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20 Healthy Make-Ahead Hot and Cold Lunch Ideas

    Twenty delicious make-ahead hot and cold lunch ideas for work that are packed with nutrition to give you energy all afternoon long.

    20 Healthy Make Ahead Lunch Ideas - The Lemon Bowl

    Sundays are meal prep days in our house. My husband typically grocery shops on Sundays so that we can spend later in the next day in the kitchen cooking, singing and dancing.

    Jacob recently started doing this new dance move where he bobs his head from left to right, from one shoulder to the other, to the beat of the music. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and the reason I am always grooving and blasting music..I want to see his moves.

    Jacob Eating

    One of my biggest time savers and healthy eating strategies is that I take time out on the weekends to plan out what we are having for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. People often talk about weekly meal plans for dinner but around here the first two meals of the day are often the most hectic since I’m usually out numbered by frantic, starving toddlers.

    Whether you’re home with little one, sitting at your desk or eating from the car on the go, I’ve put together a list of healthy and delicious make-ahead lunch ideas to get you through your week. Not only are they more exciting than turkey on wheat but they are packed with nutrients to give you long lasting energy to get you through your day.

    Pesto Egg Salad

    An easy and healthy lunch that’s great for sandwiches or big potlucks. This Pesto Egg Salad is filled with flavor and nutritious ingredients!
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    Pesto Egg Salad

    Authentic Lebanese Falafel Wrap

    5 stars average
    25 minutes
    This light and fluffy authentic falafel recipe is made with chickpeas, parsley and spices then drizzled in a creamy tahini sauce.
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    Falafel Pita Wrap

    Moroccan Soup with Kale and Chickpeas

    This hearty vegetarian soup of chickpeas, kale, butternut squash and potatoes gets it’s exotic flair from the vibrant Moroccan spices of saffron, cumin and cinnamon and is so easy to make.
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    Moroccan-Soup-with-Chickpeas-foodiecrush.com-009

    Quinoa Salad with Pistachios, Cherries, and Honey Balsamic Kefir Dressing

    This quinoa salad is sweet, crunchy and has a little Kefir tang! It’s super healthy, gluten free and makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner!
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    Quinoa-salad-with-kefir-6

    Spelt Tabbouleh with Jalapeño Vinaigrette

    5 stars
    15 minutes
    A twist on the traditional dish, spelt gives this tabbouleh an added chewy texture that pairs perfection with the slightly spicy jalapeño vinaigrette.
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    Spelt Tabbouleh by The Lemon Bowl

    Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich

    Smashed Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich is the perfect healthy lunch or dinner! This easy smashed chickpea salad can be eaten as a sandwich or served on greens, rice cakes, toast, or eaten as a dip with crackers or veggies!
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    Bacon Ranch Quinoa Chicken Salad

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    Bacon-Ranch-Quinoa-Chicken-Salad-5

    Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper, and Feta Turkey Wrap

    Stuffed with spinach, roasted red peppers, feta, and chicken, this wrap is hearty and filling, and most definitely an Autumn inspired sandwich.
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    spinach-turkey-wrap-4

    Brown Rice and Bean Salad Recipe with Hot Sauce Dressing

    Whip up this easy brown rice and bean salad for your Cinco de Mayo feast, or serve it as a vegetarian entree (vegan and gluten-free, too) any night of the week. 195 calories and 6 Weight Watchers Freestyle SP. Thanks to Cholula Hot Sauce for helping me to share this recipe with you.
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    Brown Rice and Beans

    Mexican Chicken Pozole Soup Recipe

    4.19 stars average
    30 minutes
    Chicken soup gets a flavorful twist with classic Mexican ingredients like smoky chipotle peppers, chewy hominy and fresh lime juice.
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    Chicken Posole Soup - The Lemon Bowl

    Creamy Dijon Egg Salad

    This creamy dijon egg salad is made with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist. Green olives, red cabbage, parsley and pepitas make it flavorful and crunchy!
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    Creamy-dijon-egg-salad

    Autumn Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Apples and Almonds

    Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Apples and Almonds (lightened up with Greek yogurt) is always a crowd pleaser!
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    Chicken_Salad_Almonds_Apples_Recipe_Aggies_Kitchen-6

    Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches

    Spicy and creamy chicken salad sandwiches made healthier with Greek yogurt and green peppers.
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    Buffalo-Chicken-Salad-Sandwiches-7485

    Colorful Greek Chicken Salad

    Taco Salad Bowls are a delicious and healthy 30 minute meal that satisfies everyone at the dinner table. They are simple, fresh, and easy to make.
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    Beef-Taco-Quinoa-Salad-Bowls-final-16

    Spinach Power Salad with Chicken and Farro

    Rate It!
    10 minutes
    Lean chicken breasts and chewy farro give this spinach salad a major boost of protein to give you long lasting energy.
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    Spinach Power Salad with Chicken and Farro - The Lemon Bowl

    Kale Chopped Salad with Berries and Freekeh (or Quinoa)

    An easy, vibrantly delicious salad featuring kale, blueberries, dried cranberries, walnuts and feta. Perfect with freekeh or quinoa. Loaded with healthy superfoods, yet so good no one will even notice that they’re eating something this incredibly healthy!
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    THK-Heinans-Salad6

    Farro Greek Salad with Feta and Dill

    4.50 stars average
    15 minutes
    Chewy farro is tossed together with classic Greek flavors like fresh dill, kalamata olives and feta cheese to create this healthy and delicious whole grain salad.
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    Greek Farro Salad - The Lemon Bowl

    CHICKEN & HUMMUS PLATE LUNCH MEAL PREP

    This Chicken & Hummus Plate Lunch Meal Prep is so simple yet incredibly filling and delicious! Get back to basics with fresh cut bell pepper, carrot, cucumbers, paired with a perfect portion of chicken breast, cheese slices, and grapes for a touch of sweetness. Simple portioning instructions included!
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    HEALTHY TACO SALAD IN A MASON JAR

    Take this Healthy Taco Salad recipe to work or school in a super convenient mason jar! Prep-ahead and have this easy mason jar salad recipe ready to grab-and-go.
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    Mason Jar Taco Salad WFM365 31

    EASY HOISIN GLAZED SALMON MEAL PREP

    This Easy Hoisin Glazed Salmon Meal Prep is perfect for those who may not be able to heat up their lunches. Delicious whether warm or cold, this earthy but sweet hoisin glazed salmon is just what you need for your meal.
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    Hoisin Salmon Meal Prep 41

    What are your tried-and-true make-ahead lunch recipes? Let me know in the comments below or tag @TheLemonBowl on Instagram to show me your #HealthyNewYear eats!

    Your fork is waiting.

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    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

    18 Comments

    1. My mouth is now watering big time! I’m right there with you: I feel so much more organized if I can at least have ideas for Matt and my breakfasts and lunches throughout the week. That way I can spend less time prepping for the following day and more time with him in the evenings. :) This is a phenomenal list!

    2. Here is an area where I need some good inspiration. I plan my daughter’s lunch for school – is she packing, buying at school, what does she need and want, etc. My Husband has a complimentary provided at work and there is a salad bar so he gets a nice salad for lunch every day. But me? I don’t even think of me! I left a full time job outside the home and am now on my own from home – and I do not plan my lunches well at all. So I love these ideas and will be looking to incorporate some. Really, it’s just as easy as making sure I have some lean protein and wraps and veggies available, or having enough to toss into a salad or making up a batch of quinoa that I can use all week. Thanks for the reminder to think about ALL meals. (smacks head)

      1. Yes I think so often moms and wives put ourselves last (and even stay at home dads!) It’s important to fuel us or as I like to think of it – put on our air mask before helping others so that we are our best selves. :)

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