By Heather Taylor
Lunchtime is often the least-savored meal of the day. We’re either scarfing down a wilted salad while answering emails or sighing because we’re stuck with yet another medley of leftovers from last night’s dinner. How can we break free of this rut and whip up delicious eats to stay fueled all day long? We turned to foodie experts for tasty lunchtime hacks.
Get ready to meal prep.
We all know the basic premise of meal prep—making your food ahead of schedule so you have something well balanced to eat each day—but how do you actually get started? Toby Amidor, nutrition expert and author of The Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook: Easy and Wholesome Meals to Cook, Prep, Grab, and Go, helped us break it down.
1) Start with recipe research. The meals you’re looking for should have a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats—think quinoa, brown rice, grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and fresh fruit. These recipes should be easy to whip up and taste delicious too (obvs!).
2) Once you know what you’re making, go food shopping for all the ingredients. Set aside several hours to cook, ideally on Saturday or Sunday.
3) After everything is cooked, package your meals into single-serve portions. Even if you’re running late, you’ll be able to grab them out of the fridge on your way out the door.
Tip: If you’ve got a busy weekend coming up, you can always prepare by cooking a double batch of recipes and then freezing half of the food.
Claire Leaden, food blogger at Millennial Meals, recommends adding an indulgent side to meal prep portions. A can of La Croix, a piece of dark chocolate, or a baggie of Popchips are just a few ways you can include a fun element. “Doing a little something extra for yourself will have you looking forward to lunch hour more than usual,” Leaden says.
Put the focus on your food.
When we eat at our desks, we often find ourselves chewing quickly while scrolling through Instagram or emails on our screens. Holistic Health Coach Erin Parekh advises powering down devices while you eat and taking at least 10 minutes to savor your meal. “Be mindful to actually enjoy and taste your food,” she says.
Leaden agrees, noting that eating lunch at your desk doesn’t have the same energizing effect on our bodies as it does in a different setting. If you need a change of scenery, try dining in a conference room or al fresco. Or if you need some entertainment during this hour, flip through a magazine—now that’s a tip Ed can heartily endorse. Bon Appétit!
Heather Taylor is a former entertainment writer turned brand mascot aficionado (and head writer) for Advertising Week’s Icon Blog. She been published on HelloGiggles, Brit + Co, The Drum, and BettyConfidential. Find her on Twitter @howveryheather.