Sandwiches are the lazy man's lunch staple, but they're not exactly nutritious (especially not when you throw a measley slice of American cheese on salami and top it off with white bread). What's more, they don't really fill you up, so it's not uncommon for you to pick your fast food poison and go to town. So tell us: Why do you even bother going to the gym again?
You may loathe the idea of meal prepping, but packing a lunch for work doesn’t have to be time-consuming—and it doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing every day. In fact, with less than an hour’s worth of prep this Sunday afternoon (pro tip: do it while you’re watching football), you’ll have everything you need to make five satisfying meals in seconds each morning. Just follow our three-step plan.
Step 1: Grocery Run
Here’s what you’ll need—it seems like a lot, but don’t forget, a box of rice or bag of frozen veggies will last weeks.
- 1 cup dry rice brown rice
- 1 cup dry whole-wheat penne pasta
- 2 whole-wheat tortillas
- 1 15-oz. can of beans (black, cannelini, or garbanzo)
- 2 oz. almonds (or 1/2 cup)
- Olive oil
- Wine or cider vinegar
- 8 oz. chicken breast
- 8 oz. lean beef, such as sirloin
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 7-oz. container 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 bag pre-washed spinach
- 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 large avocado
- 1 small apple
Step 2: Sunday Prep
1. Whisk together 2 tbsp dijon, 2 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp vinegar. Add some salt and pepper. Use this mixture to coat both your chicken and your steak, in two separate bowls.
2. Throw both of your meats on the grill until chicken is fully cooked and steak is at desired doneness. If you don’t have a grill, bake the chicken in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 30-45 minutes and sear the steak in a skillet, over medium-high heat, until cooked
3. After both meats have cooled, chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and slice the steak. Set them aside.
4. Cook rice and pasta on the stovetop. While they cook, drain and rinse your beans and prepare your chicken salad by mixing 2 tbsp yogurt, 1 tbsp mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Chop the apple into bite sized pieces. Combine half of your chicken, the apple, and half of your almonds in the yogurt mixture.
5. Cover chicken salad, along with your rice, pasta and beans, and store everything in the refrigerator. Take the remaining yogurt and mix 2 tsp each olive oil and vinegar right into the container. Add some salt and pepper and store in fridge for later in the week.
6. Lastly, defrost your frozen veggies. Measure about 3 cups into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and cook on high 5 minutes. Place defrosted veggies alongside the other ingredients in the fridge.
Step 3: Lunch Assembly
Give yourself an extra couple of minutes each morning to toss toss together these healthy lunch ideas—and their super-simple instructions.