The Best Ways to Meal Prep Work Lunches

As a working professional, you most likely suffer from an increasingly common ailment: lunchtime dread. You want to have a healthy meal to look forward to at work, but you don’t want to spend your entire lunch break — and savings account — on eating out every day.

On the flip side, you don’t want to waste all your free time prepping extravagant meals.

Not to worry! There are oodles of time-saving tactics for making fresh, healthy, delicious meals. Here are four to get you started.

Chipotle Bowls

Chipotle bowls are one of the main attractions of many popular Mexican restaurants. In addition to being delicious, they’re also composed of healthy, natural ingredients. And fortunately for you, they’re insanely easy to make.

To start, find yourself a good, basic burrito bowl recipe. The night before you want to bring a bowl to lunch, all you need to do is cook your rice and meat and cut up your veggies.

To take your meal to the next level, start experimenting. Take that basic recipe and make your own variations! You can change up the meats, veggies, grains and sauces to accommodate your particular taste or mood. That’s the beauty of chipotle bowls — they’re as versatile as they are easy to prep.

Crockpot Creations

As Pinterest puts out hundreds of new, innovative cooking ideas, you may have forgotten all about your trusty crockpot. But as a working professional, you just can’t argue with the ease of throwing some ingredients into a slow cooker and letting it do all the work.

So, bust out that culinary lifesaver and explore the wonderful world of healthy crockpot recipes. As you make your selections, don’t forget to look at the cook time.

For some recipes, you may let it slow-cook over night and scoop out a nice portion for a packed lunch. For others, you may want to start the cook in the morning and come home for lunch that day. In either case, you’re generally only doing about 10 minutes’ worth of work.

Wraps

For decades, the sandwich has been the hero of the working class. It’s inexpensive, filling, easy to make and generally jam-packed with protein and veggies.

But the sandwich has become boring, especially if you’re making the same one all the time. A very simple solution? Turning that sandwich into a wrap.

“Wraps and sandwiches are practically the same thing,” you might argue. True, they share the same basic components, and they’re both extremely easy to prep, but that thin tortilla can make all the difference when you’re tired of filling up on the same old sandwich bread.

For instance, what if you used different styles of tortilla for your wraps? Nowadays, you’ll have no trouble finding spinach, tomato, whole grain and other great options. Combine that with the endless healthy wrap recipes out there, and you’ll never be bored by this workplace lunch!

Salads

Just like the wrap, the salad is an excellent alternative to that tired old sandwich you’ve been relying on when you’re out of lunch ideas. You know how to make a salad, of course, but you may have fallen into the same trap you did with the sandwich — that is, making the same one over and over.

So be bold! Try out some less common salad recipes, and keep a few favorites stowed away for a rainy day.

And when it comes time to prep this meal for your work lunch, be wise with your dressing — keep it and any possibly soggy ingredients in separate containers. Once you whip out your Tupperware at work, you can rinse your still-crisp lettuce and toss it all together. It’s that simple.

A La Carte

As you grocery shop, don’t forget to grab some fresh fruits and veggies — your best friends in the fight against unhealthy habits and painstaking meal prep. In essence, you’re making your own all-natural grab-n-go a la carte.

Here’s why:

On those mornings where you’re running behind or just plain feeling lazy, a healthy snack a la carte selection saves you from resorting to the office vending machine.

And even on those less hectic mornings, when you’re packing up a beautiful chipotle bowl or turkey bacon wrap, it’s always a relief when you can simply toss a banana into your lunchbox and realize you’ve covered all your major food groups.

To make the most out of your a la carte — and to surprise your taste buds now and then — use a good seasonal produce guide to switch things up.

Prep Smart, Prep Healthy

You have the motivation to eat healthy meals, despite your busy schedule. Use these meal prep ideas — along with the hundreds of others you’ll find when you start Googling — to remind yourself that it’s not as time-consuming as you dread it has to be.

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