Terra’s Fresh Food Blog | Terra’s Kitchen

Tips For Healthy Make-Ahead Lunches

Written by Terra's Kitchen | Fri, Oct 7, '16

Cooking can be a serious balancing act. You need to have enough of everything, but you also don't want to throw any food away. This is an even bigger issue if you are only cooking for one. What are you supposed to do with the extra serving that most recipes are designed to make? Even using a meal kit, you still need to eat lunch, right? No need for a special trip to the grocery store, or a stressful food-truck line waiting situation every lunch-hour. Make your meals do double duty to eliminate waste and prep your lunch without extra effort.

Using our two-serving supper recipes strategically can help you get ahead for the next day if you plan it right. Many of our meals can become easy make-ahead lunches. So, while you are cooking tonight’s dinner, you can also be preparing lunch for tomorrow at the same time. Here are a few things to look for when deciding which meals make the best lunches and our favorite meals to try next week.

  • Look for foods that reheat well. Not every meal can survive the journey from the fridge to the office microwave back to your plate, still tasting as delicious as when you first made it for dinner. Other meals somehow get even better when you heat them up. When thinking about the reheating process, look for a good sauce that won't separate to keep the flavor in whatever you are eating. Good choices in this category are our Spicy Honey Lime Chicken with Edamame Rice or our Turkey Spinach Meatballs in Skinny Sunday Gravy, which seem made for a Monday lunch.
  • Try meals that are good when cold. Sometimes it is even better to keep things simple, and if you can make ahead a lunch that tastes great cold, that can save you some time. Salads like our Thai Grilled Chicken Salad are an obvious choice in this category -- jjust make sure to leave dressing on the side for the portion you are planning to take for lunch. A favorite meal for lunch prep is the Greek Pasta Salad. The cooled orzo combined with a little arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta creates a meal that is light enough for lunch, but hearty enough to hold up overnight in your refrigerator.
  • Make sure you avoid certain ingredients. Not all ingredients were created equal in the reheating game. Some food items once prepared and plated are just never quite the same again. Avoid using ingredients like avocado, and if you are making a salad, don’t put your vinaigrette on the greens you will be taking with you tomorrow. If you simply love a meal that includes one of these ingredients, save some fresh to cut up and put on your leftovers right before you eat lunch. One of our blogger friends, Megan (aka The Fit Crasher), made lunch using our Sweet Potato Tacos and some fresh avocado she cut that morning.
  • Stick to things that are simple to pack. Remember, this is supposed to make your life easier! If the meal is already meant to be in one bowl, it is probably a good bet for lunch. Try packing our Chicken Souvlaki Bowl or our One Skillet Bison Tacos. (For the tacos, keep the leftover tortillas on the side until you’re ready to eat.)

 

For even more fresh meal options for home delivery, check out our full menu which includes options for pre-made lunches like salads and smoothies that are ready to for you to grab and go!