These days, stepping out midday and buying a to-go lunch often seems easier than packing one yourself. There are dozens of quick lunch places within walking distance of my NYC office building, and some of them have some really delicious, healthy, fun stuff on offer. But still, I’d almost always rather pack my own lunch. It’s less expensive, and it means that I get to pick exactly what I want to eat. That said, sometimes the possibilities seem a little bit overwhelming, and I find myself fumbling over what to buy at the grocery store for the week ahead.
If you also have trouble narrowing down the endless packed lunch options out there, you’re in luck! SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven recipes that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. You can check out past weeks’ recipes here. All of the recipes have a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs; and, they’re filling, and simple enough for beginner cooks. Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—kale, quinoa, goat cheese, chickpeas, and tortillas. That, plus some easy ingredient swaps (detailed below), will help keep your grocery list short. There are wraps, salads, and grain bowls on the menu, so you won’t get bored.
The number of servings per recipe varies, but you can easily halve or double each of them as it suits you. Also, you might want to choose just a few recipes and repeat meals for a couple of days (that’s what I do, to be honest!). If you cook one of the recipes or have questions, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!), or DM us—we love a good food pic as much as you do, and we’re always here to help!