After a long day of work, I really enjoy spending my evenings reading a book or doing another form of self-care (TV, journaling, adult coloring…etc.). Sounds familiar? Prepping lunch for the next day is the last thing on my to-do list. But, I do make it a priority to make sure I have a nutritious lunch each day when I go into work. Meal prep on the weekends is just one way I am able to assure I can have my cake and eat it too. Nutrition pun intended.
My clients all the time ask me about what are some delicious and nutritious meals to prep for the week. Sunday food prep is actually one of my favorite days of the week. This might sound totally lame, but cooking is something I enjoy, so it’s actually a few hours of the day when I can relax before the hectic week begins. I decided it was time to compile a meal of some of my favorites!
See below for recipes and pictures of 6 dietitian approved lunches to prep for this week.
Mango Tofu Rice Bowls
Tofu is one of my favorite proteins to use. A lot of people tend to avoid eating tofu—I don’t totally blame them since it’s an unknown food to many people. You really have to know how to make tofu correctly in order for it to taste good. In my opinion, tofu is best when it’s super crispy and has an Asian-y sauce. Try to meal prep this mango tofu rice bowl for a dish with a delicious tropical flair.
- 5 uncooked rice
- Minced garlic, 1 clove
- 5oz can coconut milk
- 1 cup water
Pan fried tofu:
- 1 fresh lime
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 mango
- Fresh peppers (red, orange, yellow), cut up
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Package of extra firm tofu
- Oil for frying
- Sliced green onions
- Fresh cilantro
- Press the tofu. Wrap the tofu in a bunch of paper towels. Put the wrapped tofu between two plates and then put something heavy on top of it (like a pot or pan) so the water drains. I usually let the tofu sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Next, you want to make the savory rice. Combine all the ingredients in a medium pot until it reaches a boil. Then, turn the heat down to simmer and let the rice cook for about 20-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
- While the rice is cooking, to make the lime sauce, zest the lime to have about 1btsp of lime zest. Add the lime zest, lime juice, ¼ cup honey, soy sauce, red peppers and corn starch to a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
- Next, cut the tofu into cubes. Add the oil to a pan and let cook on both sides for 5 minutes each. Then add the peppers and sauté them along with the tofu.
- Cook the peppers and tofu for a little bit and then add the sauce and let simmer.
- While the peppers and tofu are simmering, cut the mango into cubes and add that to the pan as well. Let cook for another 5 minutes.
- The rice should be done right about now as well! Separate the rice and the tofu/pepper mixture into 5 separate containers. Add the cilantro and green peppers. You will need to add avocado slices right before you eat the bowls (or the morning of) so they don’t turn brown!
Strawberry Fields Salad
I was inspired to make this one when the weather started to finally get warm. Berries were on sale at the grocery store, so I thought why not! I made homemade salad dressing, which is a rare occasion for me, but it turned out great! The meal prep for this salad is very simple, enjoy!
For the salad:
- 1lb strawberries (sliced)
- 8 cups spinach salad
- 4 oz goat cheese or feta cheese
- 1 lb cooked chicken breast
- ½ onion (diced)
- Dried cranberries
- Slivered almonds
For the dressing:
- 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Bake the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes
- While the chicken is cooking, divide the spinach, goat cheese, chopped onion , strawberries into 5 separate containers
- Top with dried cranberries and silvered almonds. About 1 tbsp of each.
- Add all ingredients for the salad dressing in a food processor or blender. Blend together until smooth. Divide the salad dressing into separate containers. About 2tbsp in each container.
- The chicken should be about done now. You can chop up the chicken and divide it into the separate containers. Store in fridge to enjoy throughout the week!
Shrimp Stir Fry
This was so simple! I used frozen veggies, brown rice, soy sauce, and shrimp. That’s it. Just 4 ingredients. This is a great meal to make when you’re short on time but would still like to meal prep for the week.
- 16oz frozen shrimp
- 5 cups brown (or white!) rice
- 1package of frozen stir fry veggies (I also added frozen shelled edamame to the mix..
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Add the rice and 3 cups of water to a medium pot. Once water comes to a boil, turn the heat down and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes
- Defrost the shrimp. I added a bit of oil to the pan and sautéed them, but you can also boil them in water. If you sauté them, cook for about 5-10 minutes on both sides until the raw shrimp is cooked through.
- Next, cook the veggies. Steam the veggies on the stove for about 5 minutes, until they were cooked through. Add the veggies to the pan where the shrimp are cooking. Once the rice is cooked, add the rice as well.
- Top with soy sauce and stir until veggies, shrimp and rice are coated.
Beef and Sweet Potato Chili
With the weather getting nice, this one may be a recipe you save until the fall or winter. I decided to add it because I love chili, due to the simplicity of the recipes. And they are easy to freeze for a later date.
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 2-3 cups water
- 1x 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 x 15oz can black beans
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the bell pepper and onions. Sautee veggies until they soften
- Add in ground beef and the spices (chili powder, cumin and oregano). Cook the meat and break up the meat as it cooks. Cook until the ground beef is brown and add the tomato paste and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the hot sauce.
- Add 2 cups of water, the black beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine. Then add the sweet potato.
- Cover pot and cook on medium low heat for about 45-60 mins.
Sesame Kale Quinoa Bowls
This one was such a flavorful lunch! I usually don’t use sesame oil or tempeh. I also haven’t had quinoa in awhile so I was definitely in the mood to make a lunch with quinoa. These tasted great!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 package tempeh
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 3 cups of kale
- 2 cups of broccoli florets
- 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- Juice from 1 lime
- ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Red pepper flakes
- Combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until all water has been absorbed
- While quinoa is cooking, heat the sesame oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the kale, broccoli, tempeh. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes
- Then, in a small bowl, combine the water, lime juice, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and red pepper. Add this mixture to the veggies and mix well until all the veggies are coated
- When the quinoa is finished. Divide into 4 containers. Then divide the veggies into 4 containers and enjoy throughout the week!
Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes
To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about these. I wanted to try something different and was inspired by the Salmon cakes recipe from Mayhem to Mealtime. So, I decided to create my own spin on salmon cakes!
- 12 oz of salmon (I used 2x5oz cans of salmon)
- 1 sweet potato (cooked)
- 2 eggs
- 3-4 tbsp of fresh dill
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- Mix salmon, sweet potato, eggs, dill and green onions in a bowl.
- Form the mixture into 9 cakes. You can use 1/3 cup measuring cup to do so.
- Heat about 1-2tbsp of olive oil on a pan under med-high heat.
- Put the salmon cakes on the pan and cook on both sides for about 3-5 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them!
Do you have any favorite recipes to meal prep ahead of time? Let us know! If you would like to make an appointment with Alex or any of our nutrition professionals and learn how we can help you make food simple, call 301-474-2499 or click here.
Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients. Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.