Tired of circling the Whole Foods hot bar on your lunch break? More importantly, isn’t your wallet tired? There’s only one way to solve this first world problem and it’s made up of two words: meal prep.
Yes, meal prepping can be very daunting, but once it’s done and you have the rest of your Sunday to chill out, you’re going to be happy you did it. Not to mention all of the money you will save on food during the week.
The below recipes all involve ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, are super affordable, or that you can buy in bulk. Each dish is also ideal for lunchtime (except for one breakfast bonus meal that is totally worth the five minutes of your time it’ll take to assemble).
Here are five recipes that will keep both your bank account and appetite satisfied:
1. Spanish Rice
The greatest thing about Spanish rice is that it can be served in a multitude of ways. You’ll never get sick of eating it five days in a row. Hello, budget friendly meal! You can cook it in an omelette, wrap it up in a burrito, or eat it on its own. And don’t forget the protein; the source can be in whatever form you prefer, whether that’s ground turkey, chicken, or beans. This recipe uses ground beef. Get the recipe.
Eggs are your best friend when it comes to meal prepping on a budget and a frittata is the perfect way to get your fill of veggies and protein all in one. You can throw practically anything that you have in the fridge into this dish. So, grab your cast iron skillet and go to town. Here’s a standard recipe to get you started that involves five easy ingredients. *Tip: Use your leftover egg mix (if you have any) and pour it into muffin tins for breakfast on the go.* Get the recipe.
This classic dish is simple, yet always a solid go-to when it comes to an affordable, well-rounded meal. When prepping for this meal, chicken thighs will be your saving grace. They are not only cheap, but also packed with flavor. Follow the recipe below for some amazing, mouth-watering poultry. In addition to the chicken, you can add your grain of choice (quinoa, rice, etc.) and a nice helping of vegetables (broccoli is a great pairing with chicken, but any array of veggies will do). Get the recipe.
These two salads can be made in bulk and prepped at the same time, which is why they are paired under one category. What makes these salads great for meal prepping is the fact that you can serve it on bread, lettuce, or eat it as a snack with veggie sticks or crackers—easy! If you don’t feel like making two separate salads, follow the recipe below for a combined tuna and egg salad (the recipe serving size is eight, but you can adjust to the amount you want). Get the recipe.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not prep for your mornings ahead of time to ensure smooth sailing? This recipe will have you addicted to oats, seasonal fruit, and feeling full in the morning—a rarity in most people’s daily grind. The recipe below uses blueberries and bananas, but what makes overnight oats so satisfying is the sheer variety of fruits you can incorporate into the dish. *Tip: Always add cinnamon for an added depth of flavor. * Get the recipe.
— Head photo: Flickr (shutterbean).