Making your lunch is something most of us think about doing, but we often fall short on the follow-through. If you can find the time, it's a great way to save — and keep those new year's resolutions on track. We've got five ideas for make-ahead lunches that will keep you satisfied all day long. Here's your fast track ticket to instant lunch cred.
--A hearty grain salad, like this spicy bulgar salad with sweet peppers and pepper paste, is an easy option with a quick prep time. The bulgar, which only takes about 15 minutes to make, is dressed with tart lemon juice, pepper paste and hot pepper flakes. Pack this grain salad with a couple of tomato wedges and slices of cucumber for a crunch.
--Tortino de Faglioni may sound fancy, but it's actually just a simple green bean tart with ciabatta breadcrumbs on top. One tart will yield enough lunch for a couple days, for everyone in the family. The tart can be sliced cold and is perfect served at room temperature. And yes, it will be really cool when someone asks what you're having for lunch, and you can reply with 'Oh, just a little Trotino de Faglioni I whipped up last night. No biggie.'
--Everybody loves a good chicken salad, and this recipe for green apple chicken salad is no exception. Tender pieces of chicken are mixed with celery, currants and a mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar dressing. Eat it on its own or pack a couple of crackers to go with it.
--This recipe for an Italian tuna and shiso sandwich takes the tuna fish sandwich to the next level. The tuna is mixed with capers, lemon juice, red onion and sweet tomatoes. A couple of shiso leaves provide a vibrant citrus flavor. And instead of bread, this sandwich comes on an English muffin.
--Beef lettuce wraps make for a satisfying lunch, and they're fun to eat. Ground beef is cooked and mixed with crunchy water chestnuts, sweet Thai chile sauce, soy sauce, green onions, mint, cilantro and Indonesian soy sauce. Pack this savory meat with a couple of leaves of Bibb lettuce and make your own wraps at work.
And this will all taste better if you have a cool lunchbox.
For more recipes, check out our healthy eating category in our California Cookbook recipe database.
I have a Hello Kitty lunchbox and I'm proud of it. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_