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You Won’t Believe How Easy Meal Prep Could Be! And how Much Money It Can Help You Save!

You Won’t Believe How Easy Meal Prep Could Be! And how Much Money It Can Help You Save!
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Dealing with getting lunch at work can be a real downer. If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be stuck with the often unhealthy and unnaturally large portions available at fast food joints and other restaurants.

If you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ll find limited options, and expensive ones at that.Leave your days of $12 salads behind by doing meal prep in advance so you can bring your own healthy — and delicious — lunch to work every day.

How to Meal Prep Like a Pro

The key to getting started with meal prepping is to not try to do too much too fast. If you’re accustomed to never packing a lunch, start with prepping a couple of days a week. Once it becomes a habit you can work on packing lunches every day.

Think about what kinds of foods you like to eat that can be eaten cold or easily reheated. Because we’re talking healthy lunches, think about salads, soups, grain dishes, beans, sandwiches and wraps. We’ve got 10 great recipes to get you started below, but you’ll definitely do better sticking to your healthy lunch plan if you’re making things you like.

Another great idea is to choose items that will freeze well. Many soups, grains and beans do well in the freezer, so you can make a big batch and freeze it in lunch-sized portions to be pulled out in future weeks. Score!

Check your kitchen for supplies you can repurpose to help with your meal prep. You’ll need small plastic or glass food storage containers (Mason jars are excellent for this purpose). You may also want a bento box or divided lunch box if your meal will consist of multiple items. They’re also adorable.

Prepping once for the whole week of healthy lunches is a great habit to get into, and a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon or evening. But be aware of food safety and don’t keep foods for too long after you prepare them.

How long can you keep your food?

Salads will be best in the day or two after you make them. Meat can hold in the fridge for three or four days. Vegetarian items can go longer, and things that have been kept in the freezer are good for at least six months in cold storage and for a few days after thawing.

Here are some great starter recipes to get you excited about meal prep and healthy eating.

Mason Jar Salads

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    Maybe the classic meal prep lunch is the Mason jar salad. There’s a good reason for that: they are cute, easy to make and you can make a great variety of salads, both with greens and with pasta, by following this same basic structure.

    Organize Yourself Skinny has the lowdown on what makes a Mason jar salad work — basically, you put the dressing on the bottom, then some hard-vegetable barrier between the dressing and the greens or pasta — and links to more than a dozen ideas you can make yourself.

    Her Greek Mason jar salad, pictured above, calls for chicken but you could also sub chickpeas to make it vegetarian and to save money, though either way these salads are only a couple of bucks a serving.

    Homemade Instant Noodles

      Ramen is a meal you might have left behind in your poor college student days (or not), but you can give that classic broke food a serious and healthy upgrade with the tips from Serious Eats.

      This homemade instant noodle recipe is a perfect make-ahead for lunch. Start with partially cooked noodles and fresh vegetables. Add seasonings (and some fresh veg like chopped green onions on the side).

      When you’re ready to eat, all you need is some boiling water to make your coworkers jealous. The most expensive item in this recipe is probably the shitake mushrooms, but you’re still looking at pretty cheap eats. Keep scrolling down that page for other variations, too.

      Buddha Bowls

        A classic of vegan fare — I won’t tell if you add some meat — Buddha bowls are a great meal prep basic to have in your arsenal because they can be made a million different ways.

        Usually these bowls include some kind of grain or blend of grains, vegetables and often beans or tofu. The Southwestern Buddha Bowl from Simply Sissom adds chicken, but you don’t have to.

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        This recipe is a good one because she gives tips for making it ahead and freezing the components to make prepping it faster the next time.

        Once you’ve made a recipe like this a few times, you’ll start making your own grain bowls by throwing together whatever sounds good, what produce is on sale this week or what you have extra of in the fridge. It’s the ultimate use-everything meal.

        Chicken Salad

          If you’ve roasted a chicken or bought a rotisserie chicken for another meal, using the leftovers for chicken salad is a perfect way to get a make-ahead lunch on the cheap.

          This is one you should plan to eat within a couple of days of making it, and, of course, keep in the refrigerator or otherwise chilled at work before you eat it.

          You may already have a go-to chicken salad recipe, but if not this one from Add a Pinch is great because it is healthier than a lot of recipes out there. She uses yogurt along with the mayo to lighten it up, and adds grapes, pecans and cherries for crunch, flavor and nutrition.

          Lentil Soup

            There are so many cheap and easy soup recipes out there, and once you are comfortable with the basics of making soup, you can easily make a vegetable soup with just about any extra vegetables you have on hand. You can even use frozen vegetables if you don’t have anything fresh.

            Lentil soup, like this one from Alexandra Cooks, is a great place to start. Lentils are inexpensive and healthy but filling, and they taste great with just carrot, celery and onion and some spices. You can also freeze lentil soup and keep eating from the same pot for a while. Add her homemade bread to make this meal extra special.

            Check out the 20 cheap and easy soup recipes from Wise Bread for more great make ahead soup ideas.

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            Honey Sesame Chicken Rice Bowls

              Another meal idea with a lot of potential for variation is the Honey Sesame Chicken Rice Bowl from Sweet Peas and Saffron.

              Make it as is with chicken, rice, asparagus and broccoli, or change up the vegetables, grains and protein with whatever you have in the house. This is another great one for using leftovers, or cobbling together from pre-cooked meat and grains that are in the freezer.

              Thai Peanut Wraps

                Wraps are another great option for meal prep; just make the filing in advance and wrap it up the day you’re going to eat it.

                These Thai Peanut Wraps are colorful, healthy and full of flavor, and give you a good starting point for entry into the world of wraps. As the recipe from Spiced is written, they’re vegetarian, but you could throw in leftover chicken as well.

                Lots of these meal options would also work as wraps, such as the Buddha bowls and chicken salad.

                Orzo with Butternut Squash

                  Pasta salads are an easy make-ahead meal that can be eaten alone or as a side dish, and it’s easy to make a lot so you’ll probably do both.

                  The Kitchn’s Orzo with Butternut Squash is a great fall-in-a-bowl dish, and you just have to reheat it a little for lunch to be ready.

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                  And any time you make any kind of pasta, planned leftovers are great to eat for lunch the next day.

                  Chickpea Shawarma Stuffed Pita

                    Anything with beans is great for meal prep because you can buy dried beans inexpensively, cook a big batch, divide into can-sized portions and freeze. Pull out what you need for the week and you can use your beans in a bunch of different ways.

                    Naturally Ella has a great recipe for Chickpea Shawarma, which can be made ahead and served with hummus and pita bread as a sandwich or salad. You can also make your own hummus to make the meal even less expensive.

                    White Chicken Chili

                      Your favorite chili recipe is a great meal prep option, and it no doubt will freeze well, making future lunches that much easier.

                      If you don’t already have a go-to white chicken chili recipe — which is a healthier option than many other meaty versions — check out this one from Serious Eats. It calls for soaking the beans overnight and cooking them yourself, which is an economical option that also makes them tastier. Roasted veggies add to the depth of flavor.

                      Featured photo credit: Robin Zebrowski via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on July 12, 2021

                      100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

                      100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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                      Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

                      By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

                      Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

                      83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

                        84 write random letter

                          85 use a rubberband

                            86 dorm smell bad

                              87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                                89 how to waterproof your shoes

                                  90 take a picture of the name card

                                    91 iron inside out

                                      92 old newspaper

                                        93 tumble try shoes

                                          keep a card like this

                                            SONY DSC

                                              94 soap bar

                                                95 make a hole

                                                  96 drop the battery

                                                    97 use a coozie

                                                      98 when taking a picture

                                                        use a clean dust pan

                                                          try a pants hanger

                                                            use your cellphone light

                                                              use a spring from an old pen

                                                                quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                                  user binder clips

                                                                    wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                                      put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                                        clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                                          use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                            doritos are great for kindling

                                                                              use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                                use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                                  freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                                    use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                                      almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                                        sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                                          unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                            cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                              remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                                turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                                  for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                                    how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                                      tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                                        place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                                          ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                            use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                              take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                                how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                                  put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                                    How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                                      user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                                        good sandwich guide

                                                                                                                          turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                            50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                              the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                                add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                                  38

                                                                                                                                    hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                                      stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                                        the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                                          how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                            the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                              use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                                to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                                  user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                                    a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                                      rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                                        use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                                          50

                                                                                                                                                            51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                              52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                                rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                                  kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                                    use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                                      58

                                                                                                                                                                        59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                                          60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                            hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                              Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                                hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                                  use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                                    if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                                      keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                                        If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                                          drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                            use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                              use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                                do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                                  when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                                    dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                                      put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                                        75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                                          use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                            pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                              78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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