As a busy employee, one of the most difficult things to do is to pre-plan your meals every day in advance. However, it’s also one of the most important things to do, as employee productivity relies on the ability to focus on detailed information for long periods of time.
Food is what provides us with the energy to work.
Learning to pack a lunch that is filling and doesn’t break your wallet is therefore a necessary skill everyone needs in order to master the art of adulting.
We’ve compiled a list of our top 8 healthy recipes for work that are easy to incorporate into your meal plan.
Keep in mind that there are several factors that influenced our decision beyond taste, including:
- Ease of preparation
- Cost effectiveness
- Must be exciting
Because let’s face it, we don’t have all day.
There are some recipes that taste and look great, yet the ingredients needed for them are very costly; as is the time spent preparing them.
So we aim to provide you with meal prep options that will save you money and time.
The meals that we have included in this article can be made relatively quickly. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make anything from scratch if you don’t want to. For example, while homemade pesto is amazing, you can also buy a version of it at your local grocery store to save time.
In order to really get a sense of fullness, the food we’re eating must excite us. There’s no other way around it. When we think about our lunch, it’s hopefully not, “Uggh...Another bologni sandwich”, but more, “I can’t wait to sink my teeth into that soba salad”.
We’ve selected meals that include mind-numbingly delicious flavors that you’ll be tempted to eat before you’ve arrived at your desk.
Got anymore suggestions? Feel free to share in the comments below.
1. Mix and Match
It’s no wonder why. They make it easy to compartmentalize your entire day in food. Some of the best mix and match snack options you can use for lunch or throughout the day to stave off hunger include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables,
- Dried fruits (Such as figs, dates, apricots, etc)
- Dried vegetables (wasabi peas, etc),
- Snackable portion meat slices (Such as prosciutto)
- And other miscellaneous snacks (Such as sesame sticks) are easy snacks to reach for throughout the day.
In addition to snacks, bento boxes are also ideal for portion-controlled full meals, as well. They are best used with food themes - such as Tex Mex, Mediterranean, Chicken Salad, etc.
You can choose whether all of the ingredients will be a part of a single meal, or standalone.
2. Pesto Sandwich
If possible, it’s important to have a main dish in your meal prep for work, as well (not just snacks).
Ideally, this meal should be something you prepare on the weekend and then simply pack every night or morning before work.
For example, you might make this pesto sandwich and place one in your lunch box every night for ease of access.
Sandwiches such as these provide more flavor than the old ham, cheese and mayo sandwiches that we’ve all outgrown at some point or another.
Your palette craves something a bit more rich to get you through the day. So try changing it up with artisan French or Italian bread and cheese, and sauces like a store-bought or homemade pesto.
3. Chickpea Sandwich
Chickpea sandwiches are another dish that is a nice addition to your lunch time.
There are both semi-sweet and savory versions that add unexpected combination of flavors, such as dill, honey or even strawberry.
4. Dinner Leftovers
Tip: You can also rework elements of a previous dinner into a new meal with minimal effort.
5. Chicken Avocado Wraps
Outside of leftovers, there’s nothing easier than a wrap.
You simply get the ingredients together, slap them on and go…
Because they can literally be made in under a minute, Avocado wraps are one of the most delicious and simple wraps to make.
Whether you opt for a vegan, vegetarian or meat-based version, you simply lay out a tortilla wrap, add your favorite sauce (mayonnaise works well), mash on the avocado, add a vegetable or meat and cheese (ex. turkey and provolone), and enjoy.
6. Fresh mint, goat cheese and red pepper wraps
This wrap can be prepared in less than ten minutes, and includes only 5 ingredients; one package of goat cheese, a half cup of chopped red peppers, 4 spinach tortillas, a quarter teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of fresh mint (chopped).
7. Salad Ideas
As with anything, the key to a good salad is the taste.
That taste usually comes from the different sorts of ingredients incorporated; especially the salad dressing.
But unfortunately, these elements are usually where people fall short. So while a lot of people have an aversion to salads because they’re “bland” or “lack flavor”, that is something that can usually be addressed with the right attention to detail.
8. Chicken avocado salad
A twist on an old classic, this avocado chicken salad provides the sustenance needed to feel full through the rest of your busy day.
In addition to avocado and chicken breasts, it also includes corn and onions. That’s not to say you can’t add in cherry tomatoes or peas!
The great thing about these sorts of salad recipes, is that they’re easy to repurpose, as well. You can add or remove as many ingredients as you wish.
As variety is the spice of life, it’s also a very important concept to get used to when you’re meal planning for work. After a few days most people grow tired of having the same food. If we’re not having the foods we crave, we won’t feel full. And fullness, as in not feeling hunger leads to higher rates of productivity in the workplace.
Another good thing to remember is to always pre-plan. This helps to curb unnecessary spending on takeout spots or Grubhub.
Consider bringing 2 containers to work - One with at least 1 full meal and another with snacks to tide you over until the end of the day.
Eating healthy and filling dishes helps you remain at your most mentally fit and productive. It also helps to fend off overeating by planning for our cravings, instead of indulging in them.
Need some more easy meal prep ideas for work ideas? Check out these other articles: