8 Reasons You Should Meal Prep for WFH Lunches
Meal prepping is one of the easiest ways to stay on the healthy-eating track when you’re at work. Not only do you save money and reduce food waste, but you can also resist the temptation to eat overpriced, underwhelming restaurant meals and takeout. And, planning ahead and prepping healthy meals means you can avoid sad desk lunches of frozen entrees, too.
Not heading into the office these days? We hear you. There are still plenty of reasons to meal prep when you work from home. Here are eight of them.
Why Meal Prepping When You Work From Home is a Good Idea
1. You don’t need to think about lunch.
“Even when we are working from home, a lot of us are even busier because there’s more to do,” such as caring for a child or parent, says Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet and host of the Keri Report podcast. “For some people, thinking about what you are going to eat for lunch can be an added stressor.”
Ease this burden by prepping your meals ahead of time, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
2. You’ll save time during the week.
Cooking up lean proteins, whole grains, and roasted veggies for a week’s worth of burrito bowls can take an hour or two, Gans says. If you do that work on a Sunday when many of us have more free time, you can whip up lunch during the week in less than 10 minutes.
3. You’ll eat healthier lunches.
When you can have a healthy, homemade lunch in minutes, that means less time waiting to eat when you’re starving at noon. That’s also less time to consider having a bag of chips or frozen pizza.
“You are more likely to sit down and eat a healthy meal when you don’t have to make it first,” Gans says.
4. You might snack less (or smarter).
Eating balanced meals — with lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates — will help keep you fuller longer. That, in turn, can help reduce snacking.
You can also meal prep your snacks, Gans says. For example, hard-boil a few eggs and slice some vegetables to dip into hummus.
5. You waste less food.
“The first step to meal prep is meal planning,” Gans says. “Then, instead of going to the supermarket and haphazardly buying groceries, you buy things with a mission.”
This cuts back on food waste since you don’t buy produce only to let it sit in the fridge until it goes bad. And if you portion out what you cook into servings for the entire week, leftovers disappear by Friday night.
6. You can save money.
Reducing food waste means you save money. “You are thinking it all through, so your grocery shopping is more organized, and things don’t sit in your fridge or cupboard because you know what to do with them,” Gans says.
7. You’ll stay focused.
Meal prep allows you to keep your eyes on your work (and your goals).
“Many people spend too much time thinking about meals,” Gans says. “If you already have things planned out, you can focus on the task at hand.”
That could be work or a workout, she says. If you have a 30-minute break, you can then do an online fitness class rather than, say, cook a pot of lentils.
8. You can try new foods.
Yes, meal prep often means eating the same thing for lunch at least a few days a week. However, if you aim to mix up what you eat from week to week, then there’s less monotony. You can also change up your protein source midway throughout the week, Gans adds.
Meal Prep Ideas When Working From Home
Fight food boredom and stay on track with these healthy meal prep ideas.
- Whip up a batch of easy, versatile, and tasty Instant Pot White Chicken Chili, and dish some out every day. Then, serve it over rice, pasta, or veggie noodles; scoop it up with chips; or roll it up in a tortilla.
- Stuff bell peppers with a balanced mix of tasty ingredients, then roast them. They’re one of our 10 favorite meal prep lunches for work and taste great as leftovers!
- Make the filling for tacos on the weekend, then reheat to go in lettuce cups or tortillas during the week. Spicy shrimp taco lettuce wraps are one of our top healthy meal prep lunch ideas.
- Whip up a whole grain dish like this quinoa and bean salad with chipotle vinaigrette. You can enjoy it straight from the fridge.
- Prep the ingredients for our Healthy Chicken Burrito Bowl. Then toss everything together come lunchtime.
- Make no-cook snack boxes. Mix up your lunchtime with a variety of lean protein, baked chips and dip, or fruit and nuts.