Mary-Linh

Editorial Assistant at Kitchen Stories

Over the last few weeks we spoke with our colleagues about how they prepare lunch for the week. What did we learn? That meal prep isn’t something all of us have the time to do, so our lunches often end up being leftovers from last night’s dinner. While this is an easy option for packed lunch, it’s evident that many of us share a frustration with eating the same sad dish three meals in a row.

The good news is that whether you’re short on time or find yourself exhausted after a long day of work, having a varied carte du jour isn’t entirely impossible. Here are our tips for a shortcut meal prep to ensure an exciting and unique lunch to look forward to each day.

Kitchen Stories

The more grains, the better

Cooking a big batch of grains at the start of the week will inevitably cut your daily prep time tenfold. From quinoa to bulgar, barley to rice, grains—especially whole grains—are nutritious and work great as bases for lots of interchangeable dishes: They can be used for salads, grain bowls, soups, curries, and as a side to your protein of choice. Plus, they’re delicious and filling, which means you won’t feel the urge to reach into your desk snack drawer after lunch, ever again.

Pantry staples are your friend

Since it’s our mission at Kitchen Stories to encourage home cooking, it’s easy to forget about non-perishable pantry staples, aka canned vegetables, lentils, pickles, beans, dried fruit, and nuts. Having a handful of these staples in your pantry means you’ll always have options to switch things up midweek, with little to no effort.

Don’t forget about the condiments and dressings either! Carve out some time on a Sunday afternoon for whipping together homemade ketchup, tahini, tomato sauce, or sauerkraut, and your daily lunch rotation will be brimming with varied textures and flavors.

Opt and shop for long-lasting veggies

Not all vegetables have a long shelf-life, and when doing your weekly grocery run, it’ll pay to know which veggies are worth storing in your kitchen and will last through the week. When stored properly, root vegetables like beets, potatoes, onions, cabbage, and carrots can last for months. Then there are super versatile veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms—which taste fantastic both raw and cooked—and will last the week just fine in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Invest in a solid storage

Using a reusable lunchbox or jar isn’t just sustainable, it also eliminates any stress you might have with transporting your lunch from home to kitchen to desk. You want to find something that’s well-insulated and has enough room to contain not just one-dish meals, but also accommodates sides and sauces without any worry of leakage. Biking is a common mode of transportation (here in Berlin at least) so a well-constructed bag or box that can withstand any jolts or hurtles is a plus!

Our best lunch-friendly recipes

Zoodle salad with tahini dressing

Zoodle salad with tahini dressing

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Tofu stir-fry with rice

Tofu stir-fry with rice

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Energy salad

Energy salad

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Salad in a jar

Salad in a jar

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Risi e Bisi (Italian rice and peas)

Risi e Bisi (Italian rice and peas)

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More delicious ideas for you