If you’re like most of the working population, preparing lunch for work can be a struggle. Many of us end up eating out on the fly, which can be unhealthy for our bodies, and our wallets.   

According to USA Today, the average American spends approximately $20 per week eating lunch at restaurants, which is over $1,000 per year (insert bug-eyed emoji here).  ABC News recently reported  that we’re also averaging longer work hours than ever before. Considering most of us barely have the time to catch up on The Bachelorette, is it any wonder that the last thing you want to do when you get home is prep lunch for the next workday?

There are SO MANY articles out there about prepping lunch,  it can make your head spin. But fear not, my fellow millennials!  We’ve got some tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you make healthy and affordable meals in minutes.  All it takes is a little planning! 

Start your prep the night before. While you’re relaxing in front of the TV,  cook a chicken breast or two in a skillet on medium heat and store in the fridge for the next day. Additionally, prepare a grain like couscous, rice, or quinoa. These all cook easily, and keep well in the fridge. They are also good for you!

Next, set your alarm for the next morning for five minutes earlier than usual to give yourself some extra time, so you’re not scrambling. Because of your night prep, packing a lunch in the morning is now a snap. Simply scoop some grains and your cooked chicken into a container, and you’re good to go!  If you’re feeling extra healthy, add some still-frozen veggies directly from the bag.  They microwave well, and the steam they produce while reheating will add moisture to your chicken.  Voila!  You have your lunch for the day, and there’s no need to join the long lines at Shake Shack.

Finally, remember that the fridge at work is your friend.  It’s a great idea to keep a small stock of healthy snacks in there in case hunger strikes throughout the day.

When it comes to bringing your lunch to work, it’s important to remember to do it your way. The real secret is to figure out what works for you, and stick with it. Before long, your stomach and your wallet will thank you.