3 Steps to Preparing your Home-made Work Lunches

We're 3 weeks in to January.

Did you make a new year's resolution to eat healthily?
Have you been keeping up to it, or are you already giving up on it because life's just too busy with work?

Well either way, here's some tips to help you keep your workday lunches a no-fuss.

3 Steps to a Home-made Work Lunches

(Image courtesy: pinterest)

1. Get your containers ready - now.

They can be stacked on your kitchen bench, or at the front of the cupboard you open everyday, or even stacked in the fridge. Just somewhere you won't miss.
If the containers are there waiting for you, then you're more likely to take that step forward to put something in there.
And I suggest you keep a few, so that you always have a clean one ready to go even when you've had that really busy day where you just can't be bothered to do your dishes.

2. Take your share of leftovers first.

When you cook a dinner, put some in the container (that's waiting for you right there) before serving.
For one, you've instantly prepared your lunch (hooray!)
And for another, it could help you from mindlessly going for seconds and thirds after your meal.

Stirfries and roasts for example are great because you can make a batch in one go. 
And also because you can chuck in a variety of ingredients and play around with flavour with different herbs, spices, and sauces. This'll help you out from flavour fatigue. If you can do a quick stirfry one night or a roast on sunday for example, put some in those containers and put them in the fridge (or freezer depending on how long you want to keep them for).
All you've got to do in the morning is take it out and put it in your bag for work!

3. Utilise the freezer and the pantry.

If you want tonight's leftover for lunch tomorrow, then keep them in the fridge.
But if you're the kind of person that doesn't want to eat the same thing on consecutive days, then keep the leftovers in the freezer. One-meal-worth of leftovers can be stacked in the freezer during the week and you can pick and choose whatever you like from the selection from the week following.

If pre-preparing the whole meal is difficult, then start with your staples - bread, rice, and/or pasta.
Do you buy a fresh loaf of sourdough for your weekend brekkie? Then slice whatever is left after brekkie, cling-wrap one or two together, and freeze them.
Are you cooking some rice/pasta tonight? Then cook some extra. Wrap them in cling-wrap (while still warm and not cold) in portions and put it in the freezer.
In fact these three staples, if frozen whilst still fresh, come out really well when you defrost/reheat in the microwave.  This is because you can maintain the water content if you freeze them whilst still fresh. This water content help them to self-steam whilst being reheated in the microwave, keeping breads fluffy and rice/pasta moist.

Also make use of canned products.
Think small tins of baked beans, chickpeas/lentils, blackbeans (yay burrito!), 4-bean mixes, soups (great chilled on a hot day), and tuna/salmon. You can grab them even when rushing out of the house.

So, how can your lunch look like if you do take these strategies on board?

Here's what I had for lunch the previous week:
(and I used all the above three strategies)
* I roasted a batch of veggies on Sunday. I put them in the oven when having dinner - did the chopping when cutting other ingredients for dinner - since roasting doesn't require much attention!

1. Roasted veg and almonds.
2. Pumpkin & lentil soup (leftover) and a rice ball (from frozen cooked rice - just microwave and shape it into a ball).
3. Roasted veg sandwich with rye sourdough. Used mustard and chilli for a change.
4. Roasted veg salad with leafy greens and balsamic dressing. Plus frozen fruits (peach & mango).
5. Pork & veg tofu stirfry (from night before) with black rice.

I definitely satisfied my craving for roasted veg that week!
I also saved $45-$60 on my lunch bill since I didn't have to get any of the $9-$12/meal lunch deals out there!

If you'd like some more ideas, I also quite like these 12 suggestions from Food52:

Happy eating x