These Instant Pot lunch meal prep recipes are paired with simple snacks for an entire week. This the second of a four-part series that walks you through my entire process of meal planning and prep. It takes just over an hour to prep a week’s worth of lunches and snacks.
Here are links to the other preps in this series:
- Level 1: Snacks
- Level 3: Breakfasts, Lunches, and Snacks
- Level 4: Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, and Snacks
Meal prepping lunch and snacks is my personal favorite level of meal prep because it’s not too time consuming and I prefer to breakfast and dinner every day.
The Instant Pot is my favorite meal prep tool because for the most part, I can add everything to the pot and then walk away to accomplish more meal prep tasks while my recipe is cooking.
Looking to make it easy? Here are some of my favorite meal prep tools:
Planning your Instant Pot Lunch Meal Prep
If you need a refresher on meal planning vs. meal prepping or why people prep, click here to see my beginner meal prep article.
- How much food do I need to prep? How many people do I need to plan for?
- What meal prep lunches and snacks do I prep? Look at your calendar to account for any changes (nights out, happy hours, etc.)
- Do I need extra lunches and snacks? Are any friends coming over, did you family devour your last meal prep, etc.
It’s a good idea to always have a few extras on hand for emergencies. Granola bars, your favorite nuts, and fruit–like an orange–are great for these extras.
Use the convenient printables below to help organize your plan and prep. I use my shopping list template and bring it to the store with me. When you’re making your grocery list, check your pantry first because you don’t want to buy extra.
Prepping your Instant Pot Lunches
Here are my shopping lists for the snacks, Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Instant Pot Hamburger Helper recipes.
I love that this Instant Pot meal prep lasts all week long, and gives me a variety of things to snack on. Feel free to vary these recipes if you’d like–I have a long list of meal prep recipes below and they can easily be made in the slow cooker, any electric pressure cooker, or right on the stove.
You can also watch in this meal prep video how I prep these exact recipes:
- Protein Balls
- 2C quick cook oats
- 1/2C chocolate chips
- 2/3C unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2C peanut butter
- 1/3C honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Chips and Salsa store bought tortilla chips and fresh salsa from the grocery store
- Mini guacamole cups are the 100 calorie packs of guacamole that you can buy at the grocery store. They’re usually by the fresh salsa. I like to add extra cilantro!
- Nuts We buy unsalted mixed nuts from the store and I separate them into single serving grab and go bags.
- Raw Veggies My husband takes raw carrots and celery into work every day, and I snack on raw carrots, celery, and cucumbers daily. You could easily swap this snack with your favorite raw veggies, or even a bag of frozen veggies.
- Cold Cuts I prefer low sodium and nitrate free cold cuts from the deli counter. If you’d rather get prepackaged, Hormel makes the best one I’ve found next to Applegate.
- Buffalo Chicken Dip Hands down my favorite lunch and snack ever. I highly recommend doubling the recipe and freezing some in small containers.
- 3/4 cup cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt plain
- 2/3 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, optional)
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
- 3/4 cup Hot Sauce Frank’s Hot Sauce, NOT Buffalo sauce :)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- An alternative to buffalo chicken dip is my healthy Crack chicken recipe. Both are perfect to eat on their own for a meal or use as a veggie dip to add protein. You can eat them warm or cold.
- Healthy Hamburger Helper is a filling and healthy lunch. These are my favorite healthy meals to prep because they are hearty and can be easily frozen and reheated.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
- 1 cup fresh green chilis, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 cup whole wheat pasta
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/3 cup cheddar cheese
The Process of your Instant Pot Lunch Meal Prep (also called a Prep Plan)
Time needed: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
These are the steps I take to prep my lunches and snacks for a week.
- Start the Buffalo Chicken Dip
Add the chicken to the Instant Pot for the Buffalo Chicken Dip. While that is coming to pressure and cooking, prepare the sauce that goes with the recipe and put it in the refrigerator as you wait for the chicken.
- Prep the next recipe
Prep the ingredients for the Hamburger Helper and set them aside until you need them.
- Begin making Protein Balls
Begin making the Protein Balls. Stick your bowl of oatmeal mixture in the refrigerator so it can firm up a bit.
- Finish the Chicken Dip
Shred your chicken and finish making the chicken dip. When it’s finished, separate it into meal prep containers and refrigerate or freeze.
- Start the Hamburger Helper recipe
Brown the meat for the Hamburger Helper in your Instant Pot on Sauté. After adding the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot, set the cook time and seal the valve.
- Prep your veggies
While the Hamburger Helper is coming to pressure, begin peeling and chopping vegetables for snacks throughout the week.
- Finish Protein Balls
When the Hamburger Helper is finished cooking, allow it to cool in the pot for a few minutes while you roll out the protein balls and add them to a meal prep container.
- Portion Nuts
Portion out your nuts into small plastic baggies.
- Need more?
If it makes it easier for you, go ahead and separate out all of your snacks for the week. Group your daily lunches and snacks together in the fridge.
Looking for more healthy Instant Pot recipes?
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Sweet Potato Chili
- How to make Brown Rice in the Instant Pot
- Blueberry Steel Cut Oats
- Hard Boiled Eggs
Next, when you’re ready go to Level 3: Breakfasts, Lunches, and Snacks.
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