Trader Joe’s = easy meal-prep lunches

Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D.
January 18, 2020

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The middle of January is usually when people’s New Year’s resolutions start to fade. Often, it’s because those resolutions were too lofty to begin with and hard to maintain in everyday life. If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone! Really though, regardless of where you are in the process, everyone loves when healthy eating is made easy, and this week’s meal-prep lunches deliver, thanks to Trader Joe’s.

Your Meal Plan

Trader Joe’s is my favorite place to shop when I need a break from cooking. The store’s creative, ready-made products help save some serious time in the kitchen, whether I’m looking for an easy dinner or a fast lunch.

This week I’m making zesty Southwest Black-Bean Pasta Salad Bowls—a recipe we created to go along with this meal-prep plan: How to Meal-Prep a Week of High-Fiber Lunches from Trader Joe's. Because the pasta is made from black beans (hence the color), it’s higher in fiber and protein than your standard pasta. If you’re trying to lose weight or simply want a satisfying lunch to carry you through the afternoon, this high-fiber recipe can help! The pasta, paired with a few more ready-made ingredients, adds up to four days’ worth of lunches (leaving one day for leftovers or lunch out) ready in a quick 20 minutes.

Here’s how it's done:

Step 1: Heat frozen corn; allow to cool.

Step 2: Cook pasta; drain and rinse with cold water; combine with corn and set aside.

Step 3: Slice chicken into strips; set aside.

Step 4: Divide pico de gallo into 4 small lidded containers; do the same with the dressing; refrigerate.

Step 5: Divide the corn and pasta mixture among 4 meal-prep containers and top with the chicken. Wait to mix in the pico and dressing until ready to eat.

In case you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, I added generic ingredients to the shopping list (in the dinner plan section!) you could use for this lunch instead.

Looking for something different? Give one of these other meal-prep lunch recipes using Trader Joe’s ingredients a try this week:

Green Goddess Quinoa Bowls with Arugula & Shrimp

Buffalo-Style Bistro Lunch Box

Falafel Tabbouleh Bowls with Tzatziki

Let me know if you meal prep any of these lunches or what else you’re doing to prep ahead for a healthy week! Email me at ThePrep@eatingwell.com. If you have a question or requests for future newsletter topics, I’d love to hear those too.

Dinners for the Week

Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply get a healthy meal on the table, the key to making it happen is to keep things as easy as possible. These 20-minute dinners can help. With shortcut ingredients (like ready-made ravioli and prechopped veggies) and quick cooking techniques, you'll get a healthy dinner on the table in no time.

Get the Plan: 20-Minute 400-Calorie Dinner Plan

We're making shopping easier with a list of all the ingredients you need to make this week's dinners and featured treat, and the ingredients needed for the Southwest Black-Bean Pasta Salad Bowls. You can print it out, or just keep it on your phone when you hit the store. Get the shopping list.

Treat Yourself

Fresh blood orange juice gives this stunning pink cocktail just the right balance of sweet and sour. For the perfect finish, upgrade the salt rim on your glass by mixing in a little orange zest to add to both the presentation and flavor of these skinny margaritas. Doing Dry January? Swap out the tequila for soda water.

Get the Recipe: Blood Orange Margaritas

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