3 Grab and Go Lunches You Can Make in Advance

Nutrition consultant Jayne Williams preps you for a busy week.

A former journalist, Jayne Williams used her investigative skills to solve her stressful gut issues. After ditching medicine for a successful wholesome diet, she decided to help others with their health by becoming a certified nutritional consultant through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her blog, Jayne Williams Wellness, is full of good-for-you recipes like superfood smoothies, avocado tahini sauce and guilt-free granola, and services like meal planning lessons, guided grocery tours and cooking demos.

When she’s not working with others, she’s caring for her family at home just north of Orlando, Florida—where mornings are hectic, to say the least. She turns to prep work to get everyone out the door, brown bags in hand. “Having lunch already prepared keeps us from making bad decisions in the heat of the moment,” she says. “Filling up on junk food or fast food only leaves us with a sugar crash.”

Instead, with a motto of “cook once, eat twice,” she preps brain-fueling lunches at night. According to Jayne, you should think of lunch as a power source to get you through the rest of the day and include the following three items: a lean protein (either of a vegetable or animal source), a healthy fat (avocados or nuts like raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews or macadamias) and tons of leafy greens for digestion and fiber (kale, lettuce).

We asked Jayne to create easy, uncomplicated midday meals that travel well to the office. Besides lasting overnight in the fridge, these recipes are full of variety—so you won’t ever get bored of a sad desk lunch again.

At lunchtime, you need a jolt of brain-boosting goodness to get you through your busy afternoon. This amazing salad jar includes healthy fats, proteins and colorful veggies to power you up for the rest of the workday.
 
Ingredients
 
Directions

Sweet/Tangy Dressing:

Equal parts-

- Extra virgin olive oil
- Raw honey
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Stone ground mustard
- Pinch of sea salt and pepper

Bottom of Jar:
- ¼ cup cucumbers, quartered  
- ¼ cup watermelon radish, sliced with a mandolin
- ¼ cup carrots, julienned or spiralized, just for fun
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Middle of Mason Jar:
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (make a big batch for other meals throughout the week)
- 2 tablespoons of garbanzo beans, black beans or kidney beans
- 3-4 slices of avocado (tip: roll in chia seeds or sesame seeds so they don’t brown as quickly)

Top of Mason Jar:
- Mixed organic greens
- Optional toppings: Roasted organic pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or sunflower seeds

 

Combine salad dressing ingredients and add 3 tablespoons of dressing to the bottom of a quart-size Mason jar.

On top of dressing, add (in order) cucumbers, watermelon radish, carrots and cherry tomatoes.

In middle of jar, layer the quinoa, beans and avocado.

Top the jar off with your favorite mixed organic greens and toppings.

Shake well!

Note: Mason jars store well in fridge up to 3 days.

This will soon become your “go-to” crockpot recipe for the week. Full of healthy proteins, fats and fiber, these tacos will give you clean, powerful energy to tackle the rest of your afternoon. Make sure to separate the toppings from the chicken and easily assemble when you're ready to nosh. Keep the extras for dinner!
 

Ingredients
 
Directions

- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons mild or medium chili powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4-5 chicken breasts)
- 1-2 limes, juiced for garnish

Serve with:
- Butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves, or gluten-free tortillas
- Salsa or pico de gallo
- Shredded purple cabbage
- Quartered avocado (tip: roll in chia seeds or sesame seeds so they don't brown and you get extra fiber)
- Chopped cilantro

Note: Use organic when possible.

 

Mix stock, garlic, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper in bowl.

Add chicken breasts to slow cooker.

Pour mixture over the chicken and place the quartered onion on top.

Cook 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low. To ensure they're cooked, chicken should reach internal temp of 165 F.

Shred the chicken (two forks makes it easy). Squeeze lime over chicken just before serving.

Serve in lettuce wraps or your favorite healthy tortilla and add your favorite toppings from the list at left.   

Note: You can store in airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

This bowl is a lifesaver when you're super busy. It’s so easy to put together and contains the macros you need to supercharge your afternoon. Plus, it provides tartness, sweetness and crunch to awaken all your senses.
 

Ingredients
 
Directions

- 1 cup coconut or almond-based Greek yogurt, unsweetened
- ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup fresh raspberries or any other fruit in season
- ½ tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- ½ tablespoon sliced almonds
- ½ tablespoon shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon honey almond butter (see below for easy, make-ahead recipe)

 

 

 

Toast pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and shredded coconut in oven at 400 F for approximately 10 minutes. Be sure to toss around the 5-minute mark. These keep well for the rest of the week in a covered glass bowl.

Spoon Greek yogurt of your choice into a bowl.

Layer the blueberries and raspberries (or your fruit of choice) on top of the yogurt.

Add the pumpkin seed, almond, shredded coconut mixture on top.

For some extra protein, drizzle honey almond butter over the top.

Make-Ahead Honey Almond Butter

This easy recipe keeps very well in a covered glass container for up to 5 days.
Great to make ahead for the week and use in your favorite smoothie, too!

 

Ingredients
 
Directions

- 2 cups raw almonds*
- Dash of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

*Super Swaps: This recipe is great to follow for any nut butters. Simply swap out almonds for cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, peanuts, etc. You can also add in cinnamon for extra flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a medium bowl, cover the almonds with purified water. Add a dash of sea salt and let them soak overnight.

Drain the almonds and place them on a paper towel to dry.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place almonds on the sheet in a single layer. Roast for about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, grind the almonds until they become a fine powder.

Add the coconut oil to the food processor and continue to grind the nuts for 10 to 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

Add the honey and grind for another 10 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until the butter is smooth and creamy.

Grab & Go Style Essentials

Mara Pouch Wallet

 

Hopewell Top Handle

 

Mara Zip Around Wallet