A pre-made, ready-to-go lunch is a lifesaver on busy office days. But not every meal is equal in prepping, packing, and reheating. Here are a few office lunch recipe ideas, full of storable, hearty, and flavorful ingredients, easy to come together, easy to pack, and more enjoyable to eat.
Full of hearty and healthy ingredients, this salad holds up its flavor well while stored in the refrigerator. Layer the ingredients side by side in a meal-prep container or stack everything in a jar. Drizzle the lemon juice or add the diced avocado the day you’ll eat it to prevent the salad from browning. You can also swap the avocado with chunky guacamole to add an extra oomph to your salad. Also, carry the dressing separately and dress the salad only when you’re ready to eat your lunch at the office.
Rotini with Kale and Walnut Pesto
This simple pasta salad recipe is another versatile one, bursting with the rich flavor of kale and basil pesto. You can eat it just as it is or choose from a range of add-ins. White beans, chickpeas, grilled cauliflower steaks, chunks of albacore tuna, and grilled chicken are just a few selections to get you started. Carry the roughly chopped walnuts separately and sprinkle them as toppings right before you eat, to enjoy the fresh crunch instead of soggy bites. Also, you can heat it while having lunch or simply enjoy it as a cold dish.
Homemade Cup Noodles
This make-ahead portable lunch is immensely versatile and purely magical! Layer cooked noodles or cold glass noodles and your favorite greens and proteins in a jar. When you’re ready to eat, pour in hot water and instantly transform the meal into a flavorful noodle-in-a-jar. There is a range of ways you can customize this recipe. You can take any route you wish, like all-veg, protein-packed, gluten-free, or vegan. So, bring new ideas on board and keep your regular office lunch constantly evolving and exciting.
Freezer Chicken Burritos
Burritos are another incredibly versatile packed lunch with the advantage of safely stocking the tortillas in your freezer for three to six months. This makes this flavorful, nutritious meal an easy grab-and-go option, especially when you don’t have the time to prepare your office meal the day before. Just reheat it correctly before lunch, and you’re ready to go. Keep the filling mix exciting with lots of protein like chicken and beans, a fresh crunch of veggies like onions and peppers, and some flavorful starch like cilantro rice to soak up any extra liquid.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Bringing lettuce wraps to the office for lunch requires careful storage. Make the filling before and store it in a microwave-safe container. This way, you can heat it up before lunch or enjoy it cold if you’re feeling lazy! But you’ll have the option, nevertheless! The lettuce leaves need to be stored more carefully. Rinse and dry the leaves and then wrap them in double layers with paper towels and plastic wraps before putting them in the freezer. Assemble your meal when you’re ready to eat.
How many times has something like this happened to you before? When you get home late and open the fridge, you’re confronted with empty shelves. Your stomach grumbles loudly to let you know it’s becoming irritated. What’s the next step for you? Turn around and go to your well-stocked cans of food.
Food Cans to the Rescue!
Consider the cans of food in your pantry to be a lifeboat on a sinking ship: load it up now, and you’ll never be caught off guard by high-calorie, pricey takeout—or worse, nothing at all—when you’re short on time or have no leftovers.
Aside from being one of the greatest high-fiber foods, black beans are a pantry staple that can be used in a variety of ways. You can reheat a can of black beans to serve with rice, prepare black bean soup by combining a can with vegetable stock and spices, or sauté onions, peppers, zucchini, and frozen corn before mixing it all together with enchilada sauce. With the addition of shredded cheddar cheese, you’ve created a low-carb enchilada skillet!
The possibilities are limitless! And it is most emphatically not restricted to spaghetti sauce. Diced tomatoes come in helpful for assembling a pizza sauce for your cauliflower pizza, as well as when extending an enchilada sauce or that last bit of pasta sauce. When you’re out of practically everything in your cupboard, the go-to meal is a simple tomato soup. In a small amount of olive oil, sauté some diced onions. Once softened, add a can of diced tomatoes and then cans of water or chicken stock to the empty can. Simmer for 15 minutes, add a splash of cream, and season with salt and pepper, and you’ve got a delicious tomato soup that pairs perfectly with grilled cheese.
Solid White Light Tuna
For a good reason, tuna cans are among the 30 foods that reveal your abs for under $1. Not only is tuna strong in beneficial omega-3 fats that can help increase cognitive function and reduce inflammation, but it’s also high in muscle-building protein, making it the ideal post-workout snack. Keep jars of capers, kalamata olives, pickles, and relish on hand to make a zesty tuna salad to nibble on with lettuce cups or whole wheat crackers.