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:))

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
  • Print

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.


Crispy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Meal Prep Bowls

Hey guys:) I thought I’d post another meal prep recipe, because you can never really have to many of these on hand. This one is even more simple than my Mexican Inspired Meal Prep Bowls, and it’s super easy to make multiple servings of. You only need 6 ingredients (not counting oil, salt and pepper because those are a given), and about 45 minutes to hang around and keep an eye on the oven.

I never really roast any legumes other than chickpeas, but one time I roasted some red kidney beans and they got nice and crispy on the outside, and a bit soft on the inside. Today I roasted black beans and got the same awesome results🙌 They go in a Tupperware along with roasted sweet potato, brown rice with soy sauce, avocado, and cucumbers to make a delicious portable lunch🥰🥰

Definitely give this recipe a try if your struggling with school lunches! These bowls would keep in the fridge for up to a week, without the avocado on top. Just slice up a fresh avocado in the morning or the night before to top your bowl👌 Enjoy!!

Crispy Black Bean and Sweet Potato Meal Prep Bowls

Serves: 2 (double or triple the recipe for a whole week of lunches)

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 can of black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a long English cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and chop it into small cubes. Add them onto a parchment lined baking sheet along with the black beans, and toss everything with the olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft and caramelized.
  3. Mix the rice together with the soy sauce. Split it evenly between two containers. Then add half of the sweet potatoes and black beans to each, as well half of the cucumbers and avocado. Store in the fridge until ready to eat!!

Hope you like this simple recipe! See you guys on Friday:)

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

Mexican Inspired Meal Prep Bowls

To be honest, I’m excited to be going back to school. It’ll be good to get out of the house and see some other humans. I’m even a little excited to make lunches again! Although I know I’ll probably be sick and tired of it after the first week. That’s why there’s this awesome thing called MEAL PREP. You just make a bunch of delicious food, throw it in containers, and store it in the fridge for when you need it next. A while ago I published a Black Bean Stew that’s great for meal preppin’, and I also have a TON of freezer meals that you can make and then just reheat in the morning. Today I made some Mexican Inspired Meal Prep Bowls, which are AMAZING and full of flavour and good stuff that’ll fill you up. Because not being full is reason number 353378 that school lunches can sometimes suck. Keyword sometimes. Your lunches won’t suck after this.

In these bowls I put a lot of veggies, some quinoa, delicious refried beans, and a KILLER homemade salsa that will knock your socks off. This can all come together in about 30 minutes, and that 30 minutes will save you from a lot of pain later on in the week. You know when you’re like, oh, I’ll just throw a random granola bar in my bag because that’s all I need, and then you seriously regret it at lunch? Problem solved. Now you can throw this in your bag instead. Just maybe don’t actually throw it because then the lid might come off and your backpack will smell like salsa.

I know I said this last year and probably every year before that too, but this year I’m really going to be more organized will meal prepping. Join me in this quest to end LLS (Lazy Lunch Syndrome). I’ll definitely be posting more meal prep recipes, and some tips and tricks for making awesome lunches. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram to stay up to date!!

Mexican Inspired Meal Prep Bowls

Serves: 2 (feel free to double or triple the recipe to prepare for the entire week)

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 can of **ORGANIC** black beans; reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid, then drain and rinse the rest. Please use organic black beans, because when using the liquid you want to make sure it’s just water and salt, and there’s no preservatives.
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • A big handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 of a white onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the black beans and use a fork or wooden spoon to mash them a bit. After cooking for about 2 minutes, add in the liquid from the can, then stir and continue mashing. Season with salt and pepper, and about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cook until the beans have thickened and most of the liquid is evaporated, about another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Place the diced tomato, diced onion, garlic, cilantro and the rest of the juice from the lemon in the blender, and season with some salt and pepper. Give in a few pulses until it reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Evenly divide the quinoa, corn, grated carrot, refried beans, cherry tomatoes, and salsa into two tupperware containers. Store in the fridge until needed!!

I hope you guys try these out! Have a great rest of your Monday, and an awesome first day at school, however that will look like for you!!

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))

BBLT Sandwich

I was just thinking the other day how I need more sandwiches in my life. They’re awesome! They’re fast, versatile, delicious, and contain BREAD:) Definitely great for school, or whenever you need something tasty. Today I’m serving up the recipe for this BBLT sandwich- that’s black bean, lettuce, and tomato people. It may not sound like much, but trust me, it’s pretty darn good.

I’ve made some sandwiches in the past, like my EPIC Veggie Sandwich, that require a little more time and effort. This BBLT is as simple as it gets though; it’s specially designed for busy people (aka me). That doesn’t mean we’re compromising on taste. The base of the sandwich is black beans mixed with some avo, soy sauce, garlic powder and chilli powder for some added savoury deliciousness. I would eat that in a sandwich by itself, but the fresh tomato and crisp lettuce really bring it home. Stuff it all between my favourite sprouted grain bread, and it’s a no brainer.

All the ingredients in this sandwich are super common and nutritious, making for an easy, protein-filled lunch. I know you’ve got a can of black beans in your pantry with your name on it, so grab it and get in the kitchen! Enjoy:))

BBLT Sandwich

Serves: 1

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 a tomato, sliced
  • a leaf of lettuce
  • 2 slices of sprouted grain bread, toasted

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mash the avocado and mix in the soy sauce, chilli powder, and garlic powder. Add in the black beans and stir to combine, mashing them slightly.
  2. Scoop the black bean avocado mixture onto a piece of toasted sprouted grain bread. Top with the sliced tomato and lettuce, then press on the other piece of bread. Cut in half and enjoy!!

So quick! I’ll be making this a lot during the school year:))

Yours Truly,

Olivia:))