Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: 8 Recipes You’ll Love

Looking to streamline your ketogenic diet? Meal prep for keto lunch is your go-to solution for a week’s worth of healthy and tasty meals.

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch

Things You’ll Need: Meal Prep for Keto Lunch

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: General Instructions

Before diving into the specifics of each keto-friendly lunch recipe, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with some general meal prep steps. These foundational steps will serve as a guide and make the actual cooking process far more streamlined and less stressful.

Washing Vegetables

Washing your vegetables is the first and foremost step in any meal prep session. This is not merely a rinse-and-go task; it’s crucial for food safety.

Choosing the Right Sink or Basin: First, make sure that your sink is clean. If it isn’t, consider using a separate basin for washing your vegetables.

Cold Water Rinse: Turn on the tap and let cold water run. One by one, place your vegetables under the cold running water.

Manual Cleaning: For vegetables with thicker skins like potatoes and carrots, consider using a soft brush to scrub away any dirt or grime.

Soaking Leafy Greens: For leafy vegetables like lettuce or spinach, a soak in cold water for a few minutes can help remove trapped soil.

Final Rinse: After the initial washing and any additional steps for specific vegetables, give them one last rinse to remove any remaining dirt or soap residues.

Cutting Vegetables

Once your vegetables are clean, the next step is to cut them. Cutting vegetables properly not only makes for easier cooking but can also enhance the flavors and presentation of your meal.

Selecting a Cutting Board: Choose a clean cutting board, preferably one that is reserved for fruits and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.

Sharpening Your Knife: A sharp knife is not only safer to use, but it will also make the task of cutting vegetables more efficient. If your knife isn’t sharp, take a few moments to sharpen it before you begin.

Chopping, Dicing, or Slicing: Depending on the recipe, you may need to chop, dice, or slice your vegetables. Each method has its purpose. Chopping is often quicker and more informal, while dicing and slicing are more precise. Make sure you cut the vegetables according to what’s specified in each recipe.

Managing Cut Vegetables: After cutting, place the vegetables in separate containers or group them by cooking times. For instance, hard vegetables like carrots and potatoes may go together if they’ll be cooked for a similar amount of time.

Preparing Protein

When it comes to meal prepping for a keto lunch, the protein you choose plays a pivotal role. Not only does it serve as a major source of essential nutrients, but it also provides the flavor foundation for each dish. Given its importance, the preparation of protein is a step that requires careful attention.

Handling Meat

Meat, whether it’s chicken, beef, or pork, requires specific treatment to ensure it’s both safe and delicious to eat.

Washing the Meat: While it may be tempting to skip this step, washing meat is essential. Place the meat under cold running water.

Gently rinse the surface to remove any bone fragments, extra fat, or preservatives that could affect taste and texture. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.

Selecting a Cutting Board: To minimize the risk of cross-contamination, always use a separate cutting board for meat. This board should be used exclusively for meat products to prevent bacteria from raw meat mixing with vegetables or other food items.

Sharpening Your Knife: The importance of a sharp knife extends to cutting meat as well. A sharp knife will allow you to make clean, precise cuts, which not only looks better but also cooks more evenly.

Cutting the Meat: Place the meat on the cutting board and assess the best way to cut it according to your recipe. Whether it’s strips for stir-fry, cubes for kebabs, or a whole piece for grilling, the shape and size of your cuts can dramatically affect cooking time and flavor absorption.

Preparing Plant-Based Proteins

If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan keto diet, plant-based proteins like tofu can be an excellent alternative.

Draining Tofu: Many types of tofu are packed in water, so you’ll need to drain it first. You can do this by placing the tofu block between two paper towels and setting a heavy object on top. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes to remove excess moisture.

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Cutting Tofu: Unlike meat, tofu doesn’t require a separate cutting board. Using a sharp knife, slice the tofu into the shapes required for your recipe—this could be cubes for a stir-fry or slabs for grilling.

Optional Marination: Plant-based proteins often benefit from marination to enhance flavor. If your recipe calls for it, now is the time to marinate the tofu in your choice of herbs, spices, and liquids.

Meal Prep Recipes for Keto Lunch: 8 Easy Recipes

Below are 8 easy meal prep recipes for keto lunch…

Keto Chicken Caesar Salad

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Chicken Caeser Salad
Image from Public Domain Pictures

Things You’ll Need

Prepare the Chicken

Choosing the Right Chicken: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs as they are easier to grill and can absorb flavors more readily.

Seasoning: Before grilling, season your chicken with salt, pepper, and any keto-friendly herbs or spices you prefer.

Cooking Method: You can use an outdoor grill, a grill pan, or even a stovetop skillet for this step. Make sure to preheat your chosen appliance before placing the chicken on it.

Checking Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C). This is critical for food safety.

Assemble the Salad

Lettuce Preparation: Chop your romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Make sure they are washed and dried well.

Layering: In a large bowl, lay down the romaine lettuce first. This acts as the base of your salad.

Chicken Placement: Cut the cooked chicken into strips or cubes, and place these on top of the lettuce in the bowl.

Add Dressing and Cheese

Choosing a Keto-Friendly Dressing: Make sure your Caesar dressing is keto-friendly. Check the label for any hidden sugars or non-keto ingredients.

Drizzling the Dressing: Use a spoon or a small bottle to evenly drizzle the Caesar dressing over the salad.

Cheese Topping: Finally, sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese over the salad. Grated or shredded both work well.

Storage

Fridge: Store the assembled salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: If you’re looking to freeze, it’s advisable to store the grilled chicken and dressing separately. Chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months and the dressing for up to 1 month.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately 2 servings.

Keto Beef Stir-Fry

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Beef Stir Fry
jeffreyw, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Things You’ll Need:

  • Sliced beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Keto-friendly stir-fry sauce

Prepare the Beef

Seasoning: Lightly season the sliced beef with salt and pepper.

Cooking: Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil and place the beef slices in the pan. Cook until they are browned but not overcooked.

Cook the Vegetables

Preparation: Cut your broccoli into florets and slice your bell peppers into strips or cubes, as per your preference.

Cooking: In the same pan where you cooked the beef, add the broccoli and bell peppers. Stir occasionally and cook until they are tender but still crisp. This ensures that they retain their nutrients and vibrant color.

Add the Sauce

Selecting a Sauce: Ensure that the stir-fry sauce you choose is keto-friendly. Look out for hidden sugars or high carb ingredients.

Combining: Pour the keto-friendly stir-fry sauce over the beef and vegetables in the pan. Mix well so that all the ingredients are evenly coated.

Storage

Fridge: Store the stir-fry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Freezing this dish is not recommended due to the texture of the cooked vegetables and sauce.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately 3 servings.

Read more meal prep topics here – Meal Prep for Every Situation: Your Ultimate Guide

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Tuna Salad
CC BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 Generic

Things You’ll Need

Drain the Tuna

Selecting the Tuna: Go for canned tuna in water for a healthier option, or in olive oil for a richer taste. Make sure to check the expiration date on the can before purchase.

Draining Process: Open the can with a can opener and drain off any excess liquid by pressing the lid down while tilting the can over a sink.

Prepare the Mix

Selecting the Bowl: Choose a medium-sized mixing bowl, ensuring that it is clean and dry.

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Ingredient Addition: Add the drained tuna to the bowl first. Follow this by adding mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, chopped celery, and chopped onions.

Measurements: It’s essential to measure your ingredients correctly for consistent flavor. For example, you could use 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard per can of tuna, adjusting to taste.

Stir Well

Mixing Technique: Use a spatula or a large spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Make sure they are well incorporated, achieving a consistent texture and flavor distribution.

Storage

Fridge: Transfer the tuna salad into an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Freezer: Freezing this tuna salad is not recommended, as it will significantly alter the texture and taste.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately 2 servings.

Keto Cobb Salad

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Cobb Salad
Photo by Alberta Studios:

Things You’ll Need

  • Mixed greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula)
  • Grilled chicken
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Avocado
  • Bacon

Prepare the Greens

Choosing Greens: Opt for a mixture of leafy greens like spinach, arugula, and lettuce for a more dynamic flavor and nutrient profile.

Washing: Thoroughly wash all the greens under cold running water and dry them using a salad spinner or clean kitchen towel.

Plating: In a large bowl, spread a generous bed of the mixed greens to act as the base of your salad.

Add Protein and Fats

Chicken: Slice your pre-grilled chicken into bite-sized pieces and place them evenly on top of the greens.

Eggs: Peel and quarter your hard-boiled eggs, distributing them throughout the salad.

Avocado: Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and cut the flesh into slices or cubes. Add these to your salad.

Finish with Bacon

Cooking the Bacon: Fry the bacon strips in a pan until they reach your desired level of crispiness. Drain the excess fat on a paper towel.

Crumbling: Once the bacon has cooled down, use your hands to crumble it into smaller pieces.

Topping: Sprinkle the crumbled bacon generously over the top of your salad, adding an extra layer of crunch and flavor.

Storage

Fridge: Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Freezer: Due to the presence of avocado and the delicate nature of leafy greens, freezing is not recommended for this dish.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately 2 servings.

Keto Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Zucchini Noodles
Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Things You’ll Need

Prepare Zucchini Noodles

Choosing the Zucchini: Select medium-sized zucchinis that are firm to the touch and have a bright green color.

Washing the Zucchini: Rinse the zucchinis thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.

Spiralizing: Use a spiralizer to turn the zucchini into noodle shapes. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a vegetable peeler can be used to create thin ribbons.

Cook the Noodles

Heat the Pan: Place a non-stick pan over medium heat and wait a few moments for it to get hot.

Cooking Process: Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are tender but not mushy. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.

Add Pesto and Tomatoes

Pesto Sauce: Have your pesto sauce ready, whether store-bought or homemade.

Cherry Tomatoes: Halve the cherry tomatoes for quicker cooking and better flavor absorption.

Combining Ingredients: Stir in the pesto sauce and add the halved cherry tomatoes to the pan. Continue cooking until the tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape.

Storage

Fridge: Transfer the cooked zucchini noodles and sauce into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: Freezing is possible, but reheating may result in a mushy texture.

Servings

This recipe will yield approximately 2 servings.

Keto Avocado Chicken Salad

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Avocado Salad
Image from PickPik

Things You’ll Need

  • Grilled chicken
  • Avocado
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped cilantro

Mash the Avocado

Preparing the Avocado: Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl.

Mashing: Use a fork to mash the avocado until it reaches your desired consistency.

Add Chicken and Flavorings

Chicken: Dice your pre-grilled chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Lemon Juice: Freshly squeeze a lemon to get the juice. This not only adds flavor but also helps to preserve the avocado’s color.

Cilantro: Finely chop some fresh cilantro leaves for a burst of flavor and color.

Mixing: Add the diced chicken, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro to the bowl with the mashed avocado.

Combine Ingredients

Final Stir: Use a spoon or a spatula to mix all the ingredients together until they are well incorporated, ensuring an even distribution of flavors.

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Storage

Fridge: Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Freezer: Due to the avocado content, it’s not advisable to freeze this salad as it will significantly alter its texture and taste.

Servings

This recipe will yield approximately 2 servings.

Keto Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Photo by Karolina Grabowska:

Things You’ll Need

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Grilled chicken or beef
  • Vegetables (like bell peppers and spinach)
  • Keto-friendly sauce (e.g., tahini, avocado dressing)

Prepare Cauliflower Rice

Choice of Cauliflower Rice: You can opt for pre-packaged cauliflower rice or make your own. If you’re making it yourself, choose a large, fresh cauliflower.

Making Cauliflower Rice: If you decide to make your own, chop the cauliflower into florets and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble rice grains.

Cooking the Rice: Follow package instructions if using pre-packaged rice. For homemade, sauté the riced cauliflower in a pan with a little olive oil until tender, usually about 5-7 minutes.

Assemble the Bowl

Serving Base: Start by placing a generous serving of cauliflower rice at the bottom of your bowl.

Adding Protein: Layer grilled chicken or beef slices on top of the cauliflower rice.

Vegetable Selection: Choose vegetables that complement your protein, like bell peppers for chicken and spinach for beef. Add these on top of the meat.

Drizzle with Sauce

Choice of Sauce: Opt for a keto-friendly sauce like tahini or avocado dressing that not only adds flavor but also provides healthy fats.

Application: Drizzle your chosen sauce generously but evenly over the assembled bowl.

Storage

Fridge: Store the assembled or deconstructed bowl in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Freezer: Freezing is possible for up to 1 month, but it’s advisable to freeze the components separately to maintain texture and flavor.

Servings

This recipe makes approximately 2 servings.

Keto Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Meal Prep for Keto Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Image from Public Domain Pictures

Things You’ll Need

Cook the Chicken

Chicken Selection: Opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The absence of bone and skin makes cooking and slicing significantly easier.

Marinating: Though optional, you can marinate the chicken in a keto-friendly marinade for at least 30 minutes to add extra flavor.

Temperature Setting: Preheat the grill or stove to medium-high heat.

Cooking Time: Place the chicken breasts on the grill or in a pan, cooking each side for about 6-7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). This is in line with USDA guidelines for safe consumption.

Prepare the Lettuce

Type of Lettuce: Choose sturdy leaves like romaine or iceberg that can hold the ingredients well without tearing.

Rinsing: Use cold water to rinse each lettuce leaf thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides.

Drying: Pat the leaves dry gently using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Lay them flat on a plate to prepare for assembly.

Assemble the Wraps

Cutting Technique: Once the chicken is sufficiently cool to handle, slice it into thin strips using a sharp knife. The thin strips ensure that each bite is proportionate and easy to eat.

Layering: Place the chicken strips evenly onto the lettuce leaves, ensuring that the chicken doesn’t overflow, which could make wrapping difficult.

Buffalo Sauce: Choose a keto-friendly buffalo sauce, and drizzle a moderate amount over the chicken strips.

Ranch Dressing: Add a touch of ranch dressing for a creamy texture and added flavor.

Optional Cheese

Blue Cheese Addition: For an extra tangy kick, crumble some blue cheese over the top. This is optional and can be omitted based on personal preference.

Storage

Fridge: Use an airtight container to store the assembled or unassembled wraps in the fridge. The wraps are good for up to 2 days.

Freezer: Freezing is not recommended due to the lettuce, which can become soggy when thawed, compromising the texture.

Servings

This recipe is designed to yield approximately 2 servings, perfect for a meal for two or meal prep for one over multiple days.

Conclusion: Meal Prep for Keto Lunch

Meal prepping for a keto lunch doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With these 8 easy and delicious recipes, you’ll have a variety of options to keep your keto diet interesting and satisfying. Remember to store each meal properly to maximize its shelf life and maintain its flavors. Happy meal prepping!

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