I’ve found that meal prepping lunch for the week is the easiest way for me to stick to avoiding refined sugars. Plus, making your own lunch saves a A TON of money. Seriously. A TON. Yes, a few of these items might cost a little up front if you don’t already have them on hand, like the coconut aminos and fish sauce, but once you buy them, they’ll last a while. The rest of the ingredients for this meal are super simple and inexpensive, and they total out at under $20, so that means about $2.50/meal. Even most fast food meals are more than $5 these days, and this is actually good and won’t make you feel like a pile of hot garbage after eating it.
I recently picked up a pack of organic soba noodles at World Market while browsing their international food section. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already. I always come away with some random ingredients from around the world. This time it was soba noodles and gnocchi. When I saw the soba noodles I immediately started thinking of what kind of noodle bowl I could make for lunch that week. I’ve made cold noodle bowls in the past and they always come out great. They’re the perfect meal prep lunch for people who get sick of the same old thing all the time or have an addiction to Asian takeout. And as always, my main goal: you can eat it cold and avoid the lunchtime rush for the microwave at work.
For this recipe we used chicken thighs as the protein. We pretty much only eat chicken thighs at this point. Once you make the switch from breasts to thighs you’ll never want to go back (That’s what she said). They are so much more flavorful than chicken breast, close to impossible to over cook, which means no dried out chicken, and they are cheaper. A true triple threat.
You can choose whatever veggies you like, but the combo I used turned out pretty great. The sauce uses some typical Asian ingredients with a few random ones peppered in (Sue me! I love peanut butter). Definitely use fresh herbs, though. It really makes the dish.
This makes enough for 2 servings per day for 4 days because I’m prepping for Dan and myself. You could make a little more and make it for 5, but only if you freeze some of the chicken and thaw it out for the fifth day. I personally feel uneasy about eating 5-day-old chicken.
If you are only making lunch for yourself, just cut the recipe in half.
You can cook/chop/prep all of the ingredients on a Sunday night, and they’ll be ready to throw together the night before or in the morning before you rush out the door.
Coconut aminos, Sriracha garlic paste, ginger powder, 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, Red Boat Fish Sauce (Amazon.com), apple cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar, garlic cloves, lime juice, olive or avocado oil, natural peanut butter, 9.5 oz pkg of Hakubaku organic soba noodles, 1 bag of mini sweet peppers, 1 hot house cucumber, 1 bag matchstick carrots, 1 bag frozen edamame, 4 avocados, fresh mint & basil
Turn this ^ into this ˅
Ginger Garlic Chicken
+3 tbsp coconut aminos
+1 tbsp sriracha garlic paste
+1 tbsp ginger powder
+2 lbs chicken thighs (8 boneless skinless thighs)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all of the wet and dry ingredients above in an airtight bag and add the chicken. These are just rough estimates, so you can add a little more of the ingredients as needed, just make sure that the chicken is fully coated. Once coated, marinate the chicken in the fridge for about 15 minutes, or longer if you’d like. After you’re done marinating, place the chicken thighs on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Once cooled, chop into bite sized pieces and keep refrigerated until use.
This chicken recipe is great by itself, but perfect for this noodle bowl
Noodle Bowl Sauce
+2 tbsp Red Boat Fish Sauce (most brands have a tiny bit of added sugar—this doesn’t)
+1.5 tbsp coconut aminos
+2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
+2.5 cloves garlic finely minced (I just buy the already minced garlic in a jar)
+1/4 cup honey
+1/3 cup and 1 tbsp lime juice
+1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
+2.5 tbsp natural peanut butter
Whisk all ingredients together until fully combined. You can store this sauce in a resealable container in the fridge and just take out a little at a time each day, as needed.
+1 9.5 oz pkg of Hakubaku organic soba noodles (you can find these online if not in stores)
+1 bag of mini sweet peppers or a couple regular bell peppers
+1 cucumber- I like the hot house cucumbers (the really long ones) but a regular will do as well
+1 bag matchstick carrots (or just shred some yourself)
+1 bag frozen edamame
+fresh mint & basil
Cook the soba noodles and edamame according to their packaging. It only take about 4 minutes for the noodles to cook, so don’t assume that you will do other things in the meantime like you might with regular pasta. The edamame will take about 6 minutes in the microwave, but they will need time to cool before you stick them in the fridge or mix them in with the other ingredients. Make them first so they have time to cool.
Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them well. You can store them in an airtight container for the rest of the week.
Clean and chop all of the sweet peppers and cucumber into bite-sized pieces, and de-shell the edamame. You can store all of these veggies together in an airtight container in the fridge. Saves on dishes!
Don’t prep the avocado or herbs ahead of time.
Now you’re time to put it all together! Add about 1 cup of cooked noodles to each meal prep container and a small handful each of the chicken, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers. Right before you leave for work in the morning peel and cut up your avocado and chop up a handful of mint and basil. Add half of 1 avocado and half of the handful of herbs to each bowl.
*Pro tip* Squeeze a little lime juice on your avocado after you cut it to keep it looking fresh through the work day. I usually add a sprinkle of salt and pepper as well.
Pour about 4 tsp of your sauce into a separate small container, so that you can add it to the bowl when you’re ready to eat. I have some really handy (and adorable) little 1.8 oz containers pictured here that I bought at Marshall’s that are perfect for carrying sauces and dressings to work.
That’s it! Keep your noodle bowl and sauce refrigerated until you’re ready to eat.
Hope you enjoy this easy meal prep lunch. If you try it out, leave me a comment to let me know what you think.