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Make Ahead Lunches for Your Work Week
- Make Ahead Lunches for Your Work Week, Part 2
This sequel to the Hub, Make Ahead Lunches for Your Work Week offers new ideas for tasty, simple lunches every day of the week. These ideas are healthier and less expensive than fast food. Enjoy!
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!
Cold Curried Chicken Salad
- Refreshing Summer Salad: Cold Curried Chicken
The mild hint of curry and zesty tang of Miracle Whip and mustard in this chicken salad gives it just the right punch and the crisp red grapes and plump raisins add the perfect sweetness. This is a must-have summer fare!
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.
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
Large flour tortilla
Fat free yogurt
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.
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
Spinach or romaine lettuce
Fat free chipotle dressing
Large spinach tortilla
Ranch flavored rice cakes
1 c sliced fruit: strawberries, pineapple and blueberries
Water w/ cucumber slices
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.
Peanut butter (generously spread onto center of tortilla)
1 large banana, sliced
Large whole wheat tortilla
Fat free pudding
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.
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.
Ranch flavored rice cakes
2 Snackwell Cookies
- Perfect Alternatives to the Traditional BLT
Looking for a fresh twist on an old favorite? Check out these great ideas for jazzing up your BLT. You won't regret it!
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!
1 hard boiled egg
Fat free croutons
Broccoli and cauliflower florets
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Diced ham and/ or turkey
Fat free dressing
Fat free yogurt
Water or Crystal Light
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