Planning my meals has been one of the things that’s made the biggest difference to how I eat. It’s made me healthier, and it’s saved me money.
Make ahead lunches were my first forays into meal planning. I used to get to lunch time, starving, and realise there was basically nothing in the house. Prompting a trip to the corner shop to impulse buy something like a cheese and onion pasty. Or I’d rummage through the cupboards and end up with a cheese toasty or super noodles.
Lunches should have been one of the easiest things to plan ahead, but for some reason I found thinking about anything but a cheese sandwich or a pot noodle for lunch really complicated. But, with a bit of trial and error, I finally have my lunches nailed.
If you don’t already prep meals, then starting with lunches probably is the simplest way as you can easily eat the same thing for a few days in a row without getting too bored!
I work from home, so I tend to use Monday morning to prep my lunches for the week, but I know for a lot of people Sundays are more convenient. It takes me about 30-45 minutes, including cooking time, to prep 4 days worth of lunches, leaving me a bit of wiggle room for a Friday treat!.
If you want some tips on meal planning in general then check our my meal planning for beginners guide.
Today I thought I’d share 3 of my go-to make ahead lunches that I tend to have in a rotation!
Turkey Meatballs and Cous Cous
* Turkey Meatballs * Packet flavoured cous cous * Dried or fresh fruit
Super easy, and one of my favourites. I oven bake the turkey meatballs and serve them with half of one of those packets of flavoured cous cous. I add fruit to this, either dried fruit, or sometimes fresh grapes or blueberries.
Delicious with a bit of hummus on the side.
I also sometimes do this with falafels for a veggie alternative.
Chicken & Hummus Wrap
* Chicken Breast * Frozen Mediterranean Vegetables * Pine Nuts * Hummus * Wholemeal Tortilla wrap
About 400-500g of Chicken will last a week of lunches. I stick the chicken and about half a bag of mediterranean veg in the oven for half an hour, then slice the chicken up and keep the chicken and veg in individual tupperware pots in the fridge.
At lunch time I just add it to a wholemeal wrap with pine nuts and some hummus.
Tuna Pasta Salad
* Tinned Tuna * Greek Yoghurt * Wholemeal pasta * Black olives * Hard boiled egg
Tuna pasta salad, so simple it barely deserves a section of its own.
I cook 50g wholemeal pasta per day, and then shake it in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to stop it sticking together.
I mix the tinned tuna with fat free greek yoghurt instead of mayonnaise to keep the fat down a little then mix half a tin of tuna, 50g or pasta and some black olives together in a tupperware pot and keep it in the fridge. I hard boil eggs and each day I slice one in half and add it to the salad.
I make the eggs into fancy shapes using these, in case you were wondering. Because I am not a grown up and I like my eggs fancy shapes.
If you have make ahead lunch ideas, do share!