Cooking is fun, but meal planning can be kind of a pain. Lunch in particular can be a real conundrum: I know that all the fast-casual lunch options out there are things I could so easily recreate in my own kitchen, and that packing my lunch is the cheaper option—and yet, I still find myself buying those overpriced and underwhelming grab-and-go lunches at least once a week, solely because of my failure to plan ahead. (And because I’m unwilling to piece together a mish-mash of office snacks and call that a meal.) I’m better about packing lunch than I used to be, but my meal planning game is forever a work in progress.
If you, like me, are always on the lookout for easy lunch ideas and meal prep inspiration, you’re in luck! SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven recipes that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. You can check out past weeks’ recipes here. All of the recipes have a healthy balance of protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs; and, they’re filling, and simple enough for beginner cooks. Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—sweet potato, kale, quinoa, white beans, snap peas, bell pepper, sunflower seeds, and fennel—plus some easy ingredient swaps (detailed below), all of which helps keep your grocery list short. There are four vegetarian recipes, one beef recipe, one tuna recipe, and salmon recipe, so you won’t get bored.
The number of servings per recipe varies, but you can easily halve or double each of them as it suits you. Also, you might want to choose just a few recipe and repeat meals for a couple of days (that’s what I do, to be honest!). If you cook one of the recipes or have questions, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!), or DM us—we love a good food pic as much as you do, and we’re always here to help!