10 Make-Ahead Lunches for Busy Workdays

Whether you’re packing lunch for just yourself, or for your entire family to take to school/work, things can get a little stressful if you don’t plan ahead. That’s why every Sunday I prep something I can easily divide up into containers and grab on my way out the door on busy mornings. This time of year, it’s usually a big salad, pasta dish, or pot of soup, but I also love packing sandwich ingredients, making mini mezze platters, or even making something special like spring rolls to eat throughout the week. 

Here are 10 ideas to get you started this week:

  1. Greek Pasta Salad. Quick, easy, and perfect for eating cold at work. I sometimes pack half an avocado to scoop on top and make each serving extra filling.
  2. Penne with Summer Veggies and Avocado Sauce. This time of year I would probably use broccoli, brussels sprouts, or mushrooms instead of the summer squash, but this dish is another that’s great cold or room temp. 
  3. Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata. This salad can be made with any roasted squash, if you can’t find delicata this time of year. It also holds up well in the fridge for 3 or 4 days without getting overly soggy, so it’s a great make-ahead salad. Fall Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash Seeds
  4. Balsamic Wheatberry Salad with Beets & Goat Cheese. This grain salad is filling, and full of bright, fresh flavors from the balsamic vinaigrette. This just gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so it’s the perfect make-ahead lunch.Balsamic Wheatberry Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese
  5. Burrito Bowls. Load up a few microwave-safe containers with rice, beans, and your favorite burrito toppings, then just heat up your burrito bowls at work. I love eating this with a side of corn chips. burrito bowls
  6. Curried Butternut Squash Soup. I like to store this in mason jars and microwave it at work, but you could easily store this in an insulated container and just sip on it when you get hungry. Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Garlic Pita Croutons
  7. Goat Cheese & Avocado Sandwiches. These keep well in the fridge, so you could make them 1-2 days in advance, if needed.Goat Cheese & Avocado Sandwich
  8. The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich. This one also keeps well, though if I want to eat this sandwich all week, I put everything except the bread together into 5 containers, then pack bread on the side. At work I just assemble and eat.Ultimate Veggie Sandwich
  9. Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce. Spring rolls are surprisingly easy to make, and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. These keep best if you leave the sauce on the side. I just pack a little container of sauce for dipping, and I’m good to go.
  10. Hummus Mezze Platters feel like a fancy lunch, despite how simple they are to make. I make a batch of homemade hummus and put a big scoop into 5 containers. Then I just add in whatever extras I want- sliced veggies, marinated artichokes or roasted red peppers, cubed feta, etc. A side of pita makes this extra filling. Hummus Mezze Platter

Let’s not forget about snacks, either. I always pack a little something sweet to have with my lunch. My current favorites are:

Peanut Butter Oat Balls

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Quick & Easy Chocolate Pudding

Whole Wheat Fig Bars

Whole Wheat PB&J Bars

Happy meal prepping! I hope this list inspires you to pack up a healthy homemade lunch for yourself (and your family!) this week! Tell me, what’s your go-to weekday lunch? 

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