Easy Lunch Ideas Inspired by My Asian Heritage

I love to cook and I love to eat.

I especially love to create meals that remind me of growing up surrounded by Filipino cuisine and Asian-inspired dishes. My grandma’s kitchen was always simmering with the core ingredients of sauteed garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar that could be manipulated into a million different meals depending on what meat or vegetables she paired with it. I take inspiration from these well-loved meals and make them my own by adding my own flavor profiles or looking up complementary ones. Each meal feels like a callback to home.

But while I love to cook, what I loathe to my very core is meal prepping

The following is what works for me personally, as someone who spends most of her day at home, but also as someone who is busy enough to not have time to make something from scratch every day. 

What My Asian-Inspired Lunch Prep Looks Like

Admittedly, I eat a LOT of chicken because it’s super versatile and easy for me to chop up and stick in a pan or throw in the oven and voila it’s done. 

If I’m not doing chicken, I try to have imitation crab meat or canned chickpeas on hand. Other staples I always have around are spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, green peppers, red onion, garlic, rice noodles, sushi rice, rice paper, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, and balsamic vinegar.


I cook big batch of chicken (boneless and skinless chicken thighs) and usually a large batch of rice or noodles. This saves me time for the rest of the week. 

This is the day I’m usually the most creative with my meal because I have the time to go wild. After this meal, I will save the rest of my chicken and leftover carbs in separate containers to use throughout the week.


My husband and I have a standing hot yoga and lunch date, so I don’t worry about it!


Today’s lunch will go one of two ways. I may reheat the chicken I cooked on Monday and mix it with something new. If I’m feeling a lighter lunch I make a spring roll with crab and veggies — cooking the noodles and then actually rolling them takes the longest to prep.


I teach a noon class and so today is definitely a day I will throw together any and all of my leftovers into a pan once I come home and call it lunch.


Chances are high I’m sick of eating chicken, so I will probably make another batch of spring rolls or whip up fried rice.

In my experience, if I eat my chicken the same way every day, I get sick of it pretty quick. But if one day I have two full chicken thighs and the next it’s chopped up and mixed into a pasta, and then later as strips, it’s like it’s a brand new food every time. Which is why I prefer to bake them at the beginning of the week and then repurpose as I see fit for meals. 

However, it is also nice to have the chicken chopped up and cooked already so you can throw it in anything you’re making.

Things to Make with Rice Noodles

Spring rolls is where the sky is the limit on what you put in it. Or rather, the size of your rice paper. The small ones are deceiving and you can’t fit much in them.

For an easy Thai curry soup: cook your noodles, toss in curry paste, coconut milk (I usually do a dash of almond milk), add mushrooms, chicken, spinach, lime juice and you’re golden.

Alternatively, you may decide that you’re in more of a pasta mood. When this happens I’ll toss together my chicken with artichokes, mushrooms, baby tomatoes, and spinach in with my noodles and toss pesto on top.

Playing with your veggie and carb pairings and testing sauce combinations are an easy way to take a very basic meal — chicken, carb, veg — and make it taste brand new every time.

This is why I prefer this method of food prepping to making an actual meal every single day. It allows me to have the creativity and spontaneity of cooking, without having to do it from scratch every single day. 

On average, any day after Monday, it takes me roughly 15-20 minutes to cook, and a lot of that is simply chopping up veggies, and then I get to enjoy!

Try Salmon instead of Chicken

A couple of other options I have done in the past is baking a large salmon for the week and then eating large pieces of it with noodles/rice or shredding it to make onigiri.

To make: sushi rice, shredded salmon mixed with spicy mayo (mayo and sriracha), green and red pepper, seaweed paper.

Or a salmon sandwich with spinach and strawberries!

I hope whatever your lunch journey, that you’re able to find something that works for you and that it’s a tasty one!

What are some of your favorite lunches to make? Let us know in the comments!




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Gina Dahl
Gina Dahl is a semi-experienced parent of 15 years with her husband Andy. On any given day you can find Gina outside running with her giant lapdog, leading early morning yoga, or teaching piano. As a direct result of having teens, Gina is widely known for being super embarrassing and wildly uncool while also talking way too much. She is greatly appreciated by her family, mostly for her tasty cooking skills. At the end of every day, she feels fortunate for the good things and bad things and especially the funny things that happen when you're a parent.


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