Cheap High Protein Vegetarian Lunch ideas for Broke Students

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Hey fellow scholars! In light of the increasingly meat-less lifestyles both myself and those around me are undertaking, I’ve collected 5 different cheap, high-protein, vegetarian meal prep ideas that’ll have you looking forward to the school week.

These are recipes I personally use and thoroughly enjoy. You can meal prep all of these on Sunday and rest assured you won’t be hungry shortly after.

Not only is eating out at lunch daily not ideal for my health, but it’s also not ideal for my budget. I’m talking about my practically non-existent bank account.

Even school lunches are priced too high in my frugal opinion.

So if you too need some cheap meal ideas for the school day, then you’ve come to the right place. 2020 is the year to unleash the meal prep queen or king inside of you.

Meal Prep Idea #1: Overnight Oats (Or Oatmeal)

My personal favorite. You’ll peep me whipping out a hearty container of overnight oats basically every single weekday. Honestly, my school lunches start anywhere from 10:36 to 12:02 so I’m genuinely in the mood for a breakfast staple over ‘traditional’ lunches.

There’s nothing I love more than a lunch you can dress up depending on your mood and meal prep on Sundays. That’s right– I pack all 5 containers before the school week even starts.

In some odd, kinda illogical way, overnight oats are like a salad in that while your base may stay the same, you can change up everything else.

I’m talking seeds, nuts, berries, bananas, apple, mango, pineapple, yogurt (yes, oatmeal parfaits are a serious thing), cinnamon, nutmeg, almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cacao nibs, dark chocolate, must I go on?

My favorite recipe for success is:

Meal Prep Idea #2: Parfait

Why do so many people straight up sleep on parfaits? They can quite literally taste like dessert for breakfast/lunch (and personally I can’t think of anything better than that.)

Of course, with a meal option like this, you have to make sure the yogurt you choose is protein-rich. My favorites include Light & Fit by Dannon Greek Nonfat Yogurt and Chobani Non-fat Greek Yogurt.

So basically Greek yogurt is the key here. Any other yogurt and I’m like 93% sure you’re going to be hungry again after about an hour or two.

You’re free to top your parfaits off with whatever delicacies you like, and almost all of them can also be prepped at the start of the week. Oats, berries, nut butters, seeds, bananas, and homemade granola, all taste bomb on yogurt.

Experiment around with different toppings, and you’ll be able to figure out which offer the most filling combinations.

Meal Prep Idea #3: Veggie Wrap

I won’t lie; I genuinely use to think that wraps (or sandwiches) weren’t real wraps (or sandwiches) if they didn’t have a little bit of meat in them. A ‘lettuce and cheese’ wrap just didn’t sound quite as appealing as a ham and cheese wrap.

But I’ve more or less revamped my mindset in this past year-and-a-half to relying on virtually no meat. Red meat was the first to go, and I can truly say that my taste buds have changed.

Vegetarian wraps are much more satisfying both physically and mentally. I mean, it’s basically just wrapping up your favorite salad in a thin piece of firm dough.

This too is a lunch you can dress up however your heart may desire. Just get yourself a nice softshell, and stuff it full with vegetables like:

  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • peppers
  • onions

And since you, of course, can’t forget a hearty dose of protein, you can try out some:

  • cheese (Cottage preferably)
  • greek yogurt
  • tofu
  • seitan
  • lentils
  • beans
  • hemp seeds

Meal prep #4: Boiled Egg Salad

This one doesn’t sound particularly appealing by most stretches but if you like boiled eggs, then there’s a pretty good chance you’ll enjoy one of these salads.

And no, I’m not talking about a bowl-full of boiled eggs, and maybe some tomatoes and seasoning. Definitely not.

I’m talking a bowl full of greens, i.e. lettuce or spinach, with some boiled egg pieces mixed in there, along with your other favorite salad toppings.

I’d suggest two boiled eggs for a hearty dose of protein and a few grams of fat to keep you full.

The only real drawback of consuming eggs regularly is the abnormally high amount of cholesterol, so you can decide whether or not to remove the yolk since that’s where all the cholesterol is.

So just as a general guideline, mix together

  • spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • a couple of olives
  • grated cheese
  • homemade salad dressing with a base of either red wine vinegar or greek yogurt
  • eggs

And for an extra flair:

  • chickpeas/hummus

For what I call a healthy Mediterranean-styled cuisine.

Meal Prep Idea #5: Cucumber, Hummus, and Cheese Crackers

Peanut butter crackers are typically a childhood staple in lunchboxes, but I think older students can all agree that they don’t provide a well-rounded meal in themselves, and oftentimes they’re simply not that filling.

So in comes deli-style crackers.

I’d suggest opting for a rice cracker or multi-grain cracker over a typical Ritz, or even Savoritz cracker if you’re really trying to be health-conscious.

Cucumbers provide you with a vegetable serving for the day, along with a refreshing crunch that hydrates and satiates.

Hummus is delicious for one but also provides you with healthy fiber, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates, and very little sugar.

And my favorite go-to cheese is cottage cheese since approx. 70% of its calories come from protein. (28 grams in 1 cup) And it provides B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium.

But don’t fear– provolone cheese is still a lower-calorie option that offers 5 grams of protein per slice. 2 or 3 slices should do the trick.

So….

I think it’s safe to say you’re all prepared for the school week now. Comment below if you try any of these recipes and what you think of them.

I’d also love to hear any of your suggestions for lunch ideas that you personally enjoy. Don’t be a stranger!

Since you clearly do care about improving your quality of life (and on a budget!), make sure to check out my post on How to practice self-care EVERY day of the week.

Interested in more tips and lifestyle hacks for aspirational broke students trying to thrive? Then sign up for my email list below!

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