Lunches Made Easy – Lunch Bowl Guide

meal-prep-lunch-bowls

Do you struggle deciding what’s for lunch? Do you resort to the same salad bowl or eat out more than you'd like to admit? Having a complete meal for lunch will keep you satiated and energized through the afternoon. No one got time for the midday slump.

The best way to avoid the midday crash, reduce your spending and keep yourself nourished is to make your own lunches. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. 

Lunches were always a struggle for me but I came up with the Lunch Bowl guide inspired by a local restaurant to make the process a little simpler.

 

 

“My favorite exercise is a cross between a lunge and a crunch. I call it ‘lunch’”.

The key to successful lunch prep is batch cooking and pre-cutting your veggies. This will save you loads of time. To get started, take a look at the each category highlighted below (Base, Leafy Greens, Protein, Toppings, Dressing). Pick out your base, vegetables, protein and dressing for each day of the week. If you want to keep it extremely simple, you can have the same lunch bowl for every day of the week but change the dressing for variety.

Remember, nourish your body with what it craves and needs.

Protein (Choose 1)

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Beef

Toppings (Choose 1)

  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Green Onions

Base (Choose 1)

  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice Noodles
  • Potatoes

Leafy Greens (Choose 1)

  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard

Vegetables (Choose 4)

  • Carrots
  • Edamame
  • Cucumber
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Corn
  • Bell Pepper
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado

 


Chipotle Lime

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Honey Mustard

  • ½ cup stone ground mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

Garlic Sesame

  • 1 tablespoon oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons scallion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce

Dressing (Choose 1) *Recipes make 16 servings - All dressing recipes by BuzzFeed

Balsamic Dijon

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

Italian

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Greek

  • 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oregano, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

 

When possible, opt for local raised meat products, free from antibiotics and hormones. Live in BC or Ontario? Check out these meat product delivery brands – Aspiring Nutritionist Approved!

Now that you have made note of your meals for the week, time to list out all the ingredients. Check out my Food Serving Guide to decide how much of each ingredient to incorporate into your meal. 

Prepping and batch cooking

If you have time post grocery shop, I would suggest to wash and pre-cut all your veggies for the upcoming days. This will make meal prepping simpler. When you come home and the last thing you want to do is cook (me included). However, when things are pre-cut, cooking doesn’t seem like such a drag.

Next, if you prefer your veggies cooked, while you make Sunday night dinner, pop in an extra tray of veggies in the oven.

 Bonus – Affirmations

We all fall off the "healthy" eating wagon. When it comes to adopting a healthy approach and habits, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves. Life is full of ups and downs, trips, falls and complete face plants. It’s never about the fall, but whether you get back up. Forgive your past mishaps, set a good intention and try again.

When we slip up, sometimes a few words of encourage or personalized affirmations gives us the boost we need. Affirmations motivate and keep the mind focused on the goal.

Here are a few nutrition related affirmations:

  • Planning healthy meals is a joy.
  • I have everything I need to help me prepare delicious, nutritious meals.
  • I can easily make a nutritious, delicious meal.
  • I am learning new things that heal my body one step at a time. I am willing to take this time to nurture myself.

If you create a lunch bowl based on this guide, don't forget to share your creations with me using #thrivingcommunity!