Schooling at home? Working at home? These foods will help you make easy and quick at home lunches to keep you nourished throughout your day.
School. Work. Lessons. So many of the things that used to happen outside the house now are happening inside the house. What a change!
These days, instead of packing lunch boxes, my kids — they are 13 and 15 — tromp down to the kitchen to make lunch daily. Somedays, though, they only have 15 or 20 minutes to prepare and eat it (or they could eat at a different time — very early or later in the afternoon).
So what’s a family to do?
The key, we’ve learned, is to have easy, grab and go options at the ready. Here are some foods we like to keep on hand for quick at home lunches on those busy, busy days.
1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
We used to buy already hard-boiled eggs at the grocery store (so easy!) but after a couple of recalls, we’ve shifted to hard boiling our own. It’s simple to do so: Place the eggs in a pan and cover with water. The water should cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring to a boil on the stove. Then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let sit for 12 minutes for large eggs. Remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Store in the fridge and shell when ready to eat.
What I love about hard-boiled eggs is that they are rich in protein and other nutrients and can be eaten in many ways — sliced in half with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, made into egg salad, quartered on green salads, sliced in pita pockets, etc.
2. Deli Meats
From sandwiches to wraps to roll-ups, there are so many ways to use deli meat for lunch. And, best of all, it’s so quick and easy to do so.
One of my favorite ways to use deli meat is on a salad. Roll together a piece of meat and cheese, slice into 1-inch pinwheels and place on a green salad (also good with hard-boiled eggs!) and add dressing. It’s quick, easy and filling.
3. Sliced Bread
It seems obvious. But not everyone keeps bread on hand. However, when it comes to quick meals, having a loaf of bread is a boon — from sandwiches to eggs and toast, grilled cheese to French toast, there are so many ways to enjoy it.
Also delightful: Buttered toast topped with sliced hard-boiled eggs and greens tossed with vinaigrette.
4. Ramen Packets
You’re familiar with the cheap ramen that’s the cuisine of college students all over. But ramen is more than that. From the rice noodle variety that cooks in about a minute to ways to make fancy ramen easily, this dish can be the fast, nutritious, filling lunch you need.
Plus, you can dress up ramen noodles however you want — add a halved hard-boiled egg. Stir in veggies and herbs. Add some hoisin, sriracha or soy sauce to the broth. The possibilities are endless.
5. Cut Veggies
Fresh bell pepper slices, sliced cucumbers, carrot spears, celery spears. Spend 15 minutes prepping these on the weekend, and they will be ready to grab for salads, wraps or dipping in hummus.
In addition to the veggies that you dip, having some chopped scallions on hand is also advantageous. They are delightful sprinkled in soups like ramen, added to sandwiches and topping toasts.
6. Hummus or Other Dips
We love hummus and veggies in my house, and it makes for a great (and easy!) lunch. Hummus can also be used as a sandwich spread (a veggie sandwich with kalamatas and feta, perhaps? Or maybe a kicked up turkey sandwich? Yum!).
But if hummus isn’t your speed, choose a dip that is. Ranch dressing? Premade guacamole? Something else? Whatever it is, veggies and dip is a solid, fast choice for lunch. Plus, dips can also double as spreads for sandwiches and wraps.