I can’t believe it’s already back to school time. I don’t know about you, but after summer comes to an end, I crave this time to get organized and back on some sort of a schedule. School brings busier days and much more running around. Its funny, I kind of think of it as a new year, and I tend to make goals and ‘resolutions’ for myself.

Over the summer I get a little more relaxed with the food I keep in the house. I find that I’m not always eating the best, because while on vacation I like to splurge and eat things that I wouldn’t at home, because, you know, it’s vacation. I also have more snacks in the house because the kids are home and seem to always be eating. I’d like to say those snacks are always healthy, but that just isn’t the case.

Eating better is usually up there on my list of back to school goals. So, I use this time to make an effort to get us all back onto our healthier eating habits. I have learned that if I want to eat healthy, I need to have healthy foods planned ahead of time so I’m not distracted by all of the unhealthy options out there. Having my lunches made ahead of time and having them right there in the fridge waiting for me really makes my life so much simpler.

This meal plan makes 2 servings of 5 different meals. I’m not a fan of eating the same thing for lunch everyday, and with this meal plan I don’t have to. Even better, this meal plan feeds myself and my boyfriend all week! And if you have a little foodie at home, it makes the perfect option for middle school and high school kids, or makes lunch and dinner all week for a single eater.

Here’s what you’ll be eating:

All of these meals are low in carbohydrates, and don’t need heating. I actually like to eat them at room temperature, but they can also be eaten straight out of the fridge. These recipes are very forgiving, and can be adapted to most diets. I chose to make them vegan, so I have made substitutes to the Chicken Salad recipe (I picked up 1 cup of Mock Chicken Salad from the Earth Fare Deli instead of making my own), the Taco Salad (I used jackfruit instead of pork), and I omitted the bacon completely from the Mexican Corn Salad. Doing this has also made my meal prep faster because I didn’t need to cook and prepare the meat. But if you want meat, prepare them with meat. If you want cheese, feta would be a great addition to the Greek Salad as well as the Mexican Corn Salad.

These meals will last in the fridge with tight fitting lids for 5 days. I don’t combine the ingredients because the food will last longer if its not mixed together.

I have cut each recipe above in half to serve 2 people instead of 4, so remember to make note of that when reading the recipes and assembling your lunches.

Greek Farro Salad
Yields 2 portions

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked farro
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely diced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1 can (small) Earth Fare Diced Olives

For the dressing:

  1. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  4. Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine salad ingredients in a medium bowl and fold to thoroughly mix.
  2. Make the dressing, combining the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle dressing over the salad, or divide between two small containers to pack up with the salad.

Weekly Lunch Meal Plan
Yields 5 lunches for 2 people (or 10 small meals)

Shopping List

Refrigerated and frozen:

  • 1 cup Mock Curry Chicken Salad from Earth Fare Deli
  • 1 package Upton Naturals Chili Lim Carnitas Jackfruit
  • 1 1/2 bags Earth Fare Frozen Corn
  • 1 bag Earth Fare Cauliflower Rice
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Grocery:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Fare Salsa
  • 1 can Earth Fare Black Beans
  • 1 small can Earth Fare Diced Black Olives
  • 2 tablespoons avocado mayo
  • 1 cup uncooked farro from Bulk

Produce:

  • 4 green onions
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup red grapes
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 cup pineapple

Kitchen Staples:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar

Directions

You will need to see each recipe’s directions to make each meal, but here is a step-by-step rundown of how I prepped the ingredients for the 5 meals so it would be the most time efficient.

  1. Bring the frozen corn and cauliflower rice to room temperature.
  2. Make your farro and set aside to cool. (see notes on the grocery list if you want to substitute with brown rice)
  3. Rinse cilantro and let dry on a dishtowel. Wash and chop romaine and let dry on a dishtowel.
  4. Cut 2 tomatoes in half (cutting out the stem in each), scoop out the pulp, and let dry upside down over a paper towel. Dice the third tomato and set aside for the Greek salad.
  5. Make your fruit salsa. When you dice ¼ of the red onion for this salsa, slice the other ¼ of the onion for your Greek salad and set aside.
  6. Rinse and drain your black beans and olives and place in 2 separate bowls. Squeeze out your cauliflower rice using a dishtowel and place in a 3rd Put your thawed corn in a 4th bowl. Put your cumin powder in with the black beans and also with the corn. Add lime juice to cauliflower rice.
  7. Chop the rest of your veggies – bell pepper, scallions, cucumber and grapes. Set aside.
  8. Chop up the mock curry chicken salad a bit more. Then mix in your grapes and ¼ cup diced cucumber to the mock curry chicken salad.
  9. Take the jackfruit out of the container and shred it a bit more using your fingers.
  10. Now that you have all your food prepped, add the ingredients to your containers one recipe at a time until you are done. Be sure to leave enough ingredients for all the recipes because some of the ingredients are used in more than one. I used my shopping list as a reference to see what ingredients were being used in each recipe.

Note: Feel free to substitute your favorite dressing for any of the salads to save time. (I like to use Garlic Expressions.) You can also save time by purchasing ready made brown rice from Earth Fare’s Hot Bar to use in the burrito bowl and farro salad. If replacing, you need 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice per recipe.

 

 

 

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About the Author

Claudia Laffin

Claudia Laffin is a food photographer and owner of The Traveling Spoon Personal Chef, serving clients in and around Asheville, North Carolina. She has been a health food advocate and natural lifestyle follower for over 20 years. During that time she enjoyed working in numerous stores in the health food industry, including Earth Fare! Claudia’s desire to bring health food to more people motivated her to start her personal chef business. She loves cooking healthy, organic, non processed and delicious food for busy families in their own homes and helping them find a path to a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see what new things she’s cooking up!