So we all know packing lunch is generally cheaper than buying lunch. You’ll also save time searching for a convenient healthy place on your limited 45-60 minute break. Additionally, you’ll avoid diet-derailers (high sodium soup/sauces/dressing, etc) chefs sneak into assumedly healthy dishes. You are the chef!
Thank Henry Ford, father of mass production, not me, for our assembly line approach to prepping savory salads and snacks for the week.
Keys to making it last the week:
• Buy products with sell by date as far in the future as possible
• Prep your lunches the day you buy the ingredients
• Separate dry ingredients from more moist ones, since moisture exacerbates vegetable decay.
• Pack a few snacks in addition to the salad for lunch. 8 hours or more is a long day and grazing is the way to keep body and mind fueled on the clock.
To prepare your lunch and snacks:
1. Find 5 large and 5 or more small PBA-free containers each with its own lid. Grab some little plastic ramekins and lids from salad bar at Whole Foods or salsa bar at Baja Fresh, etc. are perfect for hummus, dressing, salsa and sauces. Get a cool pack to transport your goodies to an office fridge or keep it cool all day if you spend more time in your car than in an office.
2. Fill the 5 large containers with my traditional base of dry raw spinach and broccoli slaw, sliced peppers, zucchini or additional drier veggies, nuts, etc.
3. Place a folded paper towel at the top before securing the lid. The towel will absorb moisture and preserve the freshness.
4. Place your moist ingredients in the small containers: chicken, tuna, hummus, salsa, salad dressing, baked sweet potato cubes, washed and drained beans, a little brown rice, leftovers from a protein dish you enjoyed the night before, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
5. Separate into additional small containers anything you don’t want to comingle before you dine like salad dressing or fresh avocado.
6. If packing avocado cut in halves no more than a day before consumption. Do not separate skin or pit until you are ready to eat. (The increased exposed surface area speeds the process of oxidation/decay). Place a ¼ – ½ slice in a separate container or zipper bag and press air out before sealing. Note: You can use plastic bags and still avoid BPA contamination by keeping it away from sunlight and heat.
7. When you’re ready to eat, place the wet ingredients on top of the dry ones. Remove avocado skin and pit and scrape away any portion that has oxidized and thus turned brown. Dice fresh avocado onto your salad.
8. For snacks, prepare packs of chopped veggies and hummus. Use plastic ramekins and lids for hummus, dressing or dip and/or a little almond butter. Remember 2 tablespoons is more than enough. Also pack a few pieces of portable fruit, such as apples, tangerines or grapefruit every day and some unsalted nuts.
Alternatively, if you have the luxury of packing your lunch each day, grab the most perfect lunch box ever. I LOVE MINE!
- Non-toxic gel filled freezer tray keeps food cold & fresh
- Collapsible bowl compresses for easy storage
- Dressing container with leak proof cap nests neatly into freezer tray
- Lid with snap tight tabs
Cutlery Note: Whenever I’m on a sushi quest, I grab extra disposable wooden chopsticks. They are great for to-go lunches being individually paper wrapped and better for the environment since both the sticks and wrapper are more biodegradable than plastic. Plus, chopsticks typically slow down the average American piggy, forcing us to chew and savor our lunch. This increases sense of satiation (fullness) and later reduces chance of indigestion and gas. If you’re not terribly dexterous with the wooden sticks, use what’s available at the office or pack your own silver or plastic cutlery.
Cheers to your happy, healthy dining!
Similarly, you may find the following blog helpful. Read on to learn how simple meal prep on your day off can help you save a ton of time all week, as well as keep you on track when dieting.