Foodie Friday: Lunch Prep

In my personal experience, one area that can really mess up a diet plan is lunch. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem. I might be doing great eating enough fruits and veggies and staying within a reasonable caloric intake for breakfast and dinner, but then there’s lunch…. It’s so easy to just grab a hamburger at a fast food joint but chances are the burger-and-fries meal I would get has enough calories for my entire day, not to mention the salt and fat content.

Even with the best of intentions for bringing my lunch to work, I have found that it is difficult. Without some sort of  planning it is downright impossible. I have fallen on the “just bring leftovers for lunch” plan in the past but am currently discovering that as my kids grow, and I get better at planning and doing a leftover night, there aren’t always enough leftovers for me to bring that for lunch. I need to actually plan for my lunches. And not just plan, but PREP.

There are all sorts of ideas for meal prep on Pinterest (you know how I love Pinterest!) and this week I tried one of them, but adjusted it for me. I have always been curious about the mason jar salads. Turns out you need quart sized jars and all I have at home are pint sized, so I did things a little differently. First, I grilled 4 chicken breasts. When they were cooled, I sliced them and put half a chicken breast in snack size zipper top bags. This gave me chicken for 8 salads with approximately 3-4 oz of chicken in each one. Then I did up baggies for my toppings. I put fresh mozzarella, black olives, and tomatoes in bags together. Croutons went in bags alone, and then  my greens and bell peppers went in bags together. I happened to have condiment sized cups with lids and measured out my dressing into those. Now all I have to do each day before work is grab a bowl and all my little baggies and I’m good to go! My salad was greens, colored bell pepper, grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella balls, black olives, grape tomato, croutons, and Italian dressing.

Next week I am going to choose a different type of salad. I found a recipe with chicken, roasted beets, apples, and goat cheese. Sounds sooo good! I have also purchased some individual frozen meals for days that I just can’t eat another salad. I also found a really good blog called Damn Delicious where a woman shares recipes and… wait for it… LUNCH PREP IDEAS! I’m really excited about the ones I have found there. Not just for me, but for my daughter’s school lunches as well. Hopefully I will be successful in doing this, trying new salads/boxes each week until it is cold out and then switching to hearty soups!

What ideas have worked well for you? What do you like to eat for lunches? Do I have any other lunchbox buddies out there?


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