Meal planning is quite popular these days for a good reason—one it’s of the simplest ways to fit healthy eating into a busy week while also saving time. If the idea of meal planning makes you envision spending the majority of your weekend in the kitchen, we’re here to dispel that notion. You can meal-prep a week’s worth of lunches in as little as 15 minutes with the use of a few healthy grocery store convenience products, including as prepared vegetables, cooked grains, nutritious frozen meals, and bottled dressing.
Healthy Convenience Items = Fast Meal Prep
Utilize precut produce department components (such bagged greens or spiralized zucchini noodles) to save prep time. Choose par-cooked whole grains or quinoa or brown rice pouches that may be microwaved in its place. Add protein by using frozen cooked shrimp, low-sodium canned beans, or store-bought rotisserie chicken. Comparing nutrition labels and ingredient lists will help you choose products like frozen meatballs, bottled salad dressing, or jarred spaghetti sauce that have fewer salt, added sugars, and partly hydrogenated oils.
Follow This Formula to Build Quick Lunches in 20 Minutes or Less
1. Start with 1 or more servings of vegetables.
Easy Ideas: Sliced veggies from the salad bar, prewashed leafy greens, spiralized vegetarian noodles, steam-in-bag green beans, frozen riced cauliflower, and green beans.
2. Add in 1 serving of fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Easy Ideas: Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous in precooked packets; seeded crackers; whole-wheat bread, pita, or tortillas; and low-sodium canned beans
3. Include 1 serving of lean protein.
Easy Ideas: Hard-boiled eggs, rotisserie chicken, canned tuna or salmon, baked, ready-to-eat tofu, and prepared chicken breast from the deli department; Premade hummus; canned low-sodium beans; frozen edamame; precooked chicken sausage
4. Top it off with 1 serving of healthy fats.
Easy Ideas: Avocado, nuts, seeds, prepared pesto, olives, store-bought salad dressing made with olive, canola, or avocado oil
How to Meal-Prep a Week’s Worth of Lunches Fast
You may prepare and pack three separate extra-simple lunches for the week in as little as 15 minutes by following the procedures we’ve described.