Food & Drink

A No-Fail Lunch Planning Formula with 5 Simple Recipes


In this previous post, we shared our strategy for shopping smarter at grocery stores. We were thrilled by your responses and how you applied the formula to your own lives! One question that repeatedly surfaced, and one we often ask ourselves, is how to shop smarter for the lunches we eat during the oh-so-hectic work week. So we went back to the drawing board, tested, tried, and came up with the following methodology that is loosely based on how fitness gurus plan and prepare their meals in advance. Hopefully this will save you time at the grocery store, and keep you full and fed during lunchtime! 

The Formula

2 proteins: Order one type of deli meat and choose a pre-marinated protein (fish, chicken, steak, etc.) from the butcher
2 veggies: Select one seasonal vegetable from the produce section and another type from the frozen food aisle
1 type of fruit: Consider versatile fruits such as apples or oranges that can be easily eaten as a snack or thrown in a salad
Flavors: Select a variety of herbs, spices, citrus, and/or garlic that complement the protein
Canvas: Whole lettuce leaves and wraps are an easy canvas to build lunches. Substitue with other breads and grains.
Cheese: Choose any cheese that complements the protein. Sliced and cubed cheeses can be used for a quick snack.
Smart snack: Choose one type of nut and one bag of chips or crackers that can be easily portioned over the course of the week.

The Process

  1. Using the formula above, shop for ingredients that complent one another and can be used in at least two ways. For instance, frozen corn can be used as a topping as well as the base of a salad.
  2. Set aside 2-3 hours once a week to shop, prep, cook, and assemble meals.
  3. Use the protein as a starting point when brainstorming possible combinations and build from there.
  4. Prepare a minimum of two meals (and up to five meals at a time) for the week.

The Ingredients

1 lb. of shredded turkey breast from the deli 
1 8 oz fillet of parmesan-crusted cod from the butcher
A bushel of asparagus
1 pack of frozen corn
2 Fuji apples
1 lemon
1 head of butter lettuce
1 pack of wheat wraps
1 4 oz. container of feta cheese
1 bag of roasted, salted pistachios
1 bag of pretzel chips

The Tips

  1. Stock up on as much of one ingredient as you want.
  2. Invest in glass containers or tupperware to stack and organize meals in the refridgerator.
  3. Increase the amount of ingredients if prepping for more than one person.
  4. Mix and match components to keep lunches interesting.
  5. Try to utilize all ingredients and be creative!

The Recipes

Monday: Turkey Wraps

1 wheat wrap
2-3 leaves of butter lettuce
A large handful of shredded turkey breast
A sprinkling of feta cheese

Place butter lettuce, shredded turkey breast, and feta cheese on the wheat wrap and roll. Serve with your choice of a smart snack. To serve warm, microwave wrap for 30-45 seconds.

Tuesday: Parmesan-crusted cod and corn salad

4 oz. parmesan-crusted cod fillet
1 c. of frozen corn, microwaved for about 45 seconds or until warm
1/2 c. roasted asparagus, chopped
Sprinkling of feta cheese
Lemon, salt, and pepper to taste

1. Place cod into a pre-heated 375 degree oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until fish is flaky but slightly undercooked. 
2. Meanwhile, toss corn, asparagus, and feta together in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. Drizzle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place corn salad and cod in a microwave-safe container and refridgerate.
4. Microwave meal on high for about one minute or until heated through. Enjoy!

Wednesday: Turkey, Pistachio, Apple, and Feta Salad

5-8 leaves of butter lettuce, loosely torn into bite-size pieces
2-3 slices of turkey breast, chopped or loosely torn
Handful of pistachios
Half an apple, peeled and chopped
Sprinkling of feta cheese
Salad dressing of your choice

1. Toss all ingredients except the salad dressing together in a large bowl.
2. Place in a tupperware container and refridgerate.
3. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss thoroughly before serving.

Thursday: Parmesan-crusted Cod and Roasted Asparagus

4 oz. parmesan-crusted cod fillet
Handful of asparagus
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedge

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. On one side of a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. On the other side, place the cod fillet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until fish is flaky but slightly undercooked and asparagus is slightly tender.
4. Microwave meal on high for about 45 seconds to one minute or until heated through. Drizzle fish with lemon juice and enjoy!

Friday: Parmesan-crusted Cod Tacos 

1 wheat wrap
2-3 leaves of butter lettuce
Baked parmesan-crusted cod fillet (prepared as above)
Corn salad (prepared as above)

Place butter lettuce, cod fillet, and corn salad on the wheat wrap and roll. Serve with your choice of a smart snack.


Let’s chat! What other combinations would you make with these ingredients? Would you use this formula to help guide your shopping trips? Tell us below or via our social media handles with the hashtag #TheEverygirlCooks