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Skip the Drive-Thru: How to Make Delightfully Delicious Lunches

Someone packing a sandwich in a plastic lunch container.

If you’ve been trying to diet or eat healthier, you might be finding it difficult to find something to order for lunch at the drive-thru or local diner. Here are some tips for packing lunches that are so tasty, you won’t even be tempted by the cheesesteaks at the local sub shop.

There’s more to packing a good lunch than just stuffing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a Ziploc bag. If you want a healthy and delicious lunch you actually look forward to eating every day, follow these tips.

Invest in Some Quality Food Containers

Twelve glass containers with fruits, vegetables, salads, and cookies inside.

Sure, plastic bags, foil, and saran wrap will all do the trick, but if you’re also trying to reduce waste, some quality food storage containers are the way to go! You can rinse them out at work, and then wash them when you get home.

Beyond helping the environment, good containers are especially important if you plan to continue this lunch packing trend. They last longer, won’t crack or break as quickly, and can be washed multiple times before becoming warped.

If you plan to take leftovers for lunch, you’ll also want containers you can put in the microwave.  We like this 24-piece glass set from BAYCO. You get 12 containers with leak-proof lids, and everything is BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. You can also pop them right in the microwave (not the lids, though) to qucikly heat up your lunch.

Schedule a Meal-Prep Day

Weekdays are so hectic, that’s likely why you’ve never had time to pack lunches in the first place. That’s where meal prep comes in! Choose a day or evening that works best for you—most people do their meal prep on the weekend.

To get started, plan out at least three to five easy lunches you can prepare and store in containers like the BAYCO set above.

Next, chop and cook any veggies, prepare your favorite whole grains, and even roast a bit of chicken if you want. Stack them all up in the fridge, and then just grab and go each day! Not only will you save money on takeout, but you’ll also be better able to watch your calories and/or carbs, or just ensure you’re getting enough nutrients each day.

Eat All Those Leftovers

Stir-fry in a wok and four storage containers.

Some people hate the idea of leftovers, but did you know some foods really do taste better the next day? If you’ve never taken some of that leftover casserole for lunch, there’s no better time than now!

Soups, stews, and even casseroles filled with aromatic ingredients, like onions, garlic, and peppers add tremendous amounts of flavor to a dish when it’s cooked. However, after you place whatever’s left in your fridge and reheat it, chemical reactions take place that can result in improved flavor.

When you let food sit overnight in the fridge, the ingredients and flavors of the dish marry. The next day, those perfectly mingled flavors and ingredients will produce one heck of a lunch!

Pack Your Lunch the Night Before

Spare yourself some sanity during those hectic weekday mornings by packing your lunch the night before.

After your family has finished supper, take a few moments to put some leftovers in a food container and stash it in your lunch box. Or, pack one of your pre-prepped meals, so you can just grab it out of the fridge in the morning.

And don’t forget to put a few wholesome snacks out on the counter to toss in there before you head out. This can help you avoid any unhealthy binging on sweet or salty treats throughout your workday.

Separate and Build Salads & Sandwiches

Fruit and Oreos in a Bento container.

Certain foods tend to get soggy overnight, or even in less than an hour. The last thing you want for lunch is a wet, soppy Caesar salad with mushy croutons.

To avoid this, keep fresh ingredients, like veggies, separate from wet ingredients, like dressing, especially when packing a salad. This way, you can build your fresh toppings on a gorgeously crisp bed of greens for lunch the following day.

Love sandwiches? Keep the lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments separated, so you can build a delicious sandwich whenever you’re ready for lunch. It’s also a good rule of thumb to keep your deli meat and cheese separate from the bread.

This seven-pack of bento containers is perfect for this. They have one larger compartment, where you can build your salad or sandwich, and two smaller sections for toppings.

We also love these little cups with lids because they’re perfect for salad dressings and condiments.

Eating a healthy (and tasty) lunch every day doesn’t have to be an unreachable goal. With a little bit of meal planning and prepping, and the right accessories, you’ll have delicious, nutritious lunches all week that are sure to make all your coworkers jealous.

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