If we’re being honest, we buy lunch during the week way more than we probably should – but on a crazy 9-to-5 day, the last thing we want to think about is trying to prepare both breakfast and lunch before heading out the door in the A.M. However, while trying to pack lunch every day can seem stressful, there are actually tons of easy hacks for making it super simple. Still not on board? These tips and tricks just might change your mind. (And will save you tons of $$$!)
1. Plan ahead
On Sunday night, take an hour or so to prepare enough servings of a meal to get you through the week. If you love hitting up Sweetgreen, try making a giant salad ahead of time and divide it up into as many portions as you’ll need to get you through the week. That way, when you’re heading out the door in the morning you can grab and go instead of preparing a lunch every single morning.
2. Invest in good containers
Half the battle when it comes to packing lunch is the containers you’re using. Invest in two or three solid containers that are easy to transport and won’t spill all over the inside of your purse so you’ll have peace of mind when packing lunch.
3. Change it up
If you’re worried about getting bored of eating the same thing every day, prepare foods that will allow you to quickly adjust and customize them in the A.M. For example, if you grill tons of chicken ahead of time, but change up the marinade or dressing you use on it each day, you’re less likely to get tired of the same old, same old.
4. Put your freezer to use
Foods like soup or chili can be frozen and thawed later when you pack them – that way you won’t have to worry about a batch going bad if you need to meal prep ahead of time.
5. Use a mason jar for salads
For salads, skip packing dressing in a separate container (and subsequently spilling it everywhere). If you use a mason jar to pack salads and put the dressing on the bottom with the greens on top, you’ll avoid both spillage and sogginess.
6. Keep ingredients at work (if you can)
If your workplace has a big enough fridge and kitchen, consider keeping basic groceries at work so there’s no need to cart your lunch to and from the office every day. Meals like avocado toast can seem fancy and hard to pack – until you realize that all you need to do is keep a loaf of bread and some avocados at work and prepare them as needed.
7. Treat yourself
Obviously, there’s going to be days when you feel like you’ll scream if you subject yourself to another packed lunch or meal of leftovers. Pick one day a week to allow yourself to get takeout – you’ll get less bored of your at-home options and you’ll still be saving money in the long run.
[Photo: Nutritionist in the Kitch]