Thanks to some groundbreaking research done by our team of experts (hi, me, a lunch enthusiast), you can kiss the $22-desk-salad lifestyle goodbye. I’m not even really exaggerating, as you will soon see from the formula below. Pick your fave ingredients from each bucket to create the bowl-esque meal of your workday dreams—they all taste amazing together and will survive a weeklong stay in the fridge. And best of all, there are even garnishes on this handy list of work lunch ideas if you’re feeling fancy. Allow me to get you started with what I’m eating tomorrow: a lil combo of pasta + zucchini + feta + capers + pesto + dill (plagiarizing absolutely allowed).
1. Choose one of these
For the base of the bowl, you gotta go with grains or greens. That (along with the next step) will be what keeps you full until at least afternoon snack time.
- Any hearty green (kale, collard greens, etc.)
2. Throw in two of these
Ideally, you have a protein of some sort as part of your power lunch. Don’t eat meat? That’s why mozzarella is a thing.
- Precooked chicken apple sausage
- Teeny mozz balls
- Your favorite Large Veggie, like zucchini or beefsteak tomatoes
- Roasted sweet potato
- Whatever fruit is in season rn
3. Add two or three fun things
And now comes all the sauces and flavor boosters. As you know, hot sauce is always essential to have on hand. Plus, you can never ever go wrong with grated cheese.
- Shredded Parm
- Canned artichoke hearts
- Lemon juice
- Hot sauce
4. Pick a garnish or two
To put the cherry on top of this not-sad desk lunch, you need a little sprig or sprinkle of something, whether that’s mint, basil, or hemp hearts (which, a little secret, are an A+ source of healthy omega-3 fats). Or if you just need a crunch to go with your pasta, toasted pine nuts or crushed walnuts are the move.
- Toasted pine nuts
- Hemp hearts
- Crushed walnuts
5. Transport le goods
Part of the reason you skipped packing work lunches may have been that it required busting out your ugliest plastic containers. Shop our picks of actually cute (and eco-friendly!) ways to tote your lunch to the office.