Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
You want to eat healthy, but it’s hard to find takeout options that support your goals.
Even store-bought food that looks healthy, such as salads and soups, may be loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives.
The only way to ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet is to cook most of your food at home. But who has time for that?
These six websites will give you a variety of easy, delicious and healthy recipes to make ahead on the weekend and take to work all week. With a little planning and effort, you can take control of your nutrition and weight by eating homemade lunches at work.
Skip the takeout line — your body and your wallet will thank you.
This is the website for the Eating Well magazine. All recipes and articles focus on healthy eating with emphasis on eating for weight loss.
In addition to the many recipes on the site, there are free menu planning and meal plan tools. Use these features to map out your week of healthy lunches, organize your grocery list, and get ready to cook over the weekend.
Get started with these simple and appetizing recipes: 29 easy one-pot recipes spanning a variety of cuisines and flavors; quick salads and dressings, which will save you from eating all the added junk in most store-bought salad dressing; and cheap healthy lunch ideas for work, which will cost you a lot less in calories and cents than your usual takeout.
Bon Appetit is another magazine in web form. Its focus is more gourmet and international, with articles on travel and entertainment in addition to food. Still, there are plenty of flavorful and convenient meal ideas to spice up your workweek.
Try the big-batch recipes for cooking on Sunday and mixing and matching all week for lunch and dinner. These one-dish recipes will make your cleanup easier and stock your fridge with grab-and-go options when you’re rushing out the door in the morning. And their easy weeknight recipes can also be made over the weekend.
This food blog will help keep your grocery bill down, plus the recipes are easy to make and there are many great ideas for healthy lunches. The author brings a New Orleans flair to her food with sriracha and chili pepper called for in most meals. However, you can use as much or as little spice as your tongue desires.
Fill your week with healthy lunches such as the meze lunchbox, roasted red pepper hummus wraps and peach quesadillas. Beth mentions the “cost” of each recipe and the servings with the prep and cooking times for each recipe. For the budget conscious, the price is a good yardstick. For the time conscious, the slow cooker recipes should be ideal to come home to a hot meal.
The Yummy Life takes a simple approach to healthy eating. There are many make-ahead recipes, including meals in mason jars that are easily portable. And the wide range of premade breakfasts would also be delicious for lunch.
Check out the overnight, no-cook refrigerator oatmeal, which is portable and doesn’t require a microwave; oven-baked sheet pan Asian stir-fry and make-ahead, healthy egg McMuffin copycats. Who says you can’t have brunch at your desk — with these recipes you can enjoy the best that breakfast and lunch have to offer.
As the title suggests, all the recipes on this companion site to the magazine are vegetarian or vegan. For quick meals, look to the “Dinner in 30” recipes. You can bring the leftovers for lunch the next day or cook ahead on Sunday. There are also plenty of ideas for traditional lunch foods such as sandwiches and salads.
This site is all about “feeding” your freezer with the concept of cooking just once a month and freezing everything you need for the next 4 weeks. They even offer monthly subscriptions for $10 or $16 if you want more help with menu planning and shopping. But you don’t have to take on that level of commitment to try individual recipes that are easy to freeze and eat throughout the week.
Give yourself something to look forward to at lunchtime with the Sammie roll-ups, sesame ginger noodle bowl or vegan sweet potato and black bean empanadas. Meal categories include paleo and recipes for toddlers. All recipes come with freezing directions, although you could also just store them in your refrigerator for the week.
What Will You Make This Week?
Cooking ahead for the week improves your life in so many ways: better health, savings on eating out and the sense of pride that comes from taking your nutrition into your own hands.
Start collecting and saving recipes to a bookmarks folder or use Pocket (which is what I do) to save and tag recipes by season (winter stews, anyone?) or category (vegan, gluten-free, etc.).
Once you have a few favorite, tested recipes in your cooking arsenal, it becomes a lot easier to plan out your work meals ahead of time.
So I ask again: What will you make this week?