triathlon and family can mix

Guide to Making Lunches

Nothing makes it harder to eat decent than takeout at the office.


I read a lot of posts about how cooking for a Whole 30 challenge, 21 Day Sugar Detox, or Paleo Challenge becomes cumbersome, leading most to quit. There are too many options within a 2 minute walk to that can derail you faster than you can say ‘muffin’.

In my experience, the key to sticking with any diet you choose is to have on hand, ready to go lunches and snacks at the office.

Well, never fear dear mortals.

This is something I struggled with for a long while. I could never figure out the logistics of cooking, storing, and not having it spoil in the fridge. After experimenting with a couple of ideas I gathered from many sources, I came up with a plan that allows me to do the bulk of my prep/cooking before Monday morning strolls around, leaving just assembly the night before.

Grill Protein Ahead of Time
My BBQ is full of two types of protein at some point during the weekend. Typically it is chicken thighs and steak, but I also use pork chops, roasts, and sausage. I typically under cook them a bit (I like a medium steak, so I cook it to medium rare) and once it comes out of microwave the next day, it is just perfect. Once they are done, I portion out Monday and Tuesday and stick them in the fridge; everything else hits the freezer. Each night, I take out a portion of protein, and it is thawed by breakfast the next day. Before you ask, the meat is just as good after being frozen.

Chop Veggies and Store in Fridge
On Sunday evening, I chop enough veggies to fill huge glass bowl, and store for adding into salads, stir-frys, or just to chomp on while working at my desk. The trick, fill the bowl with some water so that the veggies don’t dry out for Thursday and Friday.

Practice and Perfect Kitchen Tasks
I used to hate chopping anything in the kitchen. Dull knives, slippery food, and warped cutting boards made each experience suck. Using the skills in the Four Hour Chef, I learnt how to chop efficiently and now I can fire through a large pile of carrots with ease. I also learnt how to saute properly, flip without using a spatula, and pretty much cook without too much effort. This is the single most important point for me. If I enjoy being in the kitchen, making a great meal is a pleasure, not a task.

Eat the Same Thing
They say variety is the spice of life, but in this case, variety will kill your progress almost before it starts. Meal planning is daunting; there is a reason why nutritionists, authors, and websites are readily available (for a charge of course). By using the points above, you can make a weeks worth of meals in about 30 minutes. Sure, you eat the same thing each day, so then make something you like.

Frozen Veggies
A bag of frozen veggies in your freezer is worth it’s weight in gold; at least it is in my house. They make it so easy to portion out for breakfast, or make a quick meal when you are on the run. Most stores will carry organic varieties and the process of picking and transporting them makes them just as nutritious as the fresh kind.

So take the time to make your breakfast and lunches for the week. With a little bit of effort, you can save a lot of time during the week.

Question: Do you have any other tips?


5 responses

  1. Nice post, thanks for sharing. I tend to eat my dinner leftovers for lunch, that way I can focus on only cooking one awesome meal a day.

    October 24, 2013 at 5:12 am

    • Oh yes, leftovers have a special place in my heart as well. Although they don’t usually last until lunch the next day.

      October 24, 2013 at 9:11 am

  2. You forgot the easiest solution, talk the wife into helping and getting her to help prepare everything. Just kidding, good post.

    October 24, 2013 at 7:46 am

    • Thanks. I tired that once. I emphasize once…..

      October 24, 2013 at 9:26 am

      • Takes some finesse and most often is too much work! My wife is supportive of my choices til she wants a particular type of food or sweet, then the support is out the window. Hate it when I am expecting healthy food in my lunch bag and I find brownies or cookies.

        October 24, 2013 at 10:23 am

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