Life can get super busy, and it can often seem like there’s not nearly enough time for everything—like meal prep. For both parents and students, the school week can get hectic, and many of us prioritize certain things in the evenings (homework, family time, rest, sports), which can make it difficult to regularly prepare meals for the next day. That’s why having a meal prep system is a great way to reduce your stress during the school week. 

Many schools have limited lunch options. In addition, some students face allergy or different food-related challenges. So for some, the only option is bringing in a lunch from home. By meal prepping for the week, you can save yourself (and your children) stress and time.

All you need to do is commit to taking a chunk of time out of your Sunday (or, really any part of your weekend) to plan and shop for the meals. The following meal ideas are quick, easy, and won’t break the bank. Plus, most of them will take practically no time to prepare.  


You can fill pinwheels with virtually anything. Cold cuts, cheese, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers–the food groups are your oyster. Plus, making these pinwheels this can even be a fun way to bond with your kids.

All you need to shop for is whatever you want inside the wheels, plus tortillas or any type of wrap. 

Rice Bowls

Rice is a great food for meal prepping over the weekend since you can buy and make it in bulk, and then prepare it in different ways. 

You can make a rice bowl filled with your choice of protein, veggies, and anything else you may want. Or, you can do a deconstructed burrito bowl–just in pack the rice, and whatever else you like: beans, peppers, chicken, etc. 

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great option if your child likes traditionally cold meals. You can toss in literally whatever you like. This might be corn, broccoli, chickpeas, and any type of protein you want. 

Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is a big hit, and a great item to store in your fridge throughout the week. While fruit salad isn’t a “meal”, per se, it certainly is a great way to add color to your meal and get your fruits in. Plus, it’s unexplainably fun to make and eat. 

Protein Box


A less traditional approach to prepping meals, the protein box is great for anyone who  a) wants to bulb up on protein or b) likes the most efficient approach. I say efficient, because a protein box takes no time to prep! It’s very non-nonsense. All you need to do is pack up your box with your desired proteins. 

Some protein inspo: half an avocado, hard boiled eggs (or deviled), black beans, and mixed nuts. 

You can also combine the protein box with the rice bowl: try brown rice, avocado, black beans, and chicken. 

Deconstructed Salad

Tossing salads can get messy, and they might not age very well throughout the day. Deconstructed salads are a fantastic lunch option for salad lovers. Plus, with this meal, kids can add in the ingredients to their liking and pour as much dressing as they want. 

Simply divide out your ingredients in separate tupperware and it’s a deconstructed salad! I’m a big greek salad girl, so for me this might include feta, olives, lettuce, and cucumbers. But really, it can be entirely your creation. 

Once you get comfortable with your meal prep , you can make it a weekly, family activity. Start racking up the recipes, and before you know it, you might even be creating a family recipe book—get cheffing!

Author: Lydia Schapiro