Meatless Monday: Make a meatless week a breeze with meal prepping

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Jason Bryant/Flavor 574

Time is precious throughout the week, and let’s face it — no one wants to stand around the kitchen after working all day to figure out what to eat for lunch tomorrow. 

It’s all too easy to hit the drive-thru a few times a week, but that can take a toll on your wallet and your waistline. And living your life one cup of noodles at a time just gets sad after a few weeks. 

Bottom line is, sometimes eating lunch at your desk is unavoidable. In fact, SHAPE reports 67 percent of office workers eat at their desks. Studies show this can lead to less brainpower, less socialization and overall, not-so-great food choices, according to SHAPE

A few hours spent meal-prepping during one night of the week can make lunchtime at work a little brighter. 

The spring issue of Flavor 574 has a little feature about different lunches to make in a Mason jar. I used to be skeptical about meal-prepping, as cutting up vegetables to eat days later sounded less than ideal for eating fresh food. 

Meatless meal-prep, however, can be really easy with the right tools and patience. I tried the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad and the Power Lunch and am hooked.

To make the most of your meal prep, invest in good containers. Mason jars are airtight, which keeps fresh chopped veggies fresh for a few days — once oxygen hits cut fruits and veggies, it can become brown or start tasting funky.

Get creative by mixing these ingredients from the bottom up. Healthy fats and protein from beans will give a boost at lunch, no meat required. Remember, these recipes are easy to make vegan-friendly — just omit cheese.

Dressing: 

Olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, cracked pepper, hummus. 

Carbohydrate: 

Quinoa, chickpeas, couscous, rice, red beans, black beans, wheat noodles. 

Protein and fat: 

Tofu, double load of beans, avocado, edamame. 

Veggies: 

Mushrooms, red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, carrots, radishes. 

All the extras: 

Cilantro, parsley, basil, mint, feta cheese, croutons, kale, spring greens, green onions. 

Other tips for a happier lunch: 

  • Go outside: Find a nearby park or picnic table near your office, if there is one. Get some Vitamin D and enjoy the outdoors now that it’s getting warmer out. 
  • Find a fun lunchbox: Getting a nifty lunchbox doesn’t have to stop in grade school. Ditch the brown bag for floral lunch boxes, sleek bento boxes and even Mason jars for bringers. Lunch is instantly more pleasant when you have something fun to tote it in. 
  • Get out of the rut: Sandwiches or soup are easy to slap together every day, especially when you’re running behind in the morning, but remember to switch things up so you don’t eat the same thing each day. That gets boring quickly. 

What’s your favorite lunch to bring to work? 

Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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