I know one of the biggest struggles I have is eating a decent lunch at work. Maybe you have the same issue. Sometimes it’s lack of access to a decent work lunch recipe and sometimes it’s just because I’m lazy.
I’ve recently solved both of these issues. I have the easy solution to creating the most delicious, quick, convenient, and CHEAP midday meals. First, if you don’t already make your own lunch at work or at the very least bring your own then you should reevaluate your lunch choices.
Reasons To Make Your Own Lunch
I understand a large part of business is lunch with clients or customers, and I’m by no means saying not to attend these lunches. However, on the days you are not sharing a business lunch with others, you should really be trying to make your own lunch. Here’s a couple main reasons why:
You save a TON of money. I personally was spending over $60 a week on lunch. This comes out to $240 a month! If that doesn’t seem like too much, more power to you. Granted I live in a very expensive city and all the lunch spots around me are generally expensive as well. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t also spending way more than necessary on lunch.
When I switched from eating out every day to making my own lunch, I cut my spending to $80 for the entire month. The reason I spend $80 is only because I buy trail mix and other snacks to get me through the afternoons.
It cuts out all the crap fast food. The nutritional value of eating at work vs. eating out is significant. I know that it was very easy to run down the street and grab a huge, juicy burger.
This is not your best bet for lunch. First, a greasy, meaty meal at lunch causes you to be tired in the afternoon. This ruins your productivity levels and essentially you just want to take a nap all afternoon which leads to consumption of even more COFFEE.
Next, if you are trying to get a workout in after work you’re screwed because you’re ten pounds heavier than you were at noon. In addition to feeling weighed down, all your energy is spent processing that giant lunch you devoured and your motivation levels in the gym are likely to suffer.
You have more free lunchtime. Usually making your own lunch takes much less time than going to a joint down the road. If you don’t walk, you have to get in your car, cruise down there, wait for them to make your food, and either bring it back or eat it there.
While I agree it’s nice to get out of the office, you can make your own lunch and eat within 20-30 minutes. If you are lucky enough to have an hour lunch or so you’ll be able to take a nice walk near your office, or go sit outside for a little while and soak up some well deserved Vitamin D.
The Art Of The Wrap
Alright so maybe making a wrap at lunch vs. a sandwich isn’t really an art. I do have to say, however, that there are some serious benefits to wraps vs. sandwiches:
- I can fit way more food in a wrap than I can on a sandwich. I know a lot of people would probably agree that their sandwiches are falling apart when they try to get everything on them. If you are a big eater like me (better to eat big at lunch than dinner) then wraps are ideal to fill yourself up.
- Sandwiches get pretty old. There’s only so many ways you can combine lunch meat, cheese, and a couple veggies between two slices of bread. I know Smucker’s PB&J are one of the best inventions in the world but after 30 in three days you should look to cut back on those also.
- Transportation is easy for wraps. If I want to take a wrap on the go, I can easily roll it up in some foil and take off. It’s not as complicated as hoping my sandwich doesn’t fall apart or get soggy in my Ziploc bag.
- Wraps keep better. If something comes up and you do end up going to lunch with coworkers or clients your wrap won’t be looking at you all droopy by mid afternoon. A sandwich is less than desirable on day two, whereas a wrap can be popped in the fridge and eaten the next day at no consequence.
Now I understand some of you may be skeptics because the only wraps you’ve ever had are those garbage excuses for wraps Starbuck’s turns out every morning. I’m about to set you straight and give you the super duper top secret formula for loving you some wraps.
My Favorite Wrap Recipes
Buff-alo Chicken (ha)- What’s in this bad boy?
Well, I usually start out by sticking to a whole wheat monster tortilla that you can pick up at your local grocery store and throwing that on a plate.
The biggest challenge here is getting a hold of some halfway decent chicken strips that are healthy enough they won’t give you a heart attack before they hit your belly. I prefer Tyson 100% free range, non GMO type chicken strips. You can find them in the freezer aisle, and they are quick to microwave (you’re at work most likely).
Take a couple of those strips, microwave them until done and load them up with some Frank’s Red Hot (I put that sh*t on everything). Not too much obviously, we are trying to be semi healthy here.
I usually then lay out some romaine lettuce on the tortilla, followed by some tomato, avocado, and onion (red or white is your choice). Finally, top it off with a tiny little bit of ranch, if you can find some dairy free or low fat ranch this is generally healthier and doesn’t sacrifice much flavor.
Asian Sesame Chicken Salad- This is actually my favorite.
Lay out a whole wheat tortilla and get to work. For this the best option is canned chicken breast. You can eat it cold as it’s pre-cooked and easy to store in your desk.
You can also use canned chicken breast as a paper weight for those moments when your “I’m always hot” coworker decides to crank his fan all the way up midday. I digress…
First I take some cabbage and cut it into thin strips, throw it on the tortilla. Crush up some oriental top ramen, take about a quarter to half of the seasoning packet and sprinkle it on top of the little bit of ramen you put in the wrap. Now shred the canned chicken breast if it’s in chunks and throw that in there.
Next, chop up some really small green onions and throw those in there along with some shredded red cabbage if you’ve got it. Generally this is the part I top it off with some light Asian Sesame Dressing from Safeway. Pre-made stuff is usually fine unless you want to get all crazy and snag some low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Don’t overdo it or your daily intake of sodium will be met with just this wrap.
Remember these recipes are meant to be quick, filling, and mostly healthy. Feel free to edit or add to them as you feel the need.
BLTA- Pretty self explanatory, but I generally use a spinach wrap for this one.
Sometimes I’ll use spinach instead of lettuce too because I feel healthier when I’m grubbing on spinach than I do iceberg lettuce.
Bacon. Cook this stuff at home. Wrap it in foil, transport to work and throw it in the fridge for the week. I would suggest substituting your regular crispy pork bacon for some Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon (I don’t know why my favorite is Oscar Meyer).
The Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato you can usually prep at the beginning of the week because you use them for almost every decent wrap you’re going to make.
PB&J&B- But WAIT, what’s the B? Banana.
I am a crunchy peanut butter fan, and when I’m trying to pack on some pounds I generally use peanut butter as my fats. This is a good afternoon snack I’ve realized if I’m a bit too hungry for a handful of almonds. Spread some peanut butter on the tortilla, step one.
General jelly is fine: grape, strawberry, jams, Nutella, honey, whatever you’re feeling. Smear some of this on another part of the tortilla, step two.
Chop up a banana (takes about 14 seconds, that’s a record, I challenge you to beat it).
Throw the banana on the whole wheat wrap tortilla and then bam, you have a PB&J&B wrap that will be absolutely delicious and keep you full until dinner. Steps 3 and 4.
For more Recipes drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will most certainly fill you in on my Southwest Chicken Wrap, Greek Tzatziki wrap, and a couple others I usually make at work.
If you made it this far and you’re still listening to me (I’m about as credible as that great uncle spewing his political opinions on Thanksgiving) jet over to some of my other articles and let me know what you think! My recent favorite is about staying fit while you travel.
6 thoughts on “Work Lunch Recipes”
dude you’re a godsend.. lol I’m going to start making wraps left and right. I LOVE wraps too. With as much traveling as im trying to do lately I need to save every dollar I can and making my own lunch and making it cheap is PERFECT. thanks man!
Glad it was a good read. Hopefully some of these ideas hit the taste buds right.
Can’t complain about saving some dough either!
I agree with bringing lunch to work as it saves a lot of money! I tend to have sandwiches at work as there is a sandwich maker but after reading your post I think I will give a wrap a try too! Certainly agree that I can fit more stuff inside and probably won’t be as messy as it is bigger too!
Having the sandwich maker definitely helps. But hey, if you’re super hungry go after the wrap.
Hey, Dalton, you have some good ideas here. I agree you can save some money by packing your own lunch. That’s why I do it. I save where ever I can. Thanks for the tips on the wraps.
Thanks! Saving even on the small stuff like this really contributes to a healthy bank account that’s for sure.
Glad you enjoyed the article.