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5 Healthy Lunches to Prep Sunday Night That'll Last All Week

With a little planning and prepping done on Sunday, you can get a week's worth of tasty meals ready to grab throughout your busy workweek.

One of the easiest, quickest ways to set yourself up for a healthy eating pattern all throughout the week is to do some planning and prepping the weekend beforehand.

Tips and Tricks

  • Become comrades with your slow-cooker. Your slow-cooker does most of the work for you and clean-up is minimal. I use mine several times a week to save time for more important things--like enjoying my food.
  • Individually portion out ingredients. One of the biggest culprits for weight gain is overdoing it on portion sizes. It’s certainly possible to take in too many calories even if you stick to healthy foods like chicken breast and broccoli. Utilize your measuring cups for more than just baking--portion out proper amounts of your proteins, fruits, veggies, and grains and place them in reusable containers or zip-top bags so you simply grab all of your meal components as you’re heading out the door.
  • Prep one ingredient that can be used across several meals. Bake an entire chicken and use all of the parts, grill a big batch of delicious veggies (they reheat well and are even delicious served cold), and cook up a pot of quinoa or whole-wheat pasta to use throughout the week.

Roast A Whole Chicken

To save both money and time, while also sticking to a healthy diet, buy a whole chicken and roast the entire thing in your oven (or slow-cook in your crockpot, the all-too-often underutilized, underappreciated kitchen gadget). Then, once it is fully cooked, the possibilities are endless! Use the various parts throughout the week in a variety of dishes. Make chicken salad with some light mayo, chopped veggies and herbs, and spices and serve between two slices of whole-grain bread. Top a veggie-filled salad with cooked chicken for a well-balanced meal. Shred the chicken and add BBQ sauce for a spicy weekday lunch. Dice the chicken and use as a component of a savory soup or one-pot casserole.

Oven-Roasted Veggies

If you think veggies taste boring, you must try roasting them! Roasting vegetables introduces you to an entirely new depth of flavor. Be sure to cut vegetables into uniform pieces for them to cook evenly. Toss a big bowl of veggies with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings. It is generally best to roast your veggies at 425 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they get browned on the outside but remain tender inside. Then, you have already-cooked and seasoned flavorful veggies ready to go.

Homemade Hummus

You certainly don’t have include meat with every snack or meal, but it is still important to get plenty of protein to stave off hunger and maintain muscle. For a meatless meal component, whip up a big batch of hearty hummus to use across several meals. Not only are garbanzo beans (the main ingredient in hummus) chock-full of protein, they’re also good sources of folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. And unlike animal sources of protein, beans and dishes made from them provide protein, filling fiber, and little to no fat.

Spread hummus onto whole-grain pita bread and fill with grated veggies for a tasty, filling wrap, or use as a dip for colorful, crunchy veggies. Hummus is also great over a bed of lettuce (the darker the leaf the more nutrient-dense) as a protein-packed salad topper. Additionally, I oftentimes use spicy hummus in a simple sandwich rather than boring deli meat.

Stir-Fried Veggies & Protein

Stir-fry is one of the easiest and most affordable meals you can make, and if done correctly, can be incredibly nutritious. The base for any stir-fry is simple: tons of colorful veggies, a lean protein, a whole-grain (you can omit this if you’re cutting down on carbs), and a flavorful sauce. Rather than using a high-calorie, high-sodium bottled sauce, make your own with lite soy sauce, cornstarch, jalapenos, and ginger. Stir-fry reheats well and you can alter the flavors and textures each time by varying your veggies, switching up the sauce, or picking a different protein.

That’s a Wrap

Wraps are easy and scrumptious, but the wraps you purchase out might be loaded with heavy sauces and refined-grain tortillas. I’d suggest grating or slicing up some crunchy veggies such as bell peppers, radishes, carrots, zucchini, or jicama and placing them in a plastic baggie. Next, bag up your protein (lower-sodium turkey, chicken, hummus, or cheese). Keeping them bagged separately until right before you assemble it at work will keep the tortilla from getting soggy. Wrap the ingredients up in a whole-wheat tortilla or lavash and enjoy! For a lower-carb choice, opt for cabbage instead of a tortilla. Serve with light mayo, mustard, salsa, or any other low-cal condiment (sriracha is my fave).

[Image via Shutterstock]

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