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HOW TO MEAL PREP HIGH-PROTEIN LUNCHES IN 30 MIN

HOW TO MEAL PREP HIGH-PROTEIN LUNCHES IN 30 MIN

Meal-prepping your week of lunches in advance can help you stay on course with healthy eating habits and save you time and money in the process.

Making your meals in advance means you're in full control of what you eat and how much you eat-no need for expensive, high-calorie take-out meals when your lunch is already made! And while meal-prepping does take some commitment, the time you spend up front prepping is less than what you'd collectively spend prepping meals before or after busy workdays.

The high-protein lunches in this meal-prep plan are easy options for anyone looking for healthy lunch ideas and are particularly helpful if you're trying to lose weight.

Because protein increases satiety, a high-protein lunch can help prevent that afternoon "energy crash" that leaves you feeling wiped and craving high-calorie foods. A salad or grain bowl topped with protein (think chicken or an egg) will help keep you full all afternoon. A lunch win! Plus, in combination with exercise, eating a balanced diet with protein-rich foods can help build and maintain muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn over the course of the day.

 

How much protein you need depends on a variety of factors, such as age, gender and activity level. For example, a moderately active 30-year-old woman needs about 50 grams of protein per day. If you break it down over the course of the day, you should aim to consume about one-third of your daily protein needs at lunch and the other two-thirds at breakfast and dinner.

Follow This Formula to Build High-Protein Lunches

 Step 1: Choose 1-2 servings of lean protein

1 serving = 90g chicken, fish or beef; 1 egg; 2 Tbsp. hummus; 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils

 

Step 2: Add in 1 serving of fiber-rich carbohydrates

1 serving = 1/2 cup cooked rice, quinoa or whole-wheat pasta; 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils

 

Step 3: Include 1 or more servings of nutrient-dense vegetables

1 serving = 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables; 2 cups leafy greens; 1 large bell pepper or tomato; 2 medium carrots.

 

Step 4: Incorporate 1 serving of healthy fat

1 serving = 1/4 of an avocado; 1 Tbsp. pumpkin or sunflower seeds; 30g nuts (24 almonds, 48 pistachios; 14 walnut halves); 1 tsp. olive oil

 

Meal Prep Ideas:

These high-protein lunches will keep you satisfied through the afternoon to help you reach your health and weight-loss goals. Pack these lunches up in an air-tight meal prep container to keep them fresh all week long!

1.How to Meal-Prep Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Bowls

Ready in: 30 minutes | Protein per serving: 34 grams

In addition to lean chicken, quinoa doubles as a healthy source of plant-based protein as well as a high-fiber carbohydrate. The olives and olive oil in the sauce serve as the healthy fat, while the red peppers in the sauce plus cucumbers fill out the meal with veggies.

Step 1: Prepare quinoa

Begin by cooking 2/3 cup of dry quinoa in 1 1/3 cups of water. This will yield about 2 cups of cooked quinoa, or 1/2 cup for each lunch serving.

Step 2: Cook chicken & make roasted red pepper sauce

Cook the chicken. While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce.

Step 3: Chop vegetables & herbs

On a clean cutting board, chop olives and red onion, and combine with the cooked quinoa and oil. Dice the cucumber and chop the parsley. Set aside.

Step 4: Assemble lunch containers

Divide the quinoa mixture among 4 lunch containers. Top each with ¼ cup cucumber, about 3 oz. cooked chicken, ¼ cup sauce and 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese; sprinkle with parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

 2.How to Meal-Prep Vegan Buddha Bowls

Ready in: 35 minutes | Protein per serving: 19 grams

Chili-spiced tofu combines with high-fiber brown rice, colorful vegetables, a healthy homemade dressing and crunchy pumpkin seeds (our healthy fat sources) for a high-protein vegan bowl brimming with flavor. 

Step 1: Prepare brown rice

Begin by cooking 2/3 cup of dry brown rice in 1 1/3 cups of water. This will yield about 2 cups of cooked rice, or 1/2 cup for each lunch serving. You can easily swap in microwavable rice pouches to cut down on prep time.

Step 2: Chop vegetables

Slice  bell peppers and red onion. Chop romaine and halve cherry tomatoes.

Step 3: Roast tofu & make dressing

Follow the recipe to roast the tofu and vegetables (Steps 1 and 2). While these cook, prepare the dressing (Step 3). Portion the dressing into 4 small containers and refrigerate.

Step 4: Assemble lunch containers

Divide the rice mixture among 4 lunch containers. Top each with a quarter of the tofu and roasted vegetables, lettuce, tomato and pumpkin seeds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Dress just before serving.

 

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