We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about meal prep this year – and for good reason. The food that you put into your body has a direct impact on how you’ll feel at any point during the week and long after. Thoughtful meal prep can also be a catalyst for feeling taken care of throughout the week – something we realized earlier this year as we were reflecting on how to create a meal-prep routine that built us up, instead of wearing us down.
In all this reflection, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are three very important categories of meal prep: The no-prep-at-all lunch (our Daily Harvest favorites), the throw-it-together meal (simple + delicious but slightly more prep), and a spend-the-time lunch that takes more than ten minutes to cook but proves to be worth it.
Here’s what our team is cooking up and bringing in with them across categories:
1. Sesame Soy Glazed Meatballs with Broccoli and Rice
“Meatballs are one of the most versatile and underrated ways to integrate protein into a meal. I love to prep them on a Sunday and store them to use in different recipes throughout the week. Lately I’ve been making sesame soy glazed chicken meatballs on top of a bed of rice and broccoli. It’s a healthy take on a takeout classic that you can easily whip up in under 30 minutes.
First, throw some white rice into a rice cooker or make it even easier on yourself and use microwavable rice packets. If you microwave your rice, do this step last. Next, take out a packet of ground chicken and put it into a mixing bowl with some ginger, garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper. If you want some extra flavor, you can add in chili flakes! Next, stir the mixture and begin rolling into small bite sized balls. Once you’re all set, heat up a small amount of vegetable oil on the stove and cook meatballs thoroughly. This usually only takes about 8 minutes for me. While your protein is cooking, you can steam some broccoli inside your rice cooker with the rice or quickly blanch them in a boiling pot of water. For the meatball topping, I like to use Soyaki to keep things simple, but DIYing it can pay off if you want to customize your flavors.” - Olivia Rogine, Community + Experiences Lead
2. Daily Harvest Sweet Potato + Wild Rice Hash
“I’m going to be candid – the “you-can-do-it-all” narrative is not my favorite because, truthfully, that’s not always the case. I’ve found that occasionally acknowledging this is the best way to really set myself up for success each week. That’s why, on really busy back-to-back meeting days, it’s comforting to have an extremely minimal-effort lunch. Not having to think about prepping ingredients can allow me to prioritize more effectively. For instance, I’m a big fan of Daily Harvest’s Sweet Potato + Wild Rice Hash because it tastes almost like an unwrapped burrito bowl. It’s really simple to heat up at work and it actually gives me an energy boost that most “fast” meals do not. You just stick it in the microwave but you don’t have to compromise nutrients, which is nice. I like the hash because it’s full of ingredients I really do love and prep often – wild rice (a seed, not a grain!), sweet potato, avocado, tomatoes mushroom, and avocado.” - Alisha Ramos, Founder & CEO, GNI Team
3. Zoodles and Turkey Bolognese
“In my house our favorite meal-prep lunch meal has fast become zoodles in a ~easy bolognese~ sauce (we usually use ground turkey to make it). A couple years ago, I bought this vegetable slicer for about $10 that helps transform my veggies into alternative noodles. For some reason, I find zucchini much more enjoyable once some of the water has been let out – maybe it’s a texture thing – so this recipe really does it for me. My recommendation is to line a bowl with paper towels and “zoodle” your zucchini into it, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it rest and drain into the towels while you prep the sauce. Season (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano) and sautée the ground turkey until it’s cooked through, breaking it up with a fork throughout. Then (no shame! the point here is ease) add a favorite store-bought tomato sauce to the meat and let it come to a boil as you fold it together with a wooden spoon. In a separate pan with a little olive oil, sauté the zoodles for 5 to 7 minutes until they’re tender. Then pack the zoodles and ground turkey bolognese side by side in a glass container for easy transport (and to avoid potential sogginess), and that’s it!” chef’s kiss - Tyler Calder, Editorial + Content Lead, GNI Team
4. Ginger Salmon Flatbread
“I’m a big fan of flatbreads because they’re super versatile and they can be easily transported if you fold them up into a wrap. Usually I get pre-made flatbread, but you can also make a quick homemade version with yogurt to make it a little tangy. My flatbread toppings are often leftovers, if I’m being honest, but I also love marinating some salmon in whatever I’ve got on hand (usually sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, your vinegar of choice, a citrus juice, and herbs), cooking that, and adding roasting some no-fuss vegetables like broccoli, mushrooms, or asparagus. If you’re packing it up for a work lunch, pack your toppings separate from the flatbread, and when you heat up your flatbread, microwave it wrapped in a damp paper towel so it doesn’t get too chewy. I also like having a spread to go with it, like yogurt or hummus.” - Mary Anne Porto, Community + Experiences Intern, Team GNI
5. Broccoli + Cheeze Harvest Bowl
“I’m what I like to call a “big-meal” home chef. When I cook, I want it to be a project, an experience, or an occasion. When it comes to day-to-day lunch, though, I just want three things: tasty, easy, nutritious. Since I save most of my cooking projects for the weekend, I decided to give Daily Harvest a try earlier this year and now I bring the harvest bowls to work twice a week for the easiest lunch possible. My favorites are the Butternut Squash and Kale Shakshuka or Broccoli + Cheeze Harvest Bowl. The cheeze is veggie-based, so I don’t feel sluggish throughout the day.” - Katrina, Marketing Associate, GNI Team
6. Slaw and Rice Bowl
“I love love love how this dish is super easy to prep but packed with colorful veggies too. Stop by your local grocery store and scoop up arugula, romaine, bag of pre-shredded red cabbage and carrots, wild rice, mint, avo, salty cashew pieces, sesame oil, coconut aminos, lime or rice wine vinegar (your choice). If you want to award yourself an A++ in the flavor department, consider going to a speciality store to grab some miso paste. Now, follow the instructions on the rice label to make your rice. Wash and chop romaine. Use a measuring cup to whisk together your dressing: one part sesame oil, one part coconut aminos, one part lime or rice wine vin. If you opted-in at miso paste, add a heaping teaspoon in here too. Mix cooked rice, greens, torn mint, avo, cashews, and dressing together. Enjoy!” - Genevieve, DC City Lead, GNI Team
Note: you can always make a big batch of rice, dressing, and pre-chop romaine so it can be split between mason jars or your preferred salad tupperware carrier in advance so it’s ready and waiting for you. Additional note: you can also pre -cook ground turkey or chicken with soy sauce and sesame oil to add to your bowl as your heart desires. You do you and modify as needed!
7. Stuffed Sweet Potato
“There is nothing I love more than a meal that doesn’t require following a strict recipe! As a vegetarian for over a decade, I’ve learned to get pretty creative with my meals while ensuring that I have am taking in all the protein and nutrients I need in the process.
This one is a go-to and couldn’t be easier. It can be done at home or you can prep all the simple ingredients before work and put them all together and then with the help of an office microwave, your lunch will be ready in less than 10 minutes. I like to find the biggest potato I can get and then microwave it or put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or whenever it feels soft enough to slice into it. If at home (I work from home!), I will cut up, dice, and sauté yellow and red bell peppers and mushrooms until they are a bit charred on the outside. Once they’re done, I mix them together with some chives and salt and pepper. Then I stuff this mixture in the hot potato, add a dollop greek yogurt on top and a squeeze of whatever hot sauce I can get my hands on!” - Jenny LaVelle, Partnerships Lead, GNI Team
8. Chicken Thighs and Seasonal Roasted Veggies
“What do you do when you don’t particularly enjoy salads (shhhh, don’t judge me) and also don’t really like to meal prep? Sometimes dinner leftovers are the best option! I quite enjoy cooking, and preparing (or going out for) a new meal regularly, and my go-to easy meal is any riff on chicken thigh with a veggie. It’s my favorite protein to experiment with (there’s no glaze I won’t try!), and I love to pair it alongside different sides. For the convenience factor, they’re always sold in multiples, and they cook up so quickly. Also, the easiest thing I’ve done for lunch meal prep (okay, I do a little bit!) is batch roasting seasonal vegetables, then mixing and matching them for my lunches. In the morning, I’ll add a chicken thigh leftover from the night before, and I have a whole new meal to enjoy!” - Eunice Bae, GNI Reads Operations Lead, Team GNI
Sponsored by Daily Harvest. Want to learn more about the easiest-of-them-all meal option? GNI readers can try Daily Harvest for $25 off their first box with code GNI25.