Prep this nutritious (and delicious) meal ahead of time for a quick and easy lunch on busy weekdays.
Weekday lunch hours can often turn into a juggling act between working, squeezing in some movement, and grabbing a quick bite before getting back to the grind. But being intentional about this meal is important, especially if you want to keep the engine in your train running, explains John Christie, a registered dietitian and director of Curriculum Intelligence at Tonal.
“Lunch is a good litmus test for whether you’re on track for your energy needs and calories for the day,” he says. “It’s an ideal time to reintroduce a good source of protein to keep your body rebuilding muscle tissue, whether that’s for bigger muscles or just to help with recovery.”
It can be tricky to prioritize lunch during a busy week, but Tonal coach Trace Gotsis recommends his go-to strategy: meal-prepping ingredients on the weekend for healthy grain bowls throughout the week. “Bowls are just so easy,” he says. “They’re only a few components, some sort of grain base and then a protein source,” he says. “From there, you can get creative and throw in whatever produce and sauces you want.”
Pulling together this satisfying bowl for lunch is simple. Coach Trace recommends making a big batch of quinoa and roasting sweet potatoes, so you’re “good for four to five days,” and adding plant-based protein sources like chickpeas. “I will throw chickpeas on anything; I just love them,” he says. “I’m Greek so that Mediterranean taste is always special to me.”
Coach Trace is also a fan of air-frying for meal prep. “I got an air fryer last year, and it’s been a game-changer for sweet potatoes.”
Aside from easy preparation, this hearty grain bowl is also a great combination of nutrients that will satiate you and keep you on the right track. “There are relatively high-fiber carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, great sources of fats from olive oil and tahini, and fiber-rich plant-based protein from quinoa and chickpeas,” adds Christie.
- Olive oil, for cooking and drizzling
- Salt to taste
- 2 sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa
- 1 bunch of kale, chopped
- ½ a cup of tahini
- Juice of one lemon
- 6 Tbsp. of water
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- To serve: 2 Tbsp. hemp hearts
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt. Place in the oven to bake for around 35 minutes or until tender and lightly brown.
- Next, place a skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and cook the kale until bright green and softened (around 5 minutes), then set aside.
- To make the dressing, blend together tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic and then season with salt to taste.
- To assemble your grain bowl, layer one quarter of the kale in a bowl. Top with 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa, a quarter of the diced sweet potatoes, a quarter of the chickpeas, 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, and a quarter of the tahini dressing. Season with salt, drizzle some olive oil, and garnish with hemp seeds before serving.
- Tip: You can easily prepare all these ingredients, assemble your bowls in containers, and stash them in your fridge for up to five days. Just drizzle with tahini dressing and olive oil before serving.
Note: The estimates below represent one of four servings and do not account for additional olive oil drizzled before serving.
- Calories: 509 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 59g
- Fiber: 17g
- Protein: 21g
- Fat: 24g