Al Desko Dining

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Make-ahead recipes for lunching at work.

A lackluster midday meal can throw off your whole afternoon. What’s your best defense? Rebooting lunchtime with forward-thinking recipes for healthy eating all week long.

These recipes will help you say goodbye to #sadlunches. Designed to be made ahead, just grab ‘em and go before bolting out the door.

sweet potato pork salad

Mathew Kadey

Sweet Potato Pork Salad

PREP: 45 minutes
BAKE: 30 minutes

MAKES 5 SERVINGS.

This medley of great flavors, colors and textures will leave your sandwich-holding colleagues drooling with envy. This is exactly the sort of meal you’ll spend all morning looking forward to. Store salad and dressing separately; combine them just before leaving the house (or ideally, just before serving).

Each serving (with dressing) contains 630 calories, 30g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 58mg cholesterol, 349mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate, 13g fiber, 5g sugars, 34g protein, 27Est GL.

Lentil Chickpea Minestrone Soup

PREP: 15 minutes

MAKES 1 SERVING.

The genius about this soup-in-a-jar

recipe is that you layer in the

ingredients and then add hot water when you’re ready for lunch. Eating healthy couldn’t be easier. Scale up ingredient amounts to make as many jars as you like. Prepared jars can be refrigerated up to 1 week. Use wide-mouth canning jars (as they’re made to withstand heat) and remove jars from the refrigerator an hour or so before adding hot water to reduce the temperature change.

lentil chickpea minestrone soup

Mathew Kadey

Each serving contains 343 calories, 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 388mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate, 20g fiber, 13g sugars, 21g protein, 22Est GL.

Pesto Soba Noodles and Chicken

PREP: 45 MINUTES

MAKES 4 SERVINGS.

Nutty-tasting soba noodles are delicious when slurped up cold, making them a great option for a make-ahead lunch. This recipe livens them up with a sprightly pesto, colorful veggies and meaty chicken. Think of this dish as an unlikely match-up of delicious Japanese and Mediterranean flavors. Look for gluten-free soba noodles, made with 100% buckwheat. You’ll have extra Broccoli Pesto on hand, which can be used in other dishes or frozen for future use.

gluten free pesto chicken soba noodles

Mathew Kadey

Each serving (with pesto) contains 552 calories, 19g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 86mg cholesterol, 692mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 45g protein, 33Est GL.

Quinoa Blueberry Succotash

PREP: 25 minutes
COOK: 15 minutes

MAKES 5 SERVINGS.

This colorful adaptation of traditional Southern succotash makes a fresh and exciting lunch. Blueberries add a hint of seasonal sweetness, while Tahini Dressing delivers a creamy finish. Find frozen or canned lima beans in most supermarkets; frozen shelled edamame makes a good substitute.

quinoa blueberry succotash

Mathew Kadey

Each serving (with dressing) contains 458 calories, 21g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 564mg sodium, 58g carbohydrate, 11g fiber, 8g sugars, 14g protein, 25Est GL.

ball jar

Make & Take Lunch

These items help set you up for lunch success.

Ball Jars

Ideal for embracing the trend of stuffing make-ahead salads and soups in jars for easy transport and quick midday meals. $5.39 for 4 (16-ounce) wide-mouth jars.

bentgo salad container

Bentgo Salad Container

This roomy container holds plenty of food and comes with separate compartments for items like dressings. A strong seal means food stays fresher with no chance of spills. $15.

built new york freezable lunch bag

Built New York Icetech Freezable Lunch Bag

Say sayonara to space-hogging ice packs. Stash this roomy lunch bag in your freezer and its built-in freezable gel helps keep your packed lunch chilled for an entire workday. It folds up for easy storage in your freezer. $20.

stasher reusable plastic bags

Stasher

Bid adieu to single-use plastic baggies. Stasher is a self-sealing, airtight bag made of 100% food-grade silicone so you can use it to transport everything from sandwiches to fruit salad. These durable bags can be used in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. $12.

tastemade lunchbox set

Tastemade Prepd Pack Lunchbox Set

Forget uninspiring flimsy food containers. This one has three perfectly sized containers, a set of magnetic cutlery and a modern bamboo carrying box. $69.

sweet potato pork salad

Mathew Kadey

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Vaya Tyffyns

Upgrade your lunch box with these stylish multi-compartment vacuum-insulated containers that can keep your food warm up to 6 hours. $59 for a 1000ml container.

Contributing chef Matthew Kadey, RD is a registered dietitian and food writer. He is author of The Muffin Tin Chef (Ulysses Press), The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook (Ulysses Press) and Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sports and Adventure (VeloPress).