The best part of my day is lunch time, not because I don’t love my job, but because I get to socialize with coworkers that I don’t share an office with and eat some yummy food. Part of the reason I love lunch so much is that I love the lunches that I bring. I started meal prepping in order to save time in the mornings and during the week and to give myself a delicious lunch every day. Below I shared some of my favorite tips to make meal prepping easier and your lunch break better!
- Take out containers (the black plastic ones with clear lids) are perfect for portions and reheating. If you don’t get takeout as often as I do, or your favorite takeout spot doesn’t have reusable containers, you can get inexpensive plastic containers and dedicate them to your meals.
- Cook in bulk. The point of meal prepping is to get all of the cooking done in one day so that you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the week. Think about how many days you are working and make that many lunches for yourself. They don’t necessarily need to be the same exact meal, but using the same ingredients makes cooking and prepping easier.
- Pick meals that you actually enjoy. In order to make lunch more enjoyable, you should be enjoying what you’re eating. Don’t try and force yourself to eat foods that you won’t like, you’ll end up hungry and annoyed. Whether you really want a turkey sandwich or a plate of rice and beans, make it something that you will be happy with eating for a week.
- Pick foods and portion sizes that won’t make you feel groggy. Your ideal lunch might be 3 portions of leftover Chinese takeout, but realistically that won’t have you feeling great once you get back to work. Secondary to this, pick foods that will reheat well (if you’re reheating).
- Frozen vegetables are so much easier to keep than fresh vegetables and they’re just as good for you! Just let them thaw out or cook them frozen. My personal favorites are broccoli and spinach.
- This one is going to sound strange, but hear me out: don’t start meal prepping until AFTER you’ve eaten. There have been so many meals that I’ve made that I just ate right afterward because I was so hungry! Save yourself the time and eat before you start cooking.
- Pre-minced garlic is a lifesaver for those of us that have novice knife skills. It’s not as fresh as fresh garlic but saving the hassle is so worth it. Spice World is the brand I get, they have squeeze tubes, small jars, and giant jars. The same brand also sells minced ginger, among other spices.
- Set a time and day of the week that you’ll meal prep. I make my dishes Sunday nights after dinner, around 8pm. Depending on what I’m making it takes about an hour to cook and prepare everything for the week ahead. Even if I go out on Sunday nights, I’ll still come home and make something for the next day, because I know if I don’t my mornings will out of whack.
- Try out different recipes. Go to Google and Pinterest and search different meal prep recipes that use the ingredients that you like. Going back to tip number 2, don’t try anything that has ingredients that you don’t like. You can substitute them out, or leave them out as the recipe calls. Always remember that most recipes are just suggestions, you can change them to fit your dietary needs or wants.
- You don’t have to get fancy with it, you can make peanut butter sandwiches if that’s what you want to eat for lunch. The point of meal prepping is to do it ahead of time. So even if you’re spending 15 minutes making 6 days worth of peanut butter sandwiches, it will save you time during the week ahead.
- If you’re like me and have the attention span of a goldfish, you can make it more entertaining by watching a show on your laptop (I suggest something that you don’t need to pay attention to so you don’t mess up anything you’re cooking), or pop on some tunes or a podcast! Usually, I’ll listen to my favorite podcast or catch up on my shows from the last week.
I hope you enjoyed my meal prep tips and try it out yourself! Comment and like this post if you’d be interested in seeing meal prep recipes in the future, and feel free to share your favorite recipes with us.