Weekend Project: Make Your Weekday Lunches Ahead!

We know many of you are trying to bring your own lunch to work with you these days, and we're here to help! This weekend, let's get our acts together and make sure we have a plan for the week.

There are really two key factors when it comes to deciding to bring your lunch and really sticking to it:

1. Make it as easy as possible - No one wants to spend hours the night before or (heaven forbid) in the morning preparing their lunch. You need to be able to grab it and go.

2. Make it tasty - If you're bored with what's in your lunch bag, that's all the more temptation to leave it in the fridge and eat out.

For that first factor, let's have a plan and then try to make as much ahead of time as possible. That way, we don't have to think about it during the week - all we have to do is some minor assembly before transferring a portion into a travel container.

Veggies for salads can be cut up ahead of time. Chicken can be cooked and shredded for chicken salad. Soup can be made and pre-portioned. Keep all your lunch fixings together in one spot the fridge so you don't have to go searching for them in the morning.

As for keeping lunch tasty and interesting, that's where you get to be creative! We find that we can eat the same lunch for about week before we need to change it up and look for something new. We also have to be honest with ourselves sometimes: "Sure, ham sandwiches are easy, but am I really going to want to eat that come lunchtime?!"

Later today, we'll share two of our favorite make-ahead lunch templates. For now, here are a few of the tricks and techniques we use to spice things up:

Breakfast-For-Lunch
Perk Up Sandwiches with Seasoned Salt
Eight Ways to Build Flavor
Changing How the Food Is Served
Good Ideas for School Lunches

And as a final suggestion, consider giving yourself some incentive now and again. If you bring your lunch with you, maybe let yourself buy a nice roll to eat with your salad or a brownie for dessert.

What other strategies do you have for bringing your lunch to work?

Related: Do's and Don'ts: Eating on Public Transit

(Image: Flickr member taiyofj licensed under Creative Commons)