9 Lunch Meal Prep Ideas That Aren't Sad Chicken and Rice

Lunchbox with quinoa salad with tomato and cucumber, blue berry and trail mix
Photo: Westend61/Getty

Eating the same wilted salad, flavorless chicken, or mushy PB&J for lunch every day can get real old, real fast. But when you're rushing out the door and have zero time to pack a lunch in the morning, these quick, yet boring meals are a necessity.

The solution: Spend some time on your Sunday night assembling delicious mid-day meals that will last you an entire week. To spark some inspiration, look to these lunch meal prep ideas, including frittatas, grain bowls, pasta dishes, and more. They'll help you get creative with your planning and come up with dishes you'll actually look forward to eating.

01 of 09

The Veggie Switch-Off

In this lunch meal prep idea, @floordeboor_fit alternates each day between vegetarian lasagna with pumpkin, zucchini, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and lettuce or brown rice, pumpkin, and asparagus noodles topped with garlic-Parmesan shrimp, served with a side of broccoli. (You need to try Candace Cameron Bure's zesty zoodle salad.)

02 of 09

The Not-So-Sad Desk Salad

Skip the pricey Sweetgreen bowl and instead concoct your own massive salad like @orangesandavocados, who's lunch meal prep idea features arugula, carrots, radishes, cucumber, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and hard-boiled eggs (or any protein you prefer). Top it all off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a hit of acidity worth craving.

03 of 09

The Snack Pack

If you're someone who's barely hungry come 2 p.m., consider this light and simple lunch meal prep idea from @marekfitness. Load your containers with slices of peppers, cucumbers, and carrots, plus a helping of hummus for a boost of protein. When you're feeling sweet, opt for blackberries and strawberries on a bed of yogurt.

04 of 09

The Buffet Method

Rather than create a pre-portioned dish for every day, steal this lunch meal prep idea from @meowmeix, who goes buffet-style. With this method, you can pick and choose what you want to pack each day, depending on your hunger level and cravings. Try prepping whole grains, veggies, and proteins such as salmon, chicken, and hardboiled eggs to make your morning routine much easier.

05 of 09

The Breakfast for Lunch

Sometimes, you really just need something basic in the flavor department, and these lunch meal prep ideas from @foodprepprincess will satisfy that hankering. Mixed greens with chicken, wraps, and frittatas will quiet your growling stomach and can easily be spiced up when you're craving something more powerful.

06 of 09

The Simple Pleasures

This lunch meal prep idea from @winniebbg_ is sure to help you use up your farmers' market haul. Load your containers with fresh ingredients such as roasted eggplant, steamed broccoli, green beans, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and blueberries, then add in protein such as tofu, scallops, turkey, or salmon.

07 of 09

The Colorful Vegetarian Plate

This lunch meal prep idea from @lifeofavegetarian is perfect for plant-based eaters, as it features a hearty salad of spinach, zebra tomatoes, alfalfa and rice; a side of carrot sticks with beetroot relish; plums, and some sweet and salty snacks.

08 of 09

The Meal-In-a-Jar

Mason jar meals are perfectly totable easy to stack away in the fridge. Steal @fitchickscook's lunch meal prep idea, filling large jars with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, quinoa, greens, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado. (

09 of 09

The Berry-Packed Meal

Here, @mealprepmaster jazzes up the traditional chicken salad found in lunch meal prep ideas with fresh strawberries and blackberries, as well as almonds for extra crunch and protein. Though the Instagrammer steams the spaghetti squash for dinner, it makes for a healthy, yet totally delicious, version of mac 'n cheese to eat at lunchtime.

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