Healthy eating can seem so hard when you’re busy, but it doesn’t have to be! I’m so excited to share how I pack my tupperware meals, and my favorite meal prepping tips that make throwing together delicious, nourishing meals super fast and easy. This post is filled with advice and short recipes that will hopefully make healthy eating feel more accessible and tasty!
Between school, volleyball, applying to college, and working on my Instagram and website, it’s a special occasion when I actually have time to spend a few hours cooking and preparing an elaborate meal. Although I love to spend time in the kitchen, I most often am just grabbing things from the fridge and throwing them in a bowl.
I’m always asked how I have time to cook or prepare healthy tupperware meals. I’ll be honest, it does take some extra time, but not nearly as much as you would think. I prioritize a few hours each weekend when possible to batch cooking so I can have lots of options for easy meals throughout the week.
I love doing this because not only do I have a super yummy lunch to take with me every day, but it helps me stay energized and nourished during even the busiest weeks. Food is fuel and when I eat a balanced breakfast and lunch, I can better tackle the day and am more productive because my energy levels are stable. Incorporating veggies, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs into my meals prevents my glucose levels from rising too much, which saves me from fluctuating blood sugar levels. This means less afternoon slumps and more hours where my mind is alert and focused.
I’ll start by explaining my general formula for packing tupperware meals. I like to switch up the ingredients and flavors so I’m not eating the same thing all of the time, but I try to incorporate a similar balance of nutrients with each meal. Below is my general formula and some of my go to sources for each!
Protein: grilled organic chicken, broiled wild salmon, organic turkey burgers, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
Vegetables: leafy greens (kale, spinach, mixed greens, romaine,) steamed/roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, zucchini, etc.)
Complex Carbs: roasted sweet potato/normal potato, butternut squash, quinoa, brown rice, legumes, pasta (I use brown rice, lentil, or chickpea pasta)
Healthy Fats: avocado, nuts, seeds, hummus, pesto, homemade dressings
Extra bonus for adding a probiotic rich food, like sauerkraut! I love brands like Farmhouse Culture and Pickled Planet because the krauts taste amazing and are packed with probiotics that help with my digestion.
Following this general formula works for me, but feel free to use it as a guideline and incorporate whatever foods make you feel your best and you like to make! It’s also important to remember to be flexible. There are definitely times when I’m really busy and don’t have time to meal prep on the weekends, so I’ll pick up lunch during the day from somewhere like Sweetgreen, or I’ll just work with whatever I have on hand.
Now I’m going to share my top 5 tips for meal prep! If you’ve never meal prepped before, it may seem a little crazy to cook a ton of food over the weekend, but it makes putting together quick lunches incredibly easy, and saves me so much time and effort!
- Switch up the ingredients each week. I definitely have my usuals that I keep going back to (hello sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts,) but I try to swap the ingredients when I can. This helps keep my meals interesting and also is better for your body as you’re getting a variety of nutrients from different foods. Too much of anything is not good, even a vegetable!
- Keep it simple by roasting veggies. Roasting is the easiest and one of the most delicious ways to prep vegetables. For almost all of my veggies, I preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, coat the veggies in olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil, and add salt, pepper, and sometimes some spices like turmeric or curry. I also will often use the oven being on to toast nuts, bake chicken or broil salmon at the same time.
- Pack more flavor with yummy sauces and dressings. A bowl of greens, protein, veggies, and grains might not seem very exciting, but adding things like pesto, hummus, or a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, mustard, salt, and pepper (or try lemon tamari or creamy sesame cashew) makes all of the difference! This is another way to keep the meals interesting so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same flavors all of the time.
- Spices and herbs are your best friend. Spices and herbs are incredible because they’re a relatively inexpensive, easy way to add a lot of flavor to each meal. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to add some fresh basil to a quinoa salad or some curry powder to roasted cauliflower. Try roasting sweet potatoes with rosemary or dried thyme, or broiling salmon with turmeric for extra flavor. It makes the dish feel elevated, but requires almost no effort at all!
- Prep ingredients, not entire meals. Each day is different and depending on what time I’m eating or if I’m working out that day, I may crave something different. For this reason and for the sake of being flexible, I prep ingredients like veggies, cooked protein sources, and grains so I can decide what to put together either the night before or the morning of. I like to keep the components separate so I can add whatever I’m in the mood for, and I can use each ingredient in multiple ways. For example, one day I might use some grilled chicken and quinoa in a spinach salad, and the next, I might heat chicken and quinoa with some cauliflower rice, veggies, spices, and tamari for a stirfry.
I don’t talk a ton about breakfast in terms of meal prep because for me it’s usually something I throw together the morning of like an almond milk yogurt bowl, a smoothie (tons of recipes on my website and Instagram,) a sweet potato bowl, or toast, but if you’re short on time, I love something like chia pudding, which you can make the night before! Find the recipe for my favorite chia pudding here.
Some of my favorite recipes to meal prep:
Below is an example of the meal prep I did for one school week. I’ll list what I did and how I use each item under the photo!
Curried cauliflower rice with chickpeas: Sauté cauliflower rice and a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas with olive oil, chopped shallot, turmeric, dried coriander, cumin, and cayenne until the cauliflower softens and everything is cooked through. This is great as a side, or it can act as a base. Just add some prepped veggies and protein and you have a delicious cauliflower rice bowl.
Organic grilled turkey burger: Mix ground turkey (about 1/4 lb per burger) with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika and grill in a pan over medium heat for 12 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Garlic and turmeric brussels sprouts: Cut brussels sprouts in half, and steam for 2 minutes. Add them to a pan over medium heat with garlic olive oil (or olive oil and minced garlic,) a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and a few dashes of turmeric. Sauté until browned and crispy. I love these with anything and everything! They’re great with any kind of protein and the flavors go really well with the curried cauliflower rice.
Massaged kale: Wash a de stem 4 leaves of kale and chop finely. Add the kale to a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and massage with your hands until the kale is tender and turns bright green. This takes away some of the bitterness and makes the kale easier to digest. I usually add some fresh dressing to this before I eat it for extra flavor, or just use it as a nutrient dense base for bowls because it isn’t super flavorful on its own.
Steamed and mashed sweet potato: Peel and chop a large sweet potato into small 1 cm cubes. Steam until the sweet potato is soft and easily mashed with a fork, about 7-10 minutes, then mash in a bowl with a generous dash of cinnamon. I use this for sweet potato bowls with almond milk yogurt, almond butter, and granola, which makes for the best breakfast! It may sound like a weird combination, but it is honestly so so good.
Roasted asparagus: Since it’s spring, the asparagus is so fresh right now, so I roasted some with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. This is great to add to salads or to serve along side any protein. I love asparagus and salmon together!
Broiled wild salmon: Set the oven to broil and place salmon on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil or olive oil, salt, pepper, and spices if desired. Broil for 7-8 minutes until the top is slightly browned.
Cooked quinoa: Place 1 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes. When the quinoa is done cooking, place a paper towel under the lid and let sit for 1 minute to keep this quinoa from getting sticky. I like to add some salt, pepper, and a drizzle of garlic olive oil for a little flavor. This is so simple to make so I like whipping it up as a good source of complex carbs for a salad or to serve alongside some protein and veggies. Having cooked quinoa on hand is also great for sautéing with anything from pesto to sesame oil and tamari, which you can then add veggies and protein to!
Roasted sweet potato: Roast sweet potato at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes with avocado oil or coconut oil and a generous pinch of sea salt. This is a staple for me. I’m a bit obsessed with sweet potato (to the point where my hands may or may not be turning orange) and it’s perfect for meals, or as a snack dipped in hummus, guacamole, or my favorite chive cream cheese from Kite Hill.
This is just an example of what I prepare for about 5 days worth of school lunches. I also use leftovers from dinners which usually involves grilled organic chicken and more veggies. I think one of the most important things is to make foods that you genuinely enjoy so you’re excited for a healthy meal!
I hope this gives you some inspiration for meal prepping and packing meals to go. Nourishing your body properly is so important, and it can be so easy with just a little extra time and effort on a day that works for you. Check the #carolineskitchentogo on Instagram for some examples of some of the lunches I pack for school, and make sure to tag me on Instagram or comment below if you try packing your own!