Working from home takes plenty of discipline in order to stay on track while meeting your personal productivity goals. Lunchtime can be a major pitfall for those who are home during the day since it’s easy to get lost in the task of prepping and eating. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save time so you can stay on task. Give these simple yet helpful tips a try and see how the extra minutes can really add up for a better lunch break.
Without a solid plan in place for your week, you’ll find yourself wasting precious time as you try to decide what to fix for your midday meal. Save time and money by creating a menu for the week ahead. Put it on your calendar, write it in a notebook or make a list on your favorite organizational app. Whatever method you choose, you’ll be more organized so you can make the most of your lunch break. It’s a great way to stick to a healthier diet as well.
Prep for the Week
Once you’ve crafted your menu, survey the fridge and pantry and make a grocery store run. Then, start prepping foods in advance so they’re easy to grab during the work week. Wash and chop fruits and veggies, boil a few eggs, make some smoothie kits or cook a big batch of your favorite soup. With a lot of the prep work out of the way, putting a complete lunch together will be a lot faster.
Set a Daily Schedule
Sticking with a routine can help make every part of your day much more efficient. Your lunch break should happen at the same time every day. Even if your schedule varies, try to keep the duration the same as well. This can help you avoid the pitfalls of lingering too long over your meal or neglecting to prepare ahead of time.
Keep It Simple
A hearty lunch is a great way to give yourself some much-needed relaxation while rebuilding your energy stores for the remainder of the work day. However, a good meal doesn’t have to be complex. Sometimes, the simplest ingredients and choices can be the most satisfying. In addition, a lunch that’s too heavy can leave you feeling sleepy and sluggish for the afternoon. These classic lunch options are a great choice for giving you the pick-me-up you need.
Nothing says lunch like a good sandwich but there’s more to this category than turkey or PB&J. Switch things up by making a panini or quesadilla out of your favorite sandwich ingredients. Wraps can be a healthier alternative too. Swap out the bread or tortilla for crispy lettuce to add texture while reducing calories.
A fresh salad is certainly a healthy choice that can give you energy and nutrition in the middle of the day. To keep it extra tasty and satisfying, try to include something from each of these categories:
- Protein, such as chicken, shrimp, or diced lunch meat
- Something creamy, such as soft-boiled eggs, avocado or cheese
- A hint of sweetness from fresh or dried fruits
- Something crispy, such as croutons, nuts, seeds or tortilla strips
For the perfect bite, chop ingredients into a uniform size and toss together with a simple dressing. Since there’s no cooking required, salads are the perfect quick lunch.
A hot bowl of soup is both comforting and nourishing. It’s also a great way to get your veggies in and heats up in a matter of minutes. You can certainly keep your favorite canned or store-bought options on hand. You can also make your favorite recipe ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week. Freeze individual portions to make it last even longer.
This delicious and healthy drink isn’t just for breakfast. Smoothies are the perfect lunch item, whether you make a meal out of it or pair it with your soup or sandwich. You can make your own smoothie kits to store in the freezer by measuring out frozen fruit, veggies and flaxseed into individual freezer bags. When you’re ready, pour the kit into your blender along with the liquid of your choice and a little yogurt for protein and creaminess. In about two minutes, you’ll be ready to enjoy a nutrient-dense lunch.
Choose Quick-Cooking Ingredients
If you do decide you want something hot and fresh for lunch, try to choose ingredients that cook quickly. These particular foods are great options for when you want to cook in a hurry:
With the right portion size, most of these ingredients can be cooked in less than 10 minutes. For an even faster option that requires no cooking time, keep a rotisserie chicken in the fridge and you’ll have dozens of recipe options that are ready in no time.
Utilize Your Freezer
Stocking your freezer with some delicious lunch options can make mealtime a breeze. If all you have to do is pop something into the microwave or oven, you’ll have even more time left to enjoy your break to the fullest. Most sauces and soups freeze well and take very little time to thaw. Many companies offer delicious individually frozen meals that contain more natural ingredients for better flavor and texture. You can also buy a pack of your favorite frozen pizzas for a tasty mid-day splurge or opt for cauliflower crust options as a lighter and healthier alternative.
Set Limits on Eating Out
Grabbing a quick to-go meal can be tempting when you’re working from home. In some situations, it can be invigorating to get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery for a few minutes. However, be wary of indulging in takeout more than once a week. Not only is it more expensive but it can also be bad for your health. It can also be a real time waster depending on how long it takes to get your order.
Give Leftovers a Try
When you’re planning dinner for your household, buy a little extra at the store so you can make a few more portions. Then, you’ll have leftovers to enjoy the next day. This can eliminate most of your prep work for lunch since all you’ll need to do is plate and reheat what’s in your fridge. If you’re not a big fan of leftovers, try to choose more foods that really reheat well. For example, tacos are a great option since most of the ingredients aren’t assembled until you fix your plate.
Enjoy the Extra Time You’ve Saved
Once you’ve mastered quick lunch prep, you can enjoy the extra time to make the most of your break. Take a power nap, meditate or go for a walk to help you recharge your batteries and practice some self-care. Then, you’ll be ready to tackle the rest of the day with more energy and focus and less stress.
Lunch at home doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. Keep it smart and simple so you can use your time wisely and keep moving forward until the end of the day. For more tips on how to schedule your day for maximum productivity, check out this article on How To Break Up Your Work Day. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for even more helpful hints on how to make working from home work for you.