7 Night-Time Worker Meal Ideas that Can Be Made in Under 20 Minutes

I hear it all the time from several of my amazing clients:

“Clarissa, I just don’t have the time to put a lunch together. I am flat out exhausted when I get home in the morning from doing graveyard shift. After I make an attempt to get about 5 or 6 hours of sleep, I try to run a few errands and spend a little bit of time with my family before I head back to work at 6:30pm. It is just easier for me to run over to McDonald’s or to grab something from the vending machine.”

I smile and get to work proving them wrong. 😊

When I show my skeptics how quickly they can prepare a delicious, flavorful, and healthy lunch to pop in their work bag, they are floored.

I have designed 7 meals that YOU can prepare while catching up on your favorite reality show, and be proud to enjoy.

Keep in mind, a couple of these meals will need to be reheated. Make sure you have enough ice packs to put on or around each of the containers. Also, if you have any food allergies, let me know in the comments and I’ll help you out with some cool substitutions.

Meal 1: Mason Jar Salad

Grab a large Mason jar from Target or WalMart, and fill it in this order:

  • Bottom layer: Dressing (2 tablespoons)
  • 2nd layer: Veggies, roughly 1/2 to 3/4 cup (carrots, celery, red onion, etc)
  • 3rd layer: Protein, 2/3 cup (chicken, shrimp, chickpeas, tempeh, etc)
  • 4th layer: Fruits, 1/3 cup (berries, mandarin origins, apples, pears, etc)
  • 5th layer: Cheese, 2 tablespoons (if using)
  • Final layer: Lettuce or salad greens, 1 – 1.5 cups

When you are ready to eat, scoop it onto a paper plate, or shake it for 45 to 60 seconds to get the dressing all over the ingredients and enjoy right from the jar. I have made about 3 or 4 of these healthy jewels at a time and put them in the fridge. So yummy and quick too!

Meal 2: TTLA Sandwich

Do you remember the viral video about the Whole Foods vegan sandwich? Tempeh, tomato, lettuce, and avocado? Yes I tried one, and it was as delicious as the video said – I did not use tomato, though, and it was still amazing. You can make this for yourself at home. Grab some Ezekiel 4:29 bread and thaw out a couple of slices. Swipe some vegan mayonnaise across both slices. Make this delicious tempeh bacon from the Simple Vegan Blog and put some on one slice the bread. Add a piece of green leaf lettuce and a couple of slices of Campari tomato. Top with the other slice, cut it in half, and put into your lunch with your favorite whole fruit.

Meal 3: Clarissa’s Favorite Chicken Salad

I have shared this recipe before on the blog, so I will just point you to it. Put a scoop of this beautiful salad on top of mixed salad greens and add Green Goddess or a healthy vinaigrette to it, or wrap up two thawed slices of Ezekiel 4:29 bread.

Meal 4: Veggie Stir Fry on Cauliflower Rice

Chop 1 medium onion, 3 stalks celery, 2 medium bell peppers (any color), 2 carrots, and 2 heads broccoli in bite sized pieces into a medium bowl. Season with 2 tablespoons Chinese 5 Spice and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook about 6-8 minutes until tender. Remove from pan and toss with 2 teaspoons liquid aminos and 1/4 cup slivered almonds. Cook frozen cauliflower rice according to package directions. Serve by putting 1/2 cup cauliflower rice at bottom of container and top with 3/4 cup veggies. Enjoy with a cup of blueberries or mango on the side.

Meal 5: Tuna Salad in Tomato Cups

This one came from a Beachbody article that I cannot find anymore. It looked tasty, but since I am not a tomato fan, I would share it with my amazing clients so they could enjoy the recipe. Take a beefsteak tomato and cut off the top. Scoop the seeds and part of the pulp out. In a small bowl, mix a can of tuna (water drained), 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons sweet or dill relish, and about 1.5 teaspoons each of dried rosemary, dried basil, and dried oregano. Fill tomato with about 1/2 or 3/4 of the mixture, then put into a wide mouth container for transporting to work.

Meal 6: Apricot Chicken with Steamed Broccoli

Chop up a chicken breast into bite sized pieces and season with Himalayan pink salt, dried tarragon, and black pepper. Heat a small skillet to medium high and add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Cook for about 7-8 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and set aside. While chicken is cooking, steam bag of frozen broccoli according to package directions. In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of minced garlic and 1/4 cup chopped onion. Cook over medium heat for about 4 – 5 minutes until onion is tender, then add 2 cups peeled and chopped apricots. Cook another 2-3 minutes, then remove from pan and combine with the chicken. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth. Add 1/4 cup Bragg liquid aminos, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, and 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Combine chicken, apricots, and veggies back in the sauce. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until flavors combine. Place about 3/4 cup apricot chicken and 1/2 cup broccoli in meal prep container for transporting.

Meal 7: Zoodles with Homemade Sauce

Make it easy by cooking frozen zucchini noodles according to package directions. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat. Cook 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 1 cup sliced mushrooms, and 3 cloves minced garlic for about 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add 1 pound ground turkey breast and cook until no longer pink. Add 2 large cans (28 ounces each) low sodium tomato sauce and 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes. Cook until sauce is heated through. Add about 1 cup zoodles to container and top with 3/4 cup homemade sauce. For an added cheesy flavored treat, shake on some nutritional yeast before eating.

Quick question:

Are you having difficulties eating for your health as a first responder working the night shift? I can help you with that. Click the banner below to join my next 5 Day Sugar Buster Challenge.

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