Whenever the weekend comes around, there’s a list of items to prep for the following week that I always try to accomplish. I find that when I’m productive over the weekend and think ahead to what’s going on, I have a much more successful week. One of the things that’s most important in that regard? Meal planning!
Since D and I moved in together many years ago, I found myself settling into a routine that ensures that both of us have healthy (or at least semi-healthy) lunches for the entire week. Because I’m a vegetarian and he is not, I make specific things for myself that he doesn’t eat and vice versa.
The most frequent lunch I make in advance for myself is salad. It’s the healthiest thing I can have for lunch, and I can prepare a big batch of it and space it out over the course of an entire week. I know that if I don’t prep something for myself, I’ll most likely end up getting lunch out or at the work cafeteria, which is undoubtedly going to be much more high calorie and unhealthy, not to mention a drain on the wallet.
Here is my process:
First I get out all the necessary supplies:
- 5 glass tupperware containers
- cutting board
- salad spinner
- chef’s knife
I switch up my salad ingredients every now and then, but my most common base of ingredients is romaine lettuce, tomato and bell pepper. Sometimes I’ll add in some artichoke hearts, hard boiled eggs, cheese or beets, among other things. And I always finish off the salad with deli style tofurkey, which serves as my protein.
I start by chopping up the romaine and dumping it into the salad spinner (side note: I don’t know how I ever made salads before I owned a salad spinner – totally worth it!). I then wash the leaves thoroughly in the salad spinner basket and then start the spinning process, which I keep going as I chop up the rest of the ingredients. Once the other veggies are added, I grab the tofurkey and start slicing. I make bite-sized pieces and put equal portions into each of the 5 tupperware containers. Then I take big handfuls of the salad mixture and fill the containers to the brim. I always wait to dress the salads until the day of – otherwise they would get VERY soggy.
I love having pre made salads ready to go during the week. It’s so easy to just grab one in my morning rush and head off to work knowing I have a healthy meal.
For D, the majority of the time he will request sandwiches as his lunch of choice for the week. For instance, some weeks he will do ham/turkey/cheese sandwiches, and other times I will make him tuna. Occasionally though, he’ll want to do a more hearty lunch like the one I’m about to show you.
On this particular Sunday, we decided to make him some baked chicken to take for the week. We do a sort of baked/fried style, which involves coating the chicken with breadcrumbs and drizzling with olive oil before baking.
I usually do his lunches at the same time I’m doing mine so everything gets done at once. It’s the same basic process in that I get out all the glass tupperware needed (I’ve collected enough over the years to make sure we have enough to do a full week of meals for me and a full week of meals for D with a few left over). Then I prep the chicken, bake the chicken and portion it out. Sometimes I’ll add in a little rice or cous cous if we happen to have some at the time. These are pretty hearty lunches for D and they’re perfect when he has very long work days.
Again, it makes life indescribably easier to get all the lunch prep work out of the way on a Sunday. The weeks I don’t do it are usually on the chaotic side and definitely the unhealthy side. I’m always fine tuning the system and I try to keep things interesting and varied so we don’t get sick of our lunch options. Not to mention, getting this out of the way on a Sunday makes me feel much more calm and collected about the upcoming week, no matter how busy it is.
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Do you ever do Sunday meal prep work?
What kind of lunches do you take to work?