Thinking about lunch tomorrow or next week? Wondering what you're going to eat? Here are ten make-ahead grains, legumes, and other basics that can serve as the base for a great lunch. From brown rice to sweet potatoes, think about making one or two tonight to serve as your lunch tomorrow! Each of these foods is very simple to make the night before, and each lasts well. Most of these are also fairly nutritious, and a lot of them are high in fiber and whole grain yumminess.
So start a batch of one of these before you eat dinner; it often involves nothing more than boiling water.
• 1. Brown Rice - This is my own personal favorite for lunches. Short-grain brown rice is so nutty and stays so soft and tender, even in the fridge. Warm it up with some sesame oil and almonds — delicious!
• 2. Quinoa - Nutritious and nutty. Top with some shredded chicken or a few tomato slices.
• 3. Lentils - Lentils make a great base for lunch. I especially like them topped with a poached egg or some bacon.
• 4. Sweet Potato - Roast a sweet potato and take it to work with some cooked greens and a dollop of yogurt.
• 5. Beans - Cook a batch of beans tonight and they'll last all week!
• 6. Butternut Squash - This is another really delicious yet often overlooked meal basic. If you roast a bunch of squash cubes, they make a great lunch base. Toss with greens, or some leftover pork.
• 7. White Rice - I don't like white rice as much as brown rice, but if you're making some rice anyway for dinner, make an extra cup and eat it for lunch!
• 8. Mashed Potatoes - Mashed potatoes are so delicious and comforting when reheated at work! Top with some extra melted cheese.
• 9. Polenta - Make a little extra polenta; it lasts well in the fridge. It needs a little stirring and extra liquid when you heat it up. You can also pour hot polenta into a baking sheet and let it cool. Slice and serve in squares; this makes for great lunches.
• 10. Oatmeal - Oatmeal? For lunch? Why yes! Steel cut oats are so filling and hearty, and they reheat splendidly. Make your morning batch a little larger, and eat them for lunch. Here's how to cook steel cut oats. .
Do you have any basics like this that you cook ahead for lunches?
Related: Brown Rice to Quinoa: 5 Staple Bases for Great Lunches
(Images: Faith Durand; Emily Ho; Faith Durand)