Yes, even you can be that coworker who brings their lunch to work every day. Whether you call it a salad, a bowl, or a mason jar meal, this healthy combo is super easy to prep on Sunday, so it's ready for you to grab in the mornings, stash in your bag, and eat healthy all week. We're providing suggestions for how to build your bowl, but you can select any ingredients that make you happy (happy=healthy).
Hit up the grocery store.
Get on your feet. We know it can be hard on a lazy Sunday, but spending 30 minutes at the store will save you a week of hardships at lunchtime. Too dramatic? We don't think so.
Use this grocery list as a guideline to determine quantities of the recommended ingredients. Key word: guideline. We've provided suggestions, but if you're yearning for pecans and we've listed cashews, get the damn pecans. And if you can't fathom eating grains or cheese (we see you, Paleo fiends), just leave them off your list. It's that simple.
- 5 cups greens: arugula, baby kale, and/or baby spinach
- 1 1/4 cups grains: quinoa, barley, wheat berries, and/or farro
- 1 cup nuts: walnuts, almonds, and/or cashews
- 2 raw vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and/or onions
- 2 root vegetables for roasting: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and/or acorn squash
- 5 servings of protein of choice: chicken, salmon, tuna, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and/or kidney beans
- 1/2 cup cheese: goat, feta, cheddar, and/or Parmesan
- 1/3 cup dried fruit: cranberries, dates, and/or apricots
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 lemons
- Sea salt, to taste
6 large mason jars (5 for salads, one for dressing)
1 bowl to leave at work (and a fork, duh)
Prep everything in 30 minutes.
Make Sunday an even more fun-day by preparing the ingredients for your bowl. Need some tips to get you going? We got you:
- Greens: Keep 'em as is.
- Grains: Normally the instructions are on the box, but if not, use this guide to cooking grains.
- Nuts: Chop 'em up.
- Raw vegetables: Chop into small bits.
- Root vegetables: Roast them using this super-helpful guide.
- Proteins: For animal proteins, we recommend canned chicken, tuna, or salmon, since these stay fresher longer, and you can drop them into your jar in the mornings. But if you're cooking, here are the best ways to cook chicken and salmon. For pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans), it's easiest to just buy the canned versions, so you just need to rinse and drain them.
- Cheese: Crumble it.
- Dried fruit: Chop into bite-size pieces.
- Dressing: Combine 5 tablespoons olive oil, 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard, juice from 1/2 lemon, and sea salt to taste. Mix it up and store in a mason jar for the week.
Build a bowl.
In each mason jar (five total), you're going to add your ingredients in the same order they are listed below. When you're done, seal each mason jar with a lid and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
1/4 cups grains
1 cup greens
1/5 raw vegetables
1 tablespoon cheese
1 tablespoon dried fruit
1/5 roasted vegetables
2 tablespoon nuts
1 serving protein of choice (or add each morning for freshness)
Need some inspiration? This is what we're bowling up.
- Vegetarian Dream combo:
Quinoa and mixed greens topped with cucumbers, goat cheese, chickpeas, dried cranberries, roasted butternut squash, almonds, and tofu.
- Paleo Bowl combo:
Kale topped with bell peppers, cucumbers, roasted acorn squash, walnuts, and canned salmon.
- I-Eat-Everything Bowl:
Farro, quinoa, and spinach topped with cucumbers, feta cheese, lentils, dates, sweet potatoes, cashews, and canned chicken.
Get ready for lunch-master status at work.
Every morning, drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of dressing on top of your mason jar salad, reseal it, pop the mason jar into your bag, and off to work you go. Store it in the fridge and put your name on it, so greedy hands stay away. When you're ready to eat, give it a shake and dump it into a bowl. All hail the BYOL master... that's you.
Become an expert.
Follow these tips to create the best bowl ever.
- We like adding our dressing in the mornings so we don't run the risk of a soggy jar. But it's totally cool if you add your dressing to the bottom of your jars when you're prepping on Sunday so you have nothing to do in the mornings.
- When using proteins, plan accordingly. Cooked chicken and fish only stay good for up to three days. If you don't want to worry about cooking chicken again on Tuesday night, consider canned chicken, tuna, or salmon that you can throw into your bowl in the mornings—or stock up on extra lentils, chickpeas, or beans (they can last up to a week in the fridge).