We’ve all been there before. “Hmmm… what to do for lunch?”
After back to back meetings, with only about half an hour before the next set of meetings, we hurriedly run down to the closest fast food chain to impatiently wait in line to overpay for some sub par meal dense with processed calories.
For me, after going through this routine for few months where I felt I was wasting away my time, money and health I committed myself to finding a better way!
In this post, I am going to teach you how to meal prep 20 convenient, affordable and healthy lunches in 3 easy steps.
1. what you will need
There are 4 essential ingredients you will need to collect:
a. Purchase Enough Quantity for 20 Meals - We will be making 20 meals, so you want to make sure you get enough. My recommendation are as follows:
- Chicken: 5 lbs
- Fish: 2 lbs
- Frozen Vegetable: 5 lbs
- Brown Rice: 2 lbs
b. Purchase Pre-Marinated / Pre-Cooked Chicken - Though it is bit pricier than fresh or frozen chicken, you save a lot of time. Unless you enjoy marinating and cooking, I recommend going with pre-marinated / pre-cooked chicken. I love 'Naples Hawaiian Style Chicken.' You can find them at your local Costco store!
c. Try Asian Markets for Brown Rice - Local grocery stores usually have brown rice, but they come in small bags and are pretty pricey. I recommend trying your local Asian market. You should be able to find a 20lb bag for $10 or less if on sale!
d. Shop Costco - You can acquire Chicken, Fish and Frozen Vegetable at any grocery store, however I have found Costco to have the best prices and the perfect quantity for batch meal prep. As you can see on the chart below, lower the per serving cost, closer to the $2 per meal target; in this case, $2.37 to be exact :)
Now that you have all the ingredients, next step is to simply prepare them!
a. Bite Size Portions - Chop or tear chicken and fish into bite size pieces. If you purchased pre-cooked chicken like I recommended, it makes distribution and consumption super easy!
b. Don't Steam the Vegetable - People make the mistake of steaming the vegetable for meal prep. No need here. We will be freezing all the meals so all you have to do separate out portions
c. Rice Cooker - The easiest way to cook rice is with a rice cooker. If you plan on seriously meal prepping, you must get a rice cooker!
3. Combine & Freeze!
The final step is to simply combine all ingredients into 20 individual containers and store them in the freezer!
a. Use Glass Container - Do not use plastic containers. Despite what the label says, glass containers are much more durable and safer. I've used my glasslock glass containers for the past 7 years without any wear and tear.
b. Freeze - Since you will be making 20 meals, you want to freeze your meals. This will ensure that the meals last longer.
c. Microwave Tips - When you are ready to eat, do not microwave with the lid on! Cover the meal with paper towel. This is safer and my meals are steamed to perfection. The recommended time to microwave is approximately 6 minutes.
There you have it! Three simple steps to your $2 meal plan.
When you follow the above steps, your meals will not only be affordable, but convenient and healthy as well! After years of research and testing, I'm very proud to have created a system that helps me to not only save me money, but time and health as well. If you struggle with your lunch, I challenge you to meal prep this week!
What do you do for your lunch at work? Any additional thoughts on how we can make it more convenient, affordable and healthy? Please share!