If the lack of space in our office fridge is any indication, bringing lunch to work has been a popular New Year’s resolution. But let’s get real: Staying motivated to pack lunch every day is tough! Whether you’re preparing it for yourself or for your kids, too, it takes commitment—but the upside is awesome.
Whatever dietary path you’re on, you simply have more control when you pack your own weekday lunch. The flip side is purchasing a meal at a nearby establishment where you don’t know exactly what goes into your food. With minimal planning, lunches you prepare yourself will taste so much better. You can incorporate all the ingredients you love into your meals—in turn, making your lunches enviable and keeping your energy levels up until dinnertime. An added benefit? Packing lunch is almost always cheaper than eating out. Below are a few tips that have worked for us Platers. We hope they help you get excited about whipping up nourishing and delicious lunches on the reg—and avoid the notorious Sad Desk Lunch (aka the $13 Salad Syndrome).
1. Leftover dinner is your best friend.
It’s been said time and time again, and for good reason: Double up on what you make for dinner the night before, so you’re guaranteed to have the perfect portion to take with you the next day. We like to take it a step further and transfer our leftovers to a portable container right after dinner to avoid morning prep. Done and done.
SUGGESTION: Psssst. The secret to loving your leftovers is making dinners that taste even better after they sit in the fridge overnight. Think braises, curries, soups, stews, and casseroles.
2. Have staple ingredients on hand.
There aren’t always leftovers, and sometimes your lunch seems too skimpy to get you through the day. Don’t fret! Have a few essentials prepped to bulk up your meal at a moment’s notice. You want these items to be ones you can easily add to what you have.
SUGGESTION: We’re big fans of cooked chicken and various nuts for added protein. You can also prep a small batch of boiled eggs on Sunday. We like the option to throw in some lettuce or mixed greens too.
3. Use the work fridge.
Bring some lunch-making ingredients to work on Monday and store them in the fridge. If you’re anything like us, a short noon break from the desk is a happy, energizing event. With everything you need handy, you can take a breather and assemble killer lunches like it’s no big deal.
SUGGESTION: We like having salad and sandwich fixings at the ready. Go wild!