A roundup of 30 dietitian-approved healthy meal prep ideas for lunch and dinner. These recipes are nutritious, tasty, and perfect for making in advance – helping you save time, money, and stick to your healthy eating habits!
Having lunch and dinner made in advance for the week can help save you valuable time as well as money – eating out every day can really add up! Having these meals prepared can also help reduce the stress and mental burden of wondering what to make or where to get takeout after a long day at work. Of course, it also helps you stick to your health and nutrition goals in the long run.
Not sure what meals work well for meal prep? I’ve rounded up 30 of my favourite healthy meal prep ideas for lunch and dinner in this post. Think lots of filling salads that don’t go soggy, grain bowls, pasta salads, casseroles, soups, chilis, sandwich fillings, and stir-fries. These meals store easily, reheat well, and are great for packing with you to work or school.
As a dietitian, I’ve kept your nutrition in mind and ensured that these meals provide a balance of protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and fibre-rich veggies, while still tasting absolutely delicious. These recipes are a mix of vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian options, but many can be modified to suit your dietary needs. I hope this roundup gives you plenty of healthy meal prep ideas for lunch and dinner!
Healthy Salad Recipes
Salads are a popular meal to pack for lunch, but there are always a few things I take into consideration when I’m making or packing them:
- Make sure your salad is filling + balanced, or else it’ll leave you unsatisfied and hungry an hour later. Aim to include a source of protein, healthy fat, and fibre-rich carbohydrates in your salad to make it a complete meal. As a dietitian, I’ve made sure that the salads below are nutritionally balanced :).
- For meal prep, the number one thing is to make sure that your salad doesn’t go soggy! This might mean choosing heartier greens (like kale), having salads made with chopped vegetables + grains only (no leafy greens), or simply keeping the dressing on the side until you’re ready to eat it.
- Dressings can easily be stored in a small airtight container or glass jar. I LOVE washing out old spice jars + using them to pack salad dressings – they’re the perfect size!
- Salads can also be packed in large mason jars, with the dressing on the bottom layer. This helps to prevent the other ingredients from getting soggy, and you can shake things together when ready to eat.
- If you salad calls for avocado, add it in the morning before work or right before eating. A squeeze of lemon will also help prevent it from browning.
Massaged kale salads don’t get soggy, which is a huge plus when meal prepping. This one is paired with fibre-rich sweet potatoes, heart-healthy avocado (add before serving), pecans, pomegranates, and goat cheese. For an extra protein boost, add a hard-boiled egg!
I’m obsessed with the Turmeric Tahini Dressing on this salad by one of my favourite food bloggers, Carina! The crispy chickpeas add plant-based protein and kale doesn’t get soggy when making in advance. Just add the avocado before eating to prevent browning!
Quinoa and lentils pack in tons of plant-based protein into this yummy greek salad by my dietitian friend, Alex! Recipe can easily be made vegan.
Another delicious, dietitian-made kale salad. This vegetarian recipe uses protein-rich greek yogurt as a dressing and crispy chickpeas as “croutons” for even more plant-based protein. Sounds so good!
Quinoa tabbouleh salads have been my go-to meal prep dish for years. This one is made with pomegranates, chopped carrots, cucumbers, parsley, and protein-rich eggs for a complete, balanced meal. It keeps well and is meant to be eaten cold, making it a perfect packed lunch idea. Feel free to switch up vegetables/fruits depending on the season – I love it with tomatoes and berries in the summer!
I am loving this greek salmon salad recipe. Salmon is rich in heart healthy fats, omega-3s, and protein. This salad would even be a great option for repurposing any leftover salmon, and I’m sure it would work with canned salmon too. Ali provides lots of different variations for this recipe if you want to change things up!
Love all the mediterranean flavours in this salad, along with the added sweetness from medjool dates! Chickpeas and goat cheese add plenty of protein, and all ingredients will keep well when made ahead of time.
An example of how to make salad in a jar by keeping the dressing on the bottom! Love this healthy sushi salad idea for something a little different.
Healthy Pasta Salad Recipes
One of my FAVOURITE healthy meal prep ideas = pasta salad! Pasta salads almost always hold up well and even seem to taste better the next day. They’re also meant to be enjoyed cold, which is always a plus.
Like the salads above, I’ve made sure that each of these pasta salads have a source of healthy fat and quality protein to make them a complete and satisfying meal.
To up the protein and fibre content even more, you can even choose bean- or lentil-based pastas. They’re now widely available in grocery stores! For gluten-free versions, be sure to choose gluten-free pasta noodles.
This Winter Pasta Salad is made with oven-roasted butternut squash, broccoli, and mushrooms, as well as arugula, shrimp, and a thyme-mustard vinaigrette. Easy, nutritious, and perfect for meal prep!
This tuna salad recipe is a lighter take on a traditional mayo-filled version. It’s filled with plenty of fresh delicious veggies (like cherry tomatoes, olives, and arugula), tons of herbs (parsley + basil), complete protein (canned tuna), and a heart-healthy olive-oil based dressing. Bonus – it only takes 20 minutes to make!
This vegetarian pasta salad is filled with chopped veggies, protein from chickpeas and cheese, and topped with a delicious Italian dressing. Super quick, easy to make, and great for meal prep!
This pasta salad is beyond delicious and combines roasted corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers with arugula, shrimp, and pasta. Roasting veggies brings out so much of their natural sweetness and taste great even when cold!
Pesto pasta salad? Yes please! This vegan pasta salad from future-RD Emilie is filled with plant-based protein from white beans and sounds beyond delicious. If you don’t have couscous, swap for another grain or pasta!
Likely the easiest pasta salad you can make! Chopped veggies, fresh herbs, and bocconcini balls are a combo I never tire of. Bocconcini adds protein, but feel free to use high-protein pasta or add a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top to get a little more in!
Healthy Grain Bowl Recipes
Grain bowls are awesome for lunch and dinner meal prep! The individual items can be prepared in advance, and either assembled in Tupperware containers or kept separate until serving.
Again, to make sure these are nutritionally balanced, I’ve chosen grain bowl recipes that combine quality proteins, healthy fats, fibre-rich whole grains, and lots of veggies! Each of these recipes have unique flavour combinations as well.
This Pesto Quinoa Bowl is packed with nutritious and tasty ingredients like roasted sweet potato chunks, roasted broccoli, spinach, pecans, and a hard-boiled egg. Everything is topped with my favourite vegan hemp seed pesto to add a punch of flavour.
This shrimp taco salad bowl is filled with nutritious ingredients like romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, quinoa, salsa, and taco shrimp. The ingredients can be prepped in advance and assembled before serving. If you’re packing it for lunch, just keep everything separate in your container and stir together right before eating.
Roasted veggies, a delicious green sauce, and plant-based protein make this a perfectly balanced grain bowl. I love that touch of sauerkraut here too. All ingredients can be made ahead and then assembled before eating!
One of my favourite ways to include probiotic-rich kimchi in my diet. It’s an easy, yet flavourful weeknight dinner idea. If serving with a fried egg, simply add the egg right before eating (everything else can be made in advance). If it’s something you want to pack with you, simply hard-boil the egg instead of frying it. Can also be made vegan by swapping the egg for tofu or tempeh.
I am drooling over this maple balsamic baked tempeh, one of my favourite plant-based proteins! This grain bowl looks incredibly easy, delicious, and perfect for meal prep.
Healthy Sandwich Ideas
Sometimes there nothing that hits the spot like a good sandwich! Healthy sandwich fillings can be made in advance, kept in the fridge, and then added to your sandwich either in the morning or right before eating.
When making a sandwich, I recommend choosing a high-quality, fibre-rich whole grain bread. Some of my favourite brands are Good For Life Bakery and Silver Hills – I always keep a loaf or two of these in my freezer.
If you’d prefer, you can also add these sandwich fillings to a lettuce/collard wrap, whole wheat pita, or as a salad topping. Changing things up can be a great way to combat taste fatigue in meal prep!
This healthy tuna salad recipe swaps traditional mayo with protein-rich greek yogurt and heart-healthy avocados. Plus, it’s filled with other delicious ingredients like fresh dill, chopped cucumbers, olives, and lemon juice. Because it’s higher in protein, healthy fats, and fibre compared to regular tuna salads, it’ll keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
For a vegan sandwich mix, look no further than this delicious white bean sandwich by dietitian Desiree Nielsen. It takes just 20 minutes to make and is packed with plant based protein!
Mashing hard-boiled eggs with creamy avocado is a delicious swap from traditional mayo. Plus, the avocado adds tons of heart-healthy fats and fibre, to help stabilize blood sugar and keep you full all afternoon.
Healthy Stir Fry Recipes
Stir-fries are the ultimate easy weeknight dinner or lunch idea. The flavour combinations are endless, you can get so many colourful vegetables in, and they are super easy to reheat (the stovetop or microwave often work well).
Like all the recipes in this roundup, I’ve focused on stir-fries that are balanced in nutrition! The two below are vegetarian, but if you prefer meat, you can easily swap out the tempeh or tofu.
This vegan stir-fry is made with tons of veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and snow peas), quinoa, and a spicy coconut milk sauce. Everything can be made ahead of time, just be sure you’re able to reheat it, as the coconut sauce will harden a bit when cold!
Loving this spicy peanut sauce on this delicious tofu stir fry. Take 20 minutes to make a few servings of this dish, and you’ll have a filling plant-based meal for a few days. Feel free to swap the cauliflower rice with a whole grain if desired.
Healthy Soup & Chili Recipes
If you’re meal prepping in the winter months, you might be craving some cozy soups or chilis! There’s nothing like coming home after a long, cold day to something warming and nutritious.
Soups can easily be prepped in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for longer. A great thing about soups is that they reheat great in the microwave or on the stove.
Again, I’ve made sure these soups and chilis are nutritious and filling to make them a complete meal (not all soups are!)
This dietitian-designed one pot meal is packed with fibre and plant-based protein. I love all the delicious, warming spices in this cozy dish!
Another delicious dietitian-made chili recipe that packs in a ton of fibre, protein, and veggies. It’s a filling recipe that the whole family will enjoy!
The flavours of stuffed peppers, but in a hearty, warming bowl of soup! Love this idea from Choosing Chia.
Healthy Casserole Recipes
Like the soups above, casseroles are also super comforting in the colder months. They’re great to make ahead (so many servings!) and can be stored in the fridge or freezer. I personally prefer to reheat casseroles in the oven to maintain their crisp top layer.
This Casserole is packed with vegetables and protein. Spaghetti squash is cooked and mixed with a tasty homemade tempeh bolognese, then topped with freshly grated parmesan and oven-baked for a delicious weeknight dinner. Makes multiple servings and reheats in the oven or microwave!
There’s something about cheesy broccoli that is just so good. This yummy casserole is made with vegan cheese sauce and packs in plant-based protein in the form of chickpeas!
Penne pasta is tossed with broccoli, mushrooms, and homemade hemp seed pesto, then topped with freshly grated parmesan and baked till the cheese gets browned and crisp. Hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and parm all provide protein, but feel free to use a bean or lentil-based pasta to add even more.
More Meal Prep Ideas
- 25 Dietitian-Approved Healthy Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas
- 27 Healthy Make-Ahead Snack Recipes
- 25 Meal Prep Component Recipes To Mix & Match
- How To Meal Prep With Eggs
I hope this post has given you tons of healthy meal prep ideas for lunch and dinner! If you include any of these recipes in your weekly meal prep, let me know in the comments below. Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for more nutrition tips and simple, healthy recipe ideas.