Nothing is worse than a #SadDeskLunch … you know the one. The random granola bar, piece of fruit, and forgotten frozen dinner you grabbed on the way out the door because you didn’t have time to prep anything for the week. Even meal prepping pros can get tired of their everyday salad or chicken and rice.
Spice up your lunch with some of our suggestions below!
Eliminate the time spent waiting at the communal kitchen’s microwave by embracing no heat meals. This also helps shorten your at home prep time because you won’t be standing over a hot stove for your entire weekend. For breakfast, try overnight oats or cut, bag and freeze fruit for a quick a smoothie. You can prep large batches of both over the weekend and use throughout the week. Overnight oats are typically good for 7 days in the fridge and frozen fruit is good for up to a year, depending on the type. At lunchtime, try lettuce wraps for a twist on the typical wrap or sandwich. You can still use the same fillings, such as chicken or tuna, but eliminate the bread or wrap in favor of lettuce for a healthier alternative. For another no heat option, try gazpacho, a cold soup. This dish doesn’t require any cooking, simply blend using a blender or food processor, and serve cold.
Streamlining meal prep also means streamlining the cleanup. Utilize recipes that only use one pan or a slow cooker in order to minimize time spent doing dishes. You don’t have to be a pro chef to throw together a great meal. Sheet pan meals are ideal option because you can cook a large amount of food together at one time. Include your favorite protein, vegetables, and seasoning and bake in the oven. Another hands-off option for busy cooks is the slow cooker.
Trade in the brown bag and treat yourself to a new lunch bag or mini cooler as motivation to bring your lunch. You can find stylish options that even masquerade as a purse or briefcase. Avoid the communal fridge by packing your bag with ice packs to stash your lunch bag at your desk. This is a great option for those that like to snack, since everything will be readily available. For beverages, replace disposable plastic bottles with a reusable option such as glass or metal. These types of water bottles are much more durable and environmentally friendly. If your office has a full kitchen, you can leave the bottle at the office and clean as needed.
If you’re not much of a cook, this could be the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill or pick up some new recipes. The internet or bookstore are perfect places to scour for fresh ideas– lots of popular celebs have their own cookbooks that would be ideal inspiration for your next meal. Another fun option is to your hand at duplicating your favorite takeout cuisine at home. You can find a ton of “copycat” recipes on Pinterest, often with healthy swaps like riced cauliflower instead of rice. Even if it doesn’t turn out as planned, it could be worth documenting on your insta story. Alternatively, if you do nail the perfect plate, post your masterpiece on your Instagram page to show off your creation.
Stuck in a seasoning rut? Professional chefs use a variety of spices in their cooking that will make even your most basic ingredients taste amazing. Fresh favorites available at the grocery store include cilantro, parsley and basil to add fresh flavor to any dish. Some ways to use them include basil pesto, or green goddess dressing. For a more exotic flavor, try lemongrass or curry. These spicy options are sure to have your coworkers wanting to know who is eating the lunch that smells so good!
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