Quinoa Salad

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Time-Saving Tips for Make-Ahead Lunches You Actually Want to Eat

Your weekday desk lunch doesn’t have to be beige and boring

There’s no reason to have another depressing, drab desk lunch ever again. No more overpriced, bland salads or pricey, soggy sandwiches; Instead, you’re going to be making your own lunch to take to work every day of the week, and we promise it won’t take up too much of your time.

We know you’ve been told to make your own work lunches before, but the recipes you read always seem far too complex and time-consuming to ever actually make this a viable way of life. However, that no longer has to be the case: For the tastiest, healthiest weekday lunches, all you need is an hour (at most two) on a Sunday afternoon or weekday evening, to prepare everything for an ever-changing timetable of recipes that can be thrown together at the last minute, throughout the week.

Set Aside One Hour

Although making lunch ahead of time doesn’t take up a whole day as you may imagine, it’s not going to make itself. Set aside just one hour on a Sunday afternoon or weekday evening to cook and prep all your lunches for the week.

Cook Grains

Get out all the saucepans you have, open the packets of grains that are sitting patiently in your cupboard, turn on the stove, add the required amount of water, and get cooking. Always try to make at least two different types of grains for one week to stop your lunches from getting monotonous. Some of our favorite lunch bases to make ahead of time are brown rice, quinoa, Israeli couscous, pearl barley, and orzo.

Roast Vegetables and Meats

You don’t want to have to decide exactly what meals you want to eat every day of the week on Sunday night. Instead of focusing on specific ingredients, fill one baking sheet with a range of chopped seasonal vegetables, and another one with some meat or fish, and roast them in the oven for as long as needed. Then, during the week, you can just select your grain, pick out what vegetables and meat you want on top, and start compiling your tasty lunch.

Shake Up Salad Dressings

You don’t want to pour Caesar dressing on every nutritious bowl of grains and vegetables that you eat this week, so make sure you mix up a couple of different vinaigrettes. They don’t need to be complicated, but take two minutes to shake them up in an old jar, and skip the unhealthy store-bought options.

Fill Your Fridge

The final flourish to really jazz up your mix and match make-ahead lunches is all the tasty toppings. Pre-washed leaves, roasted nuts and seeds, crumbled cheese, creamy hummus, and dried fruits will all last for a long time in your pantry or refrigerator, and will add that extra bit of taste and excitement that you crave in your daily desk lunch.

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