MY TRADER JOE'S BUSY GIRL GUIDE TO LUNCH PREP
Updated: Jun 17
alright now ladies...you may or may not enjoy cooking but, I know I can't be the only one that dreads spending hours meal prepping on sundays to have lunch for the week to avoid spending money eating out at work.
you see...I love havin' a lil' flavor and variety in my life, but that normally takes time--most of the time, it's time that I ain't got--and the thought of eating brown rice, chicken, and some kind of vegetable everyday for lunch is a real bland and boring turn off.
that's where trader joe's really changed the game.
trader joe's has some real gems in the frozen food section that are both delicious and honestly pretty sound in regards to their nutritional profile. all you gotta do is add in a few ingredients for an extra protein oomph, vitamin boost, and/or some freshness and you're good to go!
the beauty is, from each package you can get about two meals (maybe three depending on how you portion it), so with the three options below it gives you at six options for the week all prepped in under 30-45 minutes.
an added plus, when you average out the cost, you're spending around $3-$5 per meal compared to that $8-$10 chipotle burrito bowl and ya girl is all about tryna save money!
so here are three meals that I've been rockin' lately, along with the add-ins and nutritional profile (rough estimates) per meal:
peruvian chimmichuri rice with spicy jalapeño or garlic herb chicken sausage and fresh green or red bell pepper
this is a great dish if you're lookin' for a lil' spice in your life.
the chicken sausage is already full cooked so you can add it in towards the end of the cook time for the rice to avoid overcooking.
although it already has red pepper in the rice, adding some fresh, raw red (or green) pepper gives the dish a nice touch of freshness and even a lil' crunch while upping the vitamin a&c content.
nutritionally it breaks down like this for two meals when using one bag of rice, one pack of sausages and two bell peppers:
if using spicy jalapeño: if using garlic herb:
~550 calories ~560 calories
~26g of fat ~25g of fat
~48g of carbs ~43g of carbs
~35g of protein ~41g of protein
~73% of vitamin a
~415% of vitamin c
~13% of calcium
~22% of iron
japanese fried rice with scrambled eggs and fresh cucumber and avocado
I discovered this rice when they were sampling it one day about a month ago and absolutely fell in love.
this is a meal that I try to split up into three servings because it's a bit heftier calorie wise due to the edamame and tofu that already in it.
the addition of the scrambled eggs not only gives you added protein and b vitamins but, it also makes it feel like that real authentic fried rice you'd get from the restaurant.
the cucumber and avocado adds some much needed lightness and yummy good fats.
here's the scoop when using one bag of rice, 6 eggs, a whole cucumber, and one small haas avocado to make three meals:
~25g of fat
~60g of carbs
~22g of protein
~26% of vitamin a
~5% of vitamin c
~9% of vitamin e
~7% of calcium
~10% of iron
spinach salad with blueberries and grilled chicken strips and
almonds or walnuts, crumbled goat cheese or feta
now while this may not entirely be a premade meal (except for the grilled chicken strips) this is a great, filling, go-to salad of mine that's packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and lean protein.
It probably would be easiest to heat the entire bag of chicken, let it cool, and keep it in a separate tupperware container to pull from when needed, especially since you're definitely not going to use the whole bag making two salads.
PRO TIP: when packing your tupperware ahead of time, but the chicken at the bottom of the container so it doesn't wilt your spinach by the time you eat it at lunch.
here are the specifics for the salad (minus the dressing that you choose for yourself) using two cups of spinach (half of the bag per meal) and one cup of blueberries, one serving of almonds or walnuts, one serving of grilled chicken, and one serving of crumbled cheese per meal:
if using almonds if using walnuts
~460 calories ~480 calories
~23g of fat ~27g of fat
~36g of carbs ~34g of carbs
~29g of protein ~28g of protein
~114% of vitamin a
~52% of vitamin c
~45% of vitamin e (~150% if using walnuts)
~7% of calcium
~12% of iron
thank so much for reading today! I hope you found this post helpful if you also need some quick and easy meal prep ideas that are still nutritious. feel free to hit me up if you have any questions and, if you decide to try any of the meals I would love to hear what you think!