Let’s talk weekday lunches– if you’re like me, you start out the week with the best intentions and put together a healthy meal on Sunday night so that you can bring it in your carefully packed lunchbox on Monday. Then, you eat leftovers on Tuesday… less healthy leftovers on Wednesday… and by Friday you’re ordering in delivery or eating an entire bag of chocolate at your desk.
While I’m all about that #ghirardellilife, I hate the sugar crash that hits me around 2 PM if I don’t eat a healthy lunch. One answer to this is to create a grab-and-go, delicious “salad bar” right in your fridge. I won’t lie to you and say that this will 100% stop your GrubHub habit, but it definitely makes it much easier to eat healthy during the work day!
You will need:
- A big container of your greens of choice (I like organic spring blends)
- Protein of choice- cheeses, tofu, chicken, hard boiled egg, etc
- Something crunchy- nuts, croutons, peppers, carrots, tortilla strips, etc
- Any other toppings you like- berries, beets, beans, sprouts, go crazy!
- Your dressing(s) of choice
- Large Tupperware containers for salad
- Smaller containers or baggies for toppings
- Dressing-size bottles/jars
The internet is full of inspiration if you’re not sure what to put on your salad– I like to get enough variety that I can make 2-3 different salad “types” throughout the week. This graphic from Prevention is a great starting point!
The first thing I do when I get home from the grocery store and start unpacking is separate the greens into lunch-sized portions. This step saves me SO much time in the morning because I can just grab one of the containers! I set aside half a shelf in my fridge for all of the salad green containers.
Next, I fill in the other half of the fridge shelf with the “fixins”. I’ll roast and/or chop veggies and put them into smaller containers. I also portion out cheese and croutons and put into a small baggie. I repurposed a Birchbox box as a crouton holder to keep the bags organized. Then, I fill up the dressing bottles/jars and stick them in the fridge door.
Now it is super easy to put together a fun salad! I just grab a container of greens, a bag of croutons, a dressing bottle, and containers of the other toppings I’m in the mood for. This method makes it so much easier for me to pack my lunch the night before when I’m really tired or even in the morning when I’m running late. I throw a piece of fruit and a can of seltzer in my lunch bag and I’m ready to go! Sometimes I will add a 100-calorie pack of pretzels or Goldfish as well. Not only does the separate packaging make packing quicker, it also helps me to make sure I have the right portion sizes for dressings and croutons, which can really add on the calories if you aren’t careful.
Do you have other lunch prep tips for busy days? If so, write a note in the comments!