I am a huge proponent of packing snacks and lunches during the work week. It is so important to have plenty of high-quality food to sustain us through the work day since our brains use up so much energy and it is nearly impossible to concentrate and perform well when you’re hungry. I have developed all sorts of strategies over the past few years, but this one is definitely my favorite.
Since I like to spend my week nights socializing, working out, exploring the cities and studying, there is no time to be fussing around in the kitchen. I spend a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons getting lunches ready for the week and I want to share what my assembly line looks like.
A few preliminary points:
1.) If you don’t have a collection of dried spices, GET SOME. Using spices is the easiest way to quickly add flavor to vegetables or protein with little effort. My favorites are: Rosemary, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, curry powder, ground ginger, cumin and chipotle powder.
2.) Save and reuse your plastic containers! They are perfect for packing lunches. I have never had to buy tupperware or anything of that sort because I save all of the containers that come with takeout, leftovers, etc. etc. It is environmentally friendly and ridiculously cost effective!
3.) Get a good knife. The knife that I use every single day cost $120, but it is SO worth it. You have no clue how effortless chopping and slicing can be until you invest in a high quality knife. My favorite brand is Mac and I use the Mighty Mac knife the most often.
So on a Sunday afternoon when I am preparing my lunches for the week, I cook up a few servings of well-seasoned protein, sautee a variety of vegetables, chop up some to eat raw, and then use a bunch of dried toppings to add interesting flavors to each salad.
I like to have a variety of colors, textures and shapes in each salad. Below is a list of some of my current favorites to give you some ideas!
Protein: Chicken breast, ground chicken, sliced turkey, eggs, tofu, goat cheese, bleu cheese
Greens: Spinach, romaine, bibb lettuce, red leaf lettuce, escarole
Fruits: Sliced strawberries, blueberries, green apples, pears
Vegetables to sautee: Yellow onions, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, butternut squash
Vegetables to keep raw: Tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, red onions, cauliflower, bell peppers, shredded carrots
Toppings to add flavor: Toasted nuts, dried cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, sesame sticks
Here are some pictures to show you what I mean…
You can cook up some chicken with lots of herbs or bake little triangles of tofu.
Fresh spinach, multi-colored greens or a mixture of all different kinds for the salad base.
Sauteed zucchini is an absolute must in my kitchen.
So are caramelized onions.
And fresh tomatoes.
Spiced portabellas provide substance and flavor on top of a salad.
You could do a southwestern-themed salad with lots of pepper, onions and corn.
Maybe sautee some carrots with shallots and olive oil? That’s different.
Toasted nuts make everything better.
Hopefully this gives you a few ideas for what you can pack for lunches during the week. You can check out some of my favorite salad recipes to date by checking out the posts below. Happy lunching!!!