You’re at work. Around 11 a.m., your stomach starts growling. By 11:45 a.m., you’re hangry. You’re counting down the minutes until lunchtime … and then you realize you’ve packed the same old sandwich you always eat. Sound familiar?
You deserve a lunch upgrade. Here are our eight top tips for making a better office lunch.
1. Love your leftovers
For fans of leftovers, this is a no-brainer. A scrumptious office lunch is simply a matter of packing up last night’s supper on your way out the door. If this is you, here’s a friendly reminder: Double up your dinner recipe tonight so you’ll have extra for lunch tomorrow.
But if eating the same dish the next day doesn’t excite you, get creative with your leftovers:
• Turn last night’s pesto pasta into an easy pasta salad. Just add a few fresh or sautéed veggies and a handful of salad greens and toss with a lemony vinaigrette.
• Mix leftover roasted chicken with Greek yogurt, onion, and celery for an easy chicken salad.
• Stuff a whole-grain wrap with yesterday’s curry and a handful of greens.
2. Snap up healthy prepared foods
Want an even easier way to score a healthy, delicious office lunch? Let someone else do the cooking and crafting for you. Shop our selection of Frozen Meals and Ready to Eat Foods for yummy midday meals that won’t stretch your budget. Also check out our Clean-Eating Starter Kit, which provides a complete lunch.
3. Bust out a bowl
If you peruse food blogs and Instagrams, you know all about the meal-in-a-bowl trend. Bowls can be super nutritious and no sweat to make. Use leftovers or prep the components ahead of time. Here’s the basic formula for a killer lunch bowl:
• Grain: Go with brown rice, quinoa, freekeh, or farro.
• Greens: Kale, arugula, spinach, lettuce—they all work! If you choose a more delicate green, pack it separately and add to your bowl right before eating.
• Protein: Roasted chicken, salmon, tuna, and turkey bacon are all awesome meat options. If you prefer a vegetarian lunch, cheese, eggs, legumes, tofu, or chopped veggie burgers provide plenty of protein to fill you up.
• Toppings: Toasted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, raw veggies, pita chips, avocado … the options are endless.
• Dressing: Keep it simple with olive oil and vinegar, shop our selection of dressings, or go all out and make your own. Just make sure you add the dressing to your bowl at the right time. If all the ingredients are hardy and you want to eat your bowl chilled, dress it up ahead of time. If you’re using more delicate ingredients that might get soggy, wait until lunchtime to add dressing.
4. Meet the mason jar salad
Soggy salads got you down? Not anymore! Grab a mason jar, put the dressing on the bottom, layer the ingredients, seal it up, and bring it to work. Just flip the jar over and shake it before eating. Get recipes and inspiration from our 8 Effortless Salads That Won’t Leave You Hungry blog—many of these salad would work great in a jar!
5. Plan and prep on weekends
Setting aside an hour of your Sunday to prep healthy lunches for the week will make packing them a breeze. Chop veggies, cook a grain, prepare some protein, and whip up a dressing or dip. Seriously, try it! You can thank us later— like on Thursday, when you’re eating your fourth different amazing lunch of the week.
6. Get hip on dip
Kids are really on to something: Dipping food is way more fun. So think outside the wrap and pack a hearty helping of hummus, salsa, or dip and a pile of chopped veggies. Pita triangles or chips are optional but highly recommended.
7. Pull out the cheese board
OK, maybe don’t bring the actual board to work. But for a truly envy-inducing lunch, pack up a gourmet cheese or two, charcuterie, olives, and a baguette. This mouthwatering lunch couldn’t be any easier—and it’ll make you feel like a boss.
8. Treat yourself
What are your favorite office lunches? Got more helpful tips for packing a better midday meal? Please share!