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The average lunch at a restaurant these days is close to $11-13 a pop.
Add that up over the course of a year and you could easily be saving $2000+ if you’re in the habit of eating out every day.
The best part is… It doesn’t take much effort. All you have to do is pick one recipe for a lunch meal prep. Whip it up and heat it up your meal prep for lunch each day.
Make this one change in your routine and you’ll be saving money, eating healthier, and probably getting way more done at your day job.
The list of 40 easy lunch meal prep ideas below were not written by me, but by some of my favorite bloggers out there. Show them some love and check out their food!
Other Meal Prep Resources I’ve Written:
- How to Meal Prep: The EPIC, Step-By-Step Meal Prep for Beginners Guide
- 40 Easy One Pot Meals to Rock your Sunday Meal Prep
- 54 Easy Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss
40 Easy Lunch Meal Prep Ideas to Save Time & Money
Here is the full list of 40 easy lunch meal prep ideas for you, sorted by the type of protein you might want to use.
- Meal prep containers
- Nonstick dutch oven 7qt. This is perfect for making one pot meals
- Crock Pot
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Beef
This hearty dish takes only half an hour to make and leaves you with plenty of portions for the week ahead!
This old-school recipe has all the basic chili ingredients: meat, beans, and tomatoes. It also takes well to being in the freezer. This means you can freeze half of the portions for a busy week in the future where you may not have time to meal prep for lunch.
This staple meal has to come in near the top when it comes to easy lunch meal prep ideas. With a prep time of just 15 minutes and a cost per serving of ~$2, you should definitely consider adding this to your meal prep rotation!
These protein-packed beef bowls have a great balance of meat, veggies, and carbs. This recipe takes only 15 minutes to make, and it’s easy to make in large quantities!
If you want a low-carb version of this tasty meal, opt for cauliflower rice instead.
This hearty recipe is definitely a must-have for the fall months! This high-protein, low-carb lunch meal prep recipe is compatible with both Whole30 and Paleo diets.
This recipe is also fairly cheap at under $4 a serving. However, it takes roughly an hour to make, which is long compared to other recipes on this list.
This recipe has less than half of the calories as a traditional Philly cheesesteak, but it’s just as delicious! This recipe takes roughly 15 minutes, is packed with protein, and is low-carb. It also has just five main ingredients making it easy to prepare.
These delicious beef short ribs are paired with green beans and acorn squash; all three of which are fairly easy to prepare. The cooking time is long however at two hours, so you are better off starting it early on Sunday!
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Chicken
Shawarma is a popular take-out lunch item in food courts everywhere. What if I told you that Shawarma can be a cheap meal prep option instead?
This balanced dish comes with salad, pita bread, hummus, and of course, chicken shawarma. You can opt for a low carb lunch by skipping the pita bread.
I just LOVE making sheet pan recipes because they are easy and require very little clean up. This recipe calls for potatoes, chicken breast and asparagus. It may sound boring but trust me; the lemon seasoning here is a game-changer!
I’ve made this recipe a few times already, and it’s quickly become a favorite in my household. The chipotle chicken paired with the cilantro lime sauce makes for a delicious meal. You can have this with lettuce wraps or regular wraps if you choose. Here are a bunch of other chicken meal prep ideas if you need some more!
Chicken meal prep lunches have a bad rep for sometimes being bland. If you feel this way, then this salad will change your mind!
This is a great salad recipe to pair with chicken that can be served cold. The recipe covers the salad; you can prep the chicken however you choose.
If you’re feeling sick but still have to go to work this week, then this is the soup for you! This easy lunch meal prep can be made in a large batch on Sunday and brought in a Thermos to work during the week.
These wraps are so convenient to bring to work, and they’re healthy too! I really love the red pepper tortillas used here. There are a handful of ingredients since the sauces are homemade, however this meal prep recipe is still easy to prepare.
This Chinese-inspired easy lunch meal prep has just 10 net carbs per serving – making it a great keto friendly lunch! It also works well with Whole30.
Chicken thighs are great here for their flavor, but you can also opt for chicken breast if you want a leaner protein source.
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Breakfast
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t have breakfast foods for lunch or dinner. You don’t need that type of negativity in your life! Here are some more breakfast meal prep ideas!
This is a keto friendly version of a fast food classic – the Egg McMuffin! The hardest part of this recipe is making the eggs perfectly round. However, there are these great egg molds on Amazon or alternatively you can use the lid of a mason jar.
This is one of my favorite easy meal prep ideas for breakfast. It takes a total of 15 minutes to prepare and makes for a wholesome breakfast. You can cook this in an instant pot or on the stove!
I love these grab-and-go bacon wrapped omelettes. The recipe also comes with the steps to make a delicious kale salad on the side! This meal prep lunch is great for those on a Whole30 or paleo diet as well.
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Vegetarian
Chili is traditionally a dish for meat lovers. However, great recipes such as this one allow vegetarians to also enjoy a comforting bowl of chili!
A word of warning: this dish doesn’t take as well to being frozen because the vegetables may get soggy leading the chili to lose its texture.
This is the ultimate cheap lunch meal prep, and has become somewhat legendary in the personal finance community!
This rice and beans recipe comes in at just $0.39 per serving (yes, you read that right) and takes roughly half an hour to make. You can always add chicken or beef to this staple meal if you want to mix things up.
This delicious salad makes for a great vegetarian lunch meal prep! My wife and I have actually been following a similar recipe for a long time.
This healthy salad is jam-packed with healthy fats and proteins. You can always add another protein if you’d like.
This power bowl makes for an easy lunch meal prep whether you are vegan or not! This is packed with super foods like kale and chickpeas. I love the roasted chickpeas in this recipe and would even consider having them as a standalone snack.
This lentil Bolognese sauce is a great substitute for the traditional meat sauce. The recipe calls for some brand of gluten-free pasta, but you can definitely use regular pasta if you prefer.
This lunch meal prep is on the higher end of the list in terms of prep-time, but don’t count this one out!
This recipe is actually 3 recipes in one – they share a few common ingredients but spin them in different ways!
These tasty salads are vegetarian by default but I recommend throwing in a protein to complete your lunch.
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Seafood
This unlikely combo is highly underrated. It is low-carb, nutritious, and easy to make. The recipe photo also suggests serving it on a base of rice if you want it to be more filling.
I recommend taking the tails off the shrimp during meal prepping to make it easier to eat at work!
If you like baked salmon then you’ll love this recipe! This healthy meal prep lunch is well balanced and cheap ($1.50-2.50 per serving). It’ll take you no more than 30 minutes to cook up a few days’ worth.
If you want to mix it up, you can sub in pretty much any oven roasted veggie for the asparagus.
Tilapia is a budget friendly seafood and protein source. I love any meal prep lunch recipe that you can cook altogether in one pan and this one is no exception! This healthy lunch also includes broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots, all oven roasted.
Salads always make for easy meal prep lunch ideas. They’re also convenient since they can be served cold in case you have to eat at your desk!
This high-protein tuna salad served with a side of veggies is very cheap to make, coming in at $1.65 per serving.
Tuna is a go-to protein source for many. I remember eating tuna by itself back in high school during wrestling season!
This easy lunch meal prep can be made in batches for the week, and doesn’t require reheating, which is a plus. It is also packed with protein and healthy fats, making this a great keto friendly lunch.
I love how fast this dish takes to prepare, and how few ingredients it requires! This is one of my go-to lunch meal prep ideas since it works with Whole30 and paleo diets. Salmon is great for being a source of both protein and healthy fats.
While the fish can be frozen for another week, the gremolata needs to be eaten shortly after it’s made for freshness reasons.
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Pork
Pulled pork is always a favorite in my household, and this recipe is no different. Pulled pork makes for a great easy meal lunch prep since it can be made in large amounts and frozen for another week. I highly recommend you try this recipe if you own a pressure cooker!
It doesn’t get much easier than a 2-ingredient recipe. This pork tenderloin is fairly fast and effortless to make. The recipe is just for the meat itself; I recommend a side of veggies such as oven roasted asparagus or broccoli.
This Asian-inspired meal prep lunch is paleo diet friendly! This dish is fast to fry up on the stove and is packed with protein. One substitution I recommend is using low-sodium soy sauce instead of the traditional kind.
This is another recipe that just describes how to make the main course. I’d say these marinated pork chops pair well with steamed broccoli or bok choy.
This lunch meal prep is fast to prepare, but it may take more than one try to get the sauce just right!
If you are searching for easy meal prep recipes that are high in protein, then this one is for you. This lunch has over 50 grams of protein with just 472 calories! It is served with a cauliflower mash, which is a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. The meal is completed with braised kale that is served on top or on the side of the pork chops.
Any flavor packed meal that takes just one pot/pan to cook definitely deserves to be counted among easy lunch meal prep recipes. The pork tenderloin comes out juicy and tender, and the potatoes and carrots make for great sides. This definitely deserves to be part of your meal prep rotation IF you own an instant pot!
Easy Lunch Meal Prep Recipes – Turkey
Cauliflower Rice is an absolute game changer. If you haven’t tried it before, you will be absolutely surprised at how good of a substitute it is for rice. The ground turkey provides a great lean source of protein here. This lunch has 25 grams of protein in a 289 calorie serving; making it one of the leaner high-protein lunch meal prep ideas!
These delicious burrito bowls use ground turkey, one of the leanest sources of protein out there. All the ingredients can be stored in one container without getting mushy, which is a huge plus.
The writer uses her own homemade taco seasoning; you can make this recipe even easier by using store bought!
These flavor-packed turkey meatballs are easy to make and include in your meal prep lunch ideas! They can be served with different types of pasta, rice, or even in a sandwich. You can make these in bulk and freeze them for a busier week.
This is another recipe where the meat and veggies are just thrown on a pan. I love not having extra dirty dishes! The only thing you cook separate is the quinoa. This recipe is quite easy to prepare and is very healthy. It calls for turkey sausage but you can sub in any meat you like.
This easy lunch meal prep recipe requires just one pan and less than half an hour! I love using ground turkey as a lean yet flavorful protein source, and this dish is no exception. The lettuce wraps make for a great low-carb option but you can always use real tortillas if you prefer.
This meal is also freezer-friendly, minus the lettuce of course!
I love Mediterranean flavours and this dish is no exception. You’ll be shocked to hear how this tasty meal is actually very low in carbs! As always, if low-carb isn’t a priority to you, you can opt to have this easy lunch meal prep idea with real rice or pita bread instead of cauliflower rice.