed anywhere.

11. PB&J Bistro Lunch Box:
Inspired by Starbucks’ bistro boxes, this packable lunch is perfect for kids and adults alike. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is accompanied by sides like a yogurt parfait, fruit, veggies, and popcorn, ensuring a filling and well-rounded meal.

12. Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap:
Combining white beans, avocado, sharp Cheddar, and onion, this wrap is rich and flavorful. Top it off with a tangy, spicy slaw for added crunch and serve it as a healthy and portable lunch option.

13. Chicken Avocado BLT Wrap:
Put a Mexican twist on the classic BLT by adding chicken and avocado. Wrapped in a tortilla, this lunch option is easy to eat and packed with flavor.

14. Chopped Rainbow Salad Bowls with Peanut Sauce:
Take advantage of seasonal produce with these colorful and crunchy vegetable bowls. With just 30 minutes of prep, you’ll have four healthy and ready-to-go lunches. Swap in quinoa or another hearty whole grain for bulgur, add protein like chicken or tofu, and you’re good to go.

15. Turkey BLT Wraps:
This kid-friendly twist on a classic BLT adds turkey for extra protein. Packed up for school or work, these wraps make for a filling and healthy lunch option.

16. Protein Bistro Lunch Box:
Inspired by Starbucks’ bistro boxes, this lunch option is both affordable and easy to make. With high-protein ingredients like hard-boiled eggs, edamame, and tuna, this bistro-style lunch will leave you feeling satisfied.

17. Chicken & Cabbage Salad Bowls with Sesame Dressing:
This low-carb lunch option is quick to assemble and packed with flavor. Using prechopped red and green cabbage as the base, these chicken salad bowls are topped with sesame-flavored almonds and a sesame dressing, resulting in an irresistible lunch option.

18. Vegetarian Protein Bowl:
This vegetarian protein bowl offers a complete meal in one bowl. With creamy beans and a bright chimichurri sauce, this filling and flavorful dish will leave you satisfied.

19. Green Goddess Farro Bowl:
Farro and vegetables dressed in a thick green goddess dressing make this grain bowl a flavor-packed lunch option. Add chicken or use white beans as a plant-based alternative for added protein.

20. Chickpea Salad:
This satisfying chickpea salad combines crunchy cucumbers with crumbly feta cheese. Tossed in a dill ranch dressing, this salad offers creaminess and tanginess in every bite.

By planning and prepping your meals ahead of time, you can ensure that you have a filling and nutritious lunch readily available, even on the busiest of days. These make-ahead lunch recipes are quick, easy, and packed with nutrients to keep you fueled and feeling your best throughout the day. Whether you’re looking for a plant-based option or a protein-packed meal, there’s a recipe to suit every preference. So, take some time to plan and prep your lunches for the week, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier and more productive day.

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