If you’ve ever taken the time to prep yourself a nourishing lunch for the workweek, then felt like eating anything else by the time lunchtime rolled around, you know how frustrating that can be. Eating healthy within a busy schedule requires a special dance between simplifying healthy eating enough to make it realistic, and infusing enough variety to make it actually sustainable and enjoyable long-term.
One way I’ve found to do this — without having to quadruple the amount of time spent in the kitchen — is to leverage one main dish multiple ways.
Let’s take a chicken salad, for example. Full of juicy red grapes, crunchy almonds, crisp celery, savory chicken, and a creamy sauce that pulls it all together. Mmm mmm.
Maybe most weeks, you aim to eat it in the same salad form for lunches throughout the week. That’s all well and good on Monday, but by Wednesday… you’re eyeing the taco truck on the corner. Not only does this detract your best-set intentions to eat healthfully for the week, but it wastes your time and money. (First on the salad, then on the taco truck.) Instead of forcing yourself through the same-old salad day after day, try this to make the most out of the same meal… multiple ways.
1. Monday: Bed-o-Lettuce Salad
Motivation is running high after a bustling weekend. A salad tastes light and refreshing. Throw your combo over a bed of romaine lettuce and feel your insides sing. Nom nom nom.
2. Tuesday: Salad on Brown Rice Cakes
The salad was good and all, but… know what sounds better than a salad? CARBS. Scoop that salad onto a brown rice cake or two, and chomp away in gluten-free delight.
3. Wednesday: Salad in Collard Green Wraps
Swap those brown rice cakes for collard green leaves. They’re way sturdier than romaine, so they keep better and longer. They also add a hearty crunch that a standard flour wrap just can’t provide, plus two extra servings of veggies and fiber. At this rate, let’s call it #winningwednesday.
4. Thursday: Brown Rice or Quinoa Bowl
It’s pre-Friday; let’s get that complex carb energy back in rotation, shall we? I like to make a batch of brown rice or quinoa for the week, then scoop into salads, soups or main dishes for extra bulk. To make it work here, scoop some brown rice or quinoa into a bowl, then mix with your salad. You can even stir in an extra handful of greens, nuts or seeds for some extra nutrients, crunch and variety.
5. Friday: Almond-Flour Wraps
The week is a wrap, so why shouldn’t lunch be? If you’re still going strong with the salad theme, try wrapping it into almond-flour or coconut-flour tortillas. (I personally love the brand Siete, typically at Whole Foods.) Instead of a processed-flour tortilla, the almond or coconut flour will give you extra healthy fats and a protein boost to keep you going straight into the weekend.
Obviously you don’t have to use ALL of these options, but take the ones that sound most intriguing to you. Experiment with adding one or two into your workweek shuffle to get more flavor, nutrients, energy and time out of every week… and every dish you make. Happy meal prepping, mama!
P.S. If you want to save time, money and energy with eating healthy… not to mention get real-food recipes all mapped out for ya without having to dig through Pinterest yourself, or wind up stumped and drained mid-week… check out my Summer Meal Plan. It blasts bloat, boosts energy and will leave you looking and feeling like a million bucks at a fraction of the time, cost, and guesswork as going it alone. XO.