Make Ahead Lunches for Your Work Week

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Planning Your Work Week Menu

How often do you find yourself staring blankly into your refrigerator thinking, "there's nothing in here that I can use to make a quick and easy lunch?" If you're like me, this is somewhat of a daily ritual. You tend to close the refrigerator door and head off to work planning to grab lunch on the go. But this is costly and probably far less healthy than it should be.

Planning your work week lunches in advance is just as important as planning ahead for your family's dinner. If done properly, you can make lunches in advance and grab them out of the fridge as you're heading out the door, without skimping on nutrition and flavor.

Be sure to limit the amount of prepackaged foods that you consume. Most will contain high levels of fat, calories and sodium. The portions are often too small for the price, making them not only unhealthy, but a poor value as well.

If you do purchase prepackaged foods such as yogurt or chips, opt for the large containers from which you can draw your daily servings. This is far more economical than purchasing individually wrapped items. If you purchase large containers of yogurt you can dress them up by adding your own fruit or granola. If you add granola, be sure to package it separately and add just before eating or it will become soggy. Chips and sliced fruits and veggies can be portioned into baggies or small Tupperware immediately. Be sure you have enough for each day so you can simply grab and go.

The following is a week's work of ideas for lunches on the go. Enjoy!

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Day One: Egg Salad


This recipe can be easily doubled if you want extra for another day or for your children's lunches. You can make this in advance and store in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If you don't have time in the morning to make the wrap, consider dipping tortilla strips or rice cakes into the egg salad. You can pack these ahead and grab them to go in the morning.

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

1/4 cup light mayo

1/2 tsp yellow mustard

1/8 cup chopped green onions

1/8 cup diced celery

Salt and pepper to taste

Dill weed to taste

Lettuce

Large flour tortilla

SIDES

Pretzel sticks

Crystal light

Fat free yogurt

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Day Two: Veggie Wrap

Sliced veggies can easily be stored for several days, so consider slicing more than you need and you will be able to save time the next time you want to make this delicious wrap. If you do your shopping on the weekend, consider slicing all the veggies and fruits right away and storing in the fridge for 4-5 days. The following is my recipe, but of course, you can use any of your favorite veggies and it will still taste amazing!

If you've never had cucumber slices in water, they are delicious! They add a fresh, clean flavor to the water that is subtle yet appealing.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 green, 1/4 red and 1/4 yellow bell peppers

3 button mushrooms, sliced

3-4 medium thick slices of cucumber, cut into strips

Diced Roma tomato

Sliced Avocado

Alfalfa sprouts

Cilantro

Spinach or romaine lettuce

Fat free chipotle dressing

Large spinach tortilla

SIDES

Ranch flavored rice cakes

1 c sliced fruit: strawberries, pineapple and blueberries

Water w/ cucumber slices

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Day Three: Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap

This is an athlete's lunch! Packed with protein and potassium, it is a sweet, stick to your ribs meal that will take you back to childhood! Peanut butter is a staple in most kitchens so this is an easy meal to fix if you look into the fridge and can't find anything else to make. If you purchase pudding in larger containers (or make your own), consider portioning it into smaller Tupperware containers all at once so you can just grab and go. Be sure to date the containers to assure maximum freshness.

INGREDIENTS

Peanut butter (generously spread onto center of tortilla)

1 large banana, sliced

Large whole wheat tortilla

SIDES

Pretzel sticks

Fat free pudding

Chocolate milk

Day Four: Turkey Club Wrap (indulgence Day)

You can make this one the night before and store in the fridge until you're ready to go.

INGREDIENTS

Thinly sliced deli turkey

Fat free mayo

Lettuce and tomato

1 slice Cheddar cheese

3 slices precooked bacon, microwaved til crisp. Blot off all grease.

Ciabatta roll

SIDES

Ranch flavored rice cakes

2 Snackwell Cookies

Diet Soda

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Day Five: Salad

You can boil and slice your eggs the night before. While boiling your eggs, slice your veggies and put the salad together. Keep the croutons packed separately or they will get soggy. Don't forget the dressing!

INGREDIENTS

Mixed greens

Cucumbers

1 hard boiled egg

Fat free croutons

Broccoli and cauliflower florets

Baby carrots

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Diced ham and/ or turkey

Fat free dressing

SIDES

Fat free yogurt

Water or Crystal Light

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© 2014 Jaynie2000

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