Making lunches for work is, in my humble opinion, the absolute WORST.
It’s so hard to come up with lunch ideas that are portable, easy to eat, fill you up, won’t stink up the office, don’t require the microwave (personal preference- I hate having to microwave things because there’s always a line!), and are exciting to eat (because nothing’s worse than NOT looking forward to your lunch)
(Wow… didn’t realize I was so high maintenance about lunches until I just listed all that out.)
I used to just do leftovers from dinner for lunch, which was kinda easy, but also got stressful because I always had to cook dinners that produced enough leftovers for lunch the next day. If we were going out to eat or just making a smaller dinner, then I’d have to ALSO come up with something separate to make for lunch the next day. I did not like this.
So a few months ago, I decided to start planning specific lunches for the week. I knew I really liked having salad for lunch, so I decided on those. And to take it one step further, I came up with a way to pre-make the whole week's worth of salads at once!
My current fav salad toppings:
- Frozen chicken tenders (this is the BEST part of the salad. so good!! Try it!)
- Hard boiled egg
- Some type of beans- we’ve tried great northern beans, black beans, and kidney so far
- Green pepper
- Shredded Carrots (I use the food processor grating attachment to do this super easy)
- Frozen corn
- Frozen peas
- Cherry tomatoes
- Dressing- my favorite is poppyseed! SO GOOD
- Bake chicken and hard boil the eggs.
- Grab enough containers for the whole week of salads.
Chop up/prep the toppings so they’re all ready to go. Slice the egg, rinse the beans, slice the pepper, cucumber, carrots, etc.
Portion out toppings into each container. I have a cookie dough scoop that’s ~2T and I use that for things like the beans, corn, peas, and green pepper because I’m OCD and like to make sure the same amount of toppings are in each salad.
You're basically done! Store the containers in the fridge until the night before or morning of, and that’s when you actually make the salad*. Grab your lettuce and throw that in the bottom of the bowl, pour the toppings on top, pack a separate container of dressing (this is important- don't put the dressing on in advance because it’ll get too soggy) and you’re ready to go!
*I don’t put the lettuce in the salad until the night before or morning of just because I don’t want any of the toppings to make the lettuce soggy!
Not a fan of salads? Here are some other lunch ideas I like:
- Sandwiches (turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, balsamic dressing)- but these are tough because then I have to come up with sides like chips or a sliced apple.
- One-pot chili pasta (this stuff is soooo good, but it requires the microwave) We also add green peppers and roasted red peppers to it. YUM.