17 Healthy Meal Prep Foods That You Don’t Need to Reheat
Lets be real… sometimes a hot meal is just out of the question. Road trips, late night work shifts, nasty office microwaves, or whatever else comes up in life, you’re eating a cold meal.
If your office microwave is not an option, you eat on the road or totally spaced on paying your electrical bill; there are still plenty of healthy and delicious meals that you can enjoy during the week! No re-heating required! Here are 17 of the most popular meal prep ingredients that you don’t need to reheat, and why they are better than curly fries and cheeseburgers.
Including healthy fats into your meals is key to help keep your energy levels up, your mood happy and your digestion on point!
Meal-Prep Tip: Eggs are an inexpensive option when trying to put a breakfast together. They offer both protein and fat for a double bang for your buck! Once eggs (or egg whites) have been cooked, they do not need to be reheated! From egg salads to quiche you can use them in a variety of ways! Make sure to prep extra hard-boiled eggs for a quick afternoon snack!
Recipe Idea: Use them in this Low Carb Sundried Tomato Egg Cup Recipe for a quick on-the-go breakfast idea!
2. Almond Butter
Meal-Prep Tip: Almond butter is a nutritional powerhouse with the wide range of nutrients it provides. Like eggs, almond butter is also an excellent source of heart-healthy fats and protein. For less than $7.00 you can grab a jar of almond butter and create recipes ranging from almond butter & jelly sandwiches to Rainbow Shrimp & Almond Butter Dressing bowls! It is one of the lowest maintenance prep foods around and meant to eat cold!
Including carbohydrates in your diet is key to keeping you energized as they are one of the main sources of energy for our bodies. Carbohydrates can be made into a variety of recipes and are great because they can be prepped in large batches!
Meal Prep Tip: Oatmeal is incredibly cost effective and nutritionally dense with the healthy carbohydrates and fiber it provides. From overnight oats in a jar to whole grain savory oat bread, oats can be used in a multitude of meals that do not need to be reheated!
Recipe Idea: Use oatmeal in this To-Go Baked Oatmeal Recipe with your favorite toppings!
Meal Prep Tip: Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich carbohydrate sources! Like oats, quinoa can also be batch prepped for lots of easy meals! From sweet cinnamon maple breakfast bowls to cucumber quinoa salads, quinoa runs the spectrum in the ways you can use it – no re-heating required! Use extra quinoa to round out a weeknight meal after your workout!
Recipe Idea: Use quinoa is this creative Baked Quinoa and Spinach Breakfast Bite Recipe!
Meal-Prep Tip: Who doesn’t love a big hearty bowl of pasta? Pasta is one of those ingredients that is cheap, quick to cook and easy to batch prep. From pesto, pasta & grilled chicken salads to taco pasta salad the flavor profiles for lunches that do not need to be re-heated are endless with this carbohydrate!
Food Fact: Dr. Denise Robertson, a senior nutrition scientist from the University of Surrey in England believes if you cook and cool pasta down, the body will begin to treat it more like a fiber than a starch. It does this by creating a smaller sugar rise and feeding the good gut bacteria. Eating cold pasta will also lead to less absorption of calories. (MedicalDaily)
Recipe Idea: Try out whole grain pasta in this Best Pasta Salad Recipe.
6. Sweet Potato
Meal-Prep Tip: Not only are sweet potatoes healthy, but like our other carbohydrate sources they are cheap, easy to prep and give your meals a hint of sweetness! Enjoy sweet potatoes stuffed with all of your favorites like eggs and cooked chicken for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even snack!
Recipe Idea: Use them in this super nutrient dense Baked Breakfast Sweet Potato recipe!
Meal-Prep Tip: Lentils are low in cost but very high in nutritional bang for your buck providing both fibrous carbohydrates and protein! Cook up a huge batch of lentils and create a filling hummus to use on eggs, in salads or over chicken! They are one of the best options for lunches that don’t need to be re-heated!
Recipe Idea: Give lentils a try in this Avocado & Lentil Salad recipe!
Meal-Prep Tip: Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans add both texture and carbohydrates to your meals. You can enjoy chickpeas in salads, roasted with sweet or savory spices for a snack or even in brownies! They are a cheap yet healthy food that never needs to be cooked. You can eat them as soon as you open the package!
Recipe Idea: Give them a try in this vegan-friendly Apple, Walnuts & Chickpea Salad Sandwich!
We all work hard in the gym, so ensuring that we get enough protein is key to our muscle growth, tissue repair and the growth of our skin and nails. Include a variety of different protein sources in your meals each week to keep your taste buds happy!
Meal-Prep Tip: Tofu is an excellent source of vegetarian and vegan-friendly protein containing all eight of the essential amino acids. It can be enjoyed heat free from the moment it is opened! From a healthy chocolate pudding to crispy maple and soy tofu sandwiches, tofu is an excellent meal prep choice!
Recipe Idea: Enjoy this cold Banh Mi Sticky Tofu Noodle Bowl for a colorful and nutrient-packed lunch!
10. Greek Yogurt
Meal-Prep Tip: Greek yogurt is an excellent meal prep option when looking for items that require no cooking and are high in protein. From yogurt parfaits to Greek yogurt marinades for chicken, this cost effective food is a must for meal prep!
Recipe Idea: Pack these Whole Wheat Yogurt Waffles for a hearty on the go breakfast! You can always finish them off with a drizzle of peanut butter for an extra nutritional punch!
Meal Prep Tip: Tuna is one of those ingredients that can be brought everywhere! You can toss a pouch in your purse or gym bag for an on-the-go protein source or meal prep it in advance in a spicy tuna wrap or a Thai tuna power bowl.
Meal-Prep Tip: Wild caught shrimp are an excellent source of protein that do not need to be reheated! Like tuna, they can be enjoy in a salad, wrap or even spring rolls for a quick, cool lunch!
Recipe Idea: Add shrimp to your lunches this week with a Shrimp Cobb Salad!
Meal Prep Tip: Salmon is an excellent source of protein: A bit higher in cost than some of our other protein choices, but incredibly healthy! From salmon frittatas to salmon caesar salads this protein-packed fish can be enjoyed in a dozen non-reheatable ways! Prep 4-5 pieces for a week full of omega-3’s!
Try out regular or smoked salmon in this sweet & savory Smoked Salmon Zucchini Bowl!
Meal-Prep Tip: Chicken is a great low cost, lean protein option for meal prep that doesn’t need to be re-heated once cooked! Make a sheet pan full of chicken on meal prep Sunday to create everything from Greek chicken meal prep bowls to buffalo chicken breakfast casserole! All, no re-heating required!
Recipe Idea: Add flavor to your chicken lunches with this 5 minute Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad recipe!
15. Ground Beef
Meal Prep Tip: Another favorite, low cost, easy to prep protein option is lean ground beef. From a quick ground beef, potato and egg hash to 20 minute meatballs, ground beef can be made into so many flavorful and large batch meal prep recipes!
Add a lean ground beef burger to your breakfast for a rainbow of color and nutrients!
Meal Prep: Chicken sausage is one of those ingredients that just comes with loads of flavor! With just a few veggies you can create one pan sausage meal prep recipes or stir fries that make for quick, healthy and easy lunches all week long! No re-heating required.
Recipe Idea: Enjoy all the flavor of sausage in these Paleo Chicken Sausage Breakfast Muffins while running out the door!
Meal Prep Idea: Because there is always room for bacon! Bacon is a cheap and easy meal prep option when looking to add loads of flavor to a dish! From cold BLT salads to bacon ranch pasta salad a little of this salty protein can go a long way in satisying your taste buds!
Add just a bit of bacon saltiness to your sweet meal prep muffin recipe with this Apple Bacon Protein Muffin Recipe!