How To Meal Prep The Perfect Lunch Bowl

Hey friends! I know that prepping lunches/dinners for school/work can be a STRUGGLE. I’ve been there, believe me. So today I’m sharing how to meal prep the perfect lunch bowl, to give you a bit of inspiration to make lunch the best part of the day again!

Packing lunches is difficult for a number of reasons. It could be that you have no idea what to make, or that you’re just lazy (I get you). It’s times like these when it’s the hardest hard to fit nutritious food into your diet. When you don’t feel like prepping food or are lost as to what to even pack, it’s easier to grab more processed snacks and faster, less nutrient dense options. So this is why lunches need to be

a) Exciting

b) Quick and Easy to Make

c) FREAKING DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS

Having a slew of super tasty lunch ideas available makes it way more likely that you’ll have the desire to meal prep, because you’ll know that your future self will be thanking you. And if said delicious ideas are fast and simple to prepare, even better! It won’t be a laborious chore to make sure that you’re nourished everyday. Which is, of course, the goal. To NOURISH YOUR BODY so that you can be the best version of yourself possible. You can’t do that if you’re consistently packing you’re not having a good lunch- whether you’re consistently packing a couple of chocolate bars and a bag of chips, or s few cucumber slices. I have a ton of great lunch options under School Lunches on my site, but keep reading for my perfect bowl formula.

Like I just said, you can’t pack a super tiny lunch full of junk food or just veggies and expect to feel satisfied. You need BALANCE people. BALANCE! And that’s what I love about these bowls. You get your veggies, your complex carbs (aka ones that will help keep you fuller longer), AND your protein (also fills you up), all in a neat little package that is customizable based on what you have, what you like, and what you feel like preparing. The point is, you get a delicious meal that is simple and easy to make. Which is the optimum recipe for meal prepping success!

Once you have these bowls made, feel free to add a little something extra on the side, whether that be more fruits and veggies, or a little treat. If you’re getting all of your required nutrients in to fuel you throughout the day, of course you can have a lil something sweet- check out my healthy desserts here. It keeps things interesting and satisfying.

Before I present you with this bowl building guide, let me assert this point- UTILIZE LEFTOVERS! Whether it’s some chicken from that night’s dinner, some quinoa you made a few days ago, or some random roasted veggies that you have in your fridge, leftovers of all kinds are welcome in these bowls and are a part of what makes them so quick and easy!

You’ll definitely notice the difference once you fuel up properly, as opposed to being unsatisfied with your lunch choices. And this is incentive should be enough to keep on meal prepping! I hope that this perfect bowl formula helps you out- it’s my go-to lunch almost every day! Let’s get into the very simple steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Complex Carbs

Carbs are IMPORTANT because they give you energy for the day ahead, and help you feel full! Don’t leave em out. What is also important, however, is making sure that you’re choosing whole grain and complex carbs that release energy more slowly and provide you with more nutrients than more quick to release, simple carbs. Think whole wheat bread instead of white bread, and brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. But if you don’t have whole grain options on hand, don’t shy away from using carbs like white rice. You still need that energy, and carbs shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. Fill your tupperware to about a 1/4 full with your carb of choice! Some of my favourite complex carb ideas are:

  • Sweet Potato (see my 5 Minute “Baked” Sweet Potato for a quick option)
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Sprouted grain bread
  • Toasted whole wheat tortillas
  • Brown rice crackers
  • Couscous
  • Barley
  • Whole wheat pasta or brown rice noodles

Step 2: Add Your Veggies

Veggies are full of nutrients and are an essential part of these bowls! Both fresh and cooked options work great- or use a combination of the two. I always like to have a bunch of different veggies on hand in the fridge, ready to be used for such situations. Be sure to pick veggies that YOU LIKE- don’t force yourself to eat stuff you hate, because that is not sustainable. Fill your tupperware at least 1/2 full with veg- here are some ideas:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Corn, peas, or other defrosted frozen veggies
  • Beets
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots (I grate mine- game changer!)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • The list goes on and on!

Step 3: Pick Your Protein

Protein is vital- it helps keep you feeling fuller longer, and is necessary to build muscle tissue and for your body to function in general! When you think protein, you may just be thinking of your conventional sources- meat- which can be hard to include if you don’t have any ready to go. There are a TON of easy protein options out there though! Many of them can be prepped before hand, and a bunch of others are ready to go as is. These are some great healthy protein options to add to your bowl:

  • Boiled eggs (I love boiling a bunch at a time, and having them ready to use for the next few days)
  • Chicken, pork, or beef (including leftovers, or meat that you cook in a batch for meal prep)
  • Canned tuna (mix with some mashed avocado so it’s less dry)
  • Canned beans- black, red kidney, navy, etc.
  • Chickpeas- drained and rinsed from the can, or roasted (see my 3 Flavours of Crispy Chickpeas for ideas!)
  • Falafel (see my favourite falafel recipe here)
  • Tofu
  • Veggie burgers

Step 4: Finish With Flavour And Healthy Fats

Ok, so we’ve got carbs, veg, and protein, which, on their own, should taste pretty good. You can see that I added some more protein in the form of chickpeas to this bowl as well. But to make these bowls even better, be sure to add some healthy fats and flavour at the end! I’m talking homemade dressings, hummus, tzatziki, avocado, nuts and seeds, or simply some balsamic vinegar! Healthy fats are a necessary part of your diet, and make your lunches that much more satisfying. Try and stay away from store bought dips and dressings- they can be full of preservatives, sugars, and other not so nice ingredients! Some finishing touches I like to add to my bowls are:

  • Dips and dressings (see my favourite recipes here)
  • Hummus
  • Salsa
  • Vinegars (love my balsamic)
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

There you have it- the perfect steps to make your meal prep dreams come true! There are so many combinations and that’s something that I love about this formula, but here are some flavour combo ideas if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed:

  • Brown rice with cucumbers, spinach, mushrooms, grated carrot, Soy Marinated Tofu, and Peanut Dressing.
  • Quinoa with cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, olives, red onion, Falafel, and Hummus.
  • Sweet Potato with spinach, red onion, peppers, corn, roasted chickpeas and balsamic vinegar.
  • Toasted whole wheat tortilla with tomato, corn, peppers, black beans, salsa and chicken.
  • Couscous with beets, cauliflower, grated carrots, boiled eggs, almonds and Creamy Avocado Balsamic Dressing.

All of those combos sound amazing! Go ahead and get creative, and I promise that these steps will help you to create delicious, filling and nutritious lunches and keep you coming back for more.

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Hearty Vegetable Chilli

Hi guys! This is truly one of my favourite recipes ever- it’s so full of flavour and VERY hearty, as the name suggests. It’s healthy, vegan, and so so good. I posted the recipe for this chilli just under two years ago, but WITHOUT A PICTURE. So I thought it was time for you guys to see just how good it is😍

Chilli is honestly one of the easiest things you can make, and also one of the most comforting. When I think of a big bowl of this warm chilli, I think of curling up under a blanket after spending the day outside in the cold. The chilli itself has so much delicious flavour, and it’s PACKED with beans and veggies! The more stuff my chilli has in it, the better, and if you agree you’ll adore this recipe.

It starts the way many other delicious things do- with onion and garlic. They get fried up in some olive oil before the spices get added, and become the base of flavour for the chilli. And let me tell you, that is the most technical part of the recipe right there. After that, it’s pretty much just dumping the rest of the ingredients in, giving it a stir, and letting all those aromatics come together in the pot.

Once the chilli is done- you can tell because the carrots will be soft enough to pierce with a fork- I like to scoop out big bowls of it, and top it with some cilantro and chopped green onion. Some hummus would even be great on there too!

All the veg in there is so good- you’ve got tons of corn and carrots, plus black beans, chickpeas, and red kidney beans. This means there’s so much protein and it will definitely fill you up! Perfect for school lunches👌On a related note, this recipe is freezable and therefore great for meal prepping as well. Literally, any situation you’re in, this chilli is applicable.

Make sure you check this chilli out- it’s one of my favourite recipes for a reason!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Hearty Vegetable Chilli

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1 white onion, diced

-3 cloves of garlic, minced

-1 tbsp ground cumin

-1 tbsp chilli powder

-1/2 tbsp dried oregano

-1/2 tbsp paprika

-1/2 tsp chilli powder

-1 large carrot, chopped

-1 cup frozen corn

-1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

-1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

-1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes

-3 tbsp tomato paste

-Salt and pepper to taste


Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes, until translucent. Add in the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

2. Add all of the spices to the pot and cook for 1 more minute, just to brown them up a bit. Next, dump all of the other ingredients into the pot and give everything a good stir.

3. Bring the chilli to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the carrots can be pierced with a fork.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and serve warm.


Balsamic Veggie Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Hey guys! I’m always looking for good meal prep ideas, and these Balsamic Veggie Zucchini Boats check off all of the boxes! They’re healthy, delicious, easy to make and super satisfying.

They’re comprised of perfect little vessels of roasted zucchini stuffed with an amazing mix of sauteed veggies- including onion, garlic, mushrooms, chickpeas, the insides of the zucchini, and some RICED CAULIFLOWER. Told you I’d be back with some great riced cauliflower recipes! All of this veg goes so well together, and the addition of the balsamic is the finishing touch.

The zucchini gets cut into four quarters…

And then the centres are scooped out to make lil “boats”. I just scooped out enough to remove all the seeds and make sure that I could get a good amount of filling in there. After being rubbed with some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, they get placed on a parchment lined baking sheet and roasted until tender- about 15 minutes. The beauty of zucchini is that it doesn’t need very much time at all to cook! Just make sure you take it out right at the 15 minute mark so you’re not left with mush.

While the zucchini is roasting, all of the veg gets cooked together to make a delicious stuffing! I love all of the flavours in here- and the chickpeas and cauliflower rice add a nice heartiness. When you have both of your components all cooked up, the veggie filling is scooped into the zucchini boats, and everything goes back into the oven and broiled for 5 more minutes. This ensures that stuffing gets a little crisp on top- so so good!

These boats make an amazing side dish, appetizer, or lunch! Making a bunch of these at the start of the week for meal prep is also a great idea:) The flavours in here are so tasty, and with the chickpeas in there you get in your fix of protein and fibre. These zucchini boats will definitely shake up your lunch or dinner routine!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Balsamic Veggie Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • Servings: 2-4
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Ingredients

-1 large zucchini -1/2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil

-2 white mushrooms, diced

-2 tbsp diced red onion

-1 clove of garlic, minced

-2/3 cup riced cauliflower

-1 tsp balsamic vinegar

-1/3 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-1/2 tsp dried oregano

-Salt and pepper to taste


Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut off the top and bottom of the zucchini, then cut it in half lengthwise. Cut the halves in half width wise, leaving you with four even pieces of zucchini.

3. Scoop out the centres of the zucchini, removing the seeds but not too much of the flesh, and creating a vessel that can be stuffed. Set the insides of the zucchini aside.

4. Place the zucchini boats on a parchment lined baking sheet, and rub each one with about a 1/2 tsp of olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then place them in the oven for 15 minutes.

5. Heat up the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms, chickpeas, and the insides of the zucchini. Sautee for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the balsamic into the pan and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

6. Once the zucchini boats are done roasting, remove them from the oven and scoop a 1/4 of the sauteed veggie filling into each boat. Place the pan back into the oven and broil the stuffed zucchini for 5 minutes.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and serve warm.


Cauliflower Rice Salad

Hey guys! Today I have a very nice, bright and fresh salad for you that is the perfect base for any protein! It’s full of veggies and has an AMAZING parsley and cilantro dressing that’s whipped up in the blender. The cauliflower base of the salad is created in the blender as well… and let me tell you, I’m loving it!

If sweet potatoes in the microwave isn’t life changing enough, let me introduce you to riced cauliflower! I had half a cauliflower in the fridge waiting to be used up, and I thought I’d do a little something different with it. So I cut it into chunks and tossed it in the blender- yes the blender- and was left with some perfect cauliflower “rice” that makes an amazing base to this salad! I’m really excited to do even more cool stuff with this rice substitute in the future- I stored my extra cauli rice in the freezer for later use. So yes, expect a storm of cauliflower rice recipes coming your way soon:))

In addition to those little grains of cauliflower, this salad has a bunch of other fresh veggies, including cucumber, tomato, chickpeas, and red onion! Definitely getting some nice Mediterranean vibes from this recipe. That red onion adds some extra flavour- onions rock, just so you know. And those chickpeas add a bit of protein so that the whole thing is more filling. This salad is definitely great by itself, but if you’re looking for a more substantial meal you can DEFINITELY top it with a delicious protein of your choice. Some proteins that would be great with this salad are:

  • Chicken breast
  • Steak
  • Boiled eggs
  • Canned tuna
  • More beans

Whipping up a big batch of this and preparing some proteins is a great meal-prep option, and also makes for a great quick and easy school lunch!

Let’s talk about the dressing- it’s pretty darn good. Even though it’s really simple, the bright herb flavours really shine through! I used lots of cilantro and parsley, and brought in some lemon juice for that acid. With some olive oil and the addition of garlic and some salt and pepper, the dressing comes together beautifully! Trust me, this is a container of green gold right here.

So so good! This dressing coats all of the salad ingredients and amps up the flavour of all of the veggies.

This recipe is definitely a quick and easy winner- perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, super fresh and healthy, and VERY TASTY. Enjoy!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Cauliflower Rice Salad

  • Servings: 2-4
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To Make the Cauliflower Rice: Add cauliflower florets to a blender or food processor, and blend until evenly chopped and rice-like in texture. Alternatively, you can grate the cauliflower!

Ingredients

For the Salad

-1 1/3 cups riced cauliflower

-1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-1 tomato, diced

-1/4 of a cucumber, diced

-1/4 of a red onion, diced

For the Dressing

-1/4 cup packed parsley

-1/4 cup packed cilantro

-1/4 cup olive oil

-Juice of 1/2 a lemon

-Salt and pepper to taste


Directions

1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and set aside.

2. Mix together the salad ingredients in a large bowl, add in the dressing, and toss everything to combine.

3. Serve with a protein of choice.


5 Minute “Baked” Sweet Potatoes

I have a VERY deep love of sweet potatoes, and my obsession has only grown after rediscovering this method of cooking them. It takes five minutes, is super easy, and is done in- wait for it- the MICROWAVE. That’s right, we’re making some baked potatoes in the microwave, and I promise you that after trying them out you will never go back to the oven🙌

Don’t get me wrong, I still love some good roasted or air fried sweet potatoes. I love when they get all crispy! But when I’m looking for a quick sweet potato fix, this method is the best. You’re basically steaming the sweet potato in the microwave by wrapping it in a damp paper towel and then cooking it on high for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. This super simple technique is a game changer because it allows you to whip up some delicious potatoes on short notice, instead of waiting 30-40 minutes for them to roast in the oven.

I remember that I saw this idea somewhere on social media a couple of years ago and was only cooking my sweet potatoes this way before I discovered roasting them. But I don’t know why I stopped this microwave magic altogether- now that I’ve remembered how awesome it is I can’t wait to start making sweet potatoes more quickly! What I have in mind is making quick sides for dinner, super fast and delicious school lunches, and last minute additions to salads and bowls.

I hope this method changes your guys’ lives as much as it’s going to change mine!😂 If anyone’s down to start a sweet-potato-cooking-technique-discussion-group let me know because I will be the president✌️

5 Minute “Baked” Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 1

Total Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet potato, washed and cleaned (any eyes or blemishes removed)
  • Hummus, chives, avocado, beans, or plain yogurt for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grab about 2-3 connected sheets of paper towel and soak them under the tap. Wring them out until no more water comes out, and the towels are damp.
  2. Use a fork to poke about 10 holes all around the sweet potato. Wrap it in the damp paper towels, place on a plate, and microwave on high for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
  3. Take the potato out of the microwave, flip it over, and microwave for another 2 minutes and 30 seconds, or until the potato is cooked all the way through.
  4. Unwrap the potato, cut open the top lengthwise, and top with hummus, plain Greek yogurt, chives, or avocado, or add to your favourite bowls and salads.
  5. Enjoy!

There’s a super simple recipe for you on a Saturday! Have a great rest of your weekend and get ready for more tasty recipes coming next week:)

Yours Truly,

Olivia;))