19 Healthy Make Ahead Meals

For Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Chicken stew with vegetables recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

When you're short on time, it's handy to make meals ahead and stash them for later. Prep these healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes for a quick and easy solution to mealtime. With fresh veggies, lean protein, and whole grains, they're part of a balanced diet and a busy schedule.

  • 01 of 19

    Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew

    Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew

    The Spruce / Rachel Riesgraf

    This mostly hands-off slow cooker vegetable stew includes beans for protein and creamy butternut squash. Cook up a big batch and enjoy the warming dish for lunch or dinner all week.

  • 02 of 19

    Gluten-Free Italian Turkey Meatballs

    Gluten free Italian Turkey meatballs

    The Spruce

    Meatballs are often made using breadcrumbs, but baked turkey meatballs are made with gluten-free quinoa. With parmesan cheese, basil, and garlic adding flavor, they also freeze well for later.

  • 03 of 19

    Carrot Ginger Soup With Almonds

    Carrot ginger soup

    The Spruce

    Almonds add a light nuttiness and body to this blended carrot ginger soup. It'll keep for a few days in the fridge and only needs a quick reheat before serving. Use non-dairy margarine to make the recipe vegan.

  • 04 of 19

    Easy Greek-Style Barley Salad

    Easy Greek style barley salad

    ​The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Barley, a nutty, chewy, and heart-healthy grain, turns a salad into a meal. With tomato, bell pepper, red onion, feta, and herbs, you can assemble this Greek-style salad up to a few days ahead of time. To keep the textures fresh, toss with dressing just before serving.

    Continue to 5 of 19 below.
  • 05 of 19

    Crock Pot Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl

    Crock Pot Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl

    The Spruce / Jennifer Meier

    Chicken thighs, diced tomatoes, beans, and quinoa make a complete high-protein meal. Topped with melty cheese, the slow cooker burrito bowl reheats well, too. Leave off the cheese or replace it with a dairy-free alternative if desired.

  • 06 of 19

    Buddha Bowl

    buddha bowl topped with veggies and lime wedges

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney 

    A colorful buddha bowl, full of different textures and flavors, makes for a delightful healthy lunch. You can cook the quinoa and tofu ahead of time, as well as prep the veggies and make the dressing. All you have to do at mealtime is toss it all together.

  • 07 of 19

    Whole Wheat Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

    Whole wheat pumpkin muffins

    The Spruce

    Whole wheat and vegan, these pumpkin muffins are a great way to start the day. They will keep in an airtight container on the counter for a few days and can also be frozen for longer storage. Just let them defrost and enjoy.

  • 08 of 19

    Cannellini White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard

    Cannellini bean soup recipe

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Incredibly easy to make, cannellini white bean soup is vegetarian and well-balanced. The pasta and beans will keep you full throughout the day. The soup will keep for at least a few days in the fridge and reheats nicely.

    Continue to 9 of 19 below.
  • 09 of 19

    Perfect Turkey Salad Sandwich

    Turkey salad sandwich

     The Spruce

    Turkey salad is a lean and delicious lunch, especially when served on whole wheat or gluten-free bread. Store in the fridge and enjoy a scoop whenever hunger strikes. It also makes a tasty topping for a green salad too.

  • 10 of 19

    Crock Pot Indian Vegetable Curry

    Crockpot Indian vegetable curry recipe

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak 

    Vegetables are stewed with Indian spices until tender and fragrant for a vegetarian main dish or filling side. Serve the slow cooker vegetable curry with rice, naan, or with some meat for lunch or dinner.

  • 11 of 19

    Chicken Stew With Vegetables

    Chicken stew with vegetables recipe

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    Hearty and full of lean poultry and veggies, chicken stew with vegetables is a cinch to make in the oven and tastes great the next day. Reheat any leftover stew in the microwave or on the stovetop and it'll taste just as good, if not better, than the day you made it.

  • 12 of 19

    Vegan Hawaiian Poke Bowl

    Hawaiian vegan poke bowl

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak 

    Enjoy the flavors and textures of poke without dealing with fresh fish with this vegan version. Tofu is tossed with ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil for an easy lunch. The tofu can be cubed and tossed in the dressing and stashed in the fridge for up to three days for a quick poke bowl.

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  • 13 of 19

    Low-Fat Vegetarian White Bean Chili

    Low fat vegetarian white bean chili

    ​The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak 

    This recipe makes a big pot of white bean chili, full of flavorful spice and healthy protein. It's vegan and gluten-free and keeps for four or five days in the fridge. Pack it up for lunch or serve it with cornbread and salad for dinner.

  • 14 of 19

    Low-Carb Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole

    Low-Carb Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole

    The Spruce

    Casseroles are always great make-ahead meals. You can even assemble this chicken and cauliflower casserole minus the cheese, wrap it tightly, and freeze it. Bake the frozen casserole for twice the recommended cook time, adding the cheese halfway through.

  • 15 of 19

    Vegetarian Chana Masala With Spinach

    Chana masala spicy chickpeas with spinach recipe
    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Make chana masala in less than half an hour and enjoy it for lunch or dinner. The spices in the chickpeas and spinach dish marry as it sits, making it especially good for making ahead. Double the recipe if you'd like and serve with basmati rice.

  • 16 of 19

    Grilled Chicken Salad

    grilled chicken salad

     The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    A fresh green salad topped with seasoned grilled chicken is a dreamy lunch or summertime dinner. Simply grill the chicken before slicing and storing it in a container in the fridge. Prep the veggies, too, so that all you have to do is combine the ingredients and toss with the dressing.

    Continue to 17 of 19 below.
  • 17 of 19

    Caribbean Red Beans and Rice

    Caribbean red bean recipe

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Red beans and rice are a flavorful main dish, especially when paired with fresh or cooked greens. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave—just add a sprinkle or two of water if the mixture seems dry.

  • 18 of 19

    Vegan Yellow Thai Curry With Mixed Vegetables

    Vegan yellow thai curry

    The Spruce

    This super quick and easy Thai-style yellow curry is easy to customize with your favorite veggies or lean protein. Store it in the fridge for up to three days and simply heat it up for a quick meal.

  • 19 of 19

    Spiced Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

    Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Zucchini bread is a great way to sneak veggies into the first meal of the day. This recipe is low-fat and whole wheat, making it a no-brainer breakfast. Store the bread in a zip-top bag for a few days on the counter or four to five days in the fridge.