“What are we cooking for lunches this week?”
Every Sunday my wife and I ask each other this question.
Typically, Sunday is our day to food prep for the week. However, sometimes agreeing on a meal can be tough.
I would totally be fine with very plain and simple meals that “get the job done”. BUT… My wife is pregnant and needs each meal to be delicious.. OR ELSE!
Courtney (my wife) and I have MANY cook books and have played around with lots of different recipes. Some we loved. Some we did NOT.
My Top 5 “Go To” lunch recipes
Here’s the deal. A meal cannot just be delicious to make our top 5 list. It needs to meet a few requirements first.
1) Quick & Simple
We have ZERO desire to spend all day in the kitchen. We don’t hate cooking but we’d rather be doing something else with our time. Like playing Yatzee or watching the newest show we are binging at the moment. Right now it’s Mad Men.
2) High Five Meal
This is something I coined not too long ago. In fact, I already grabbed the Instagram profile name, just in case I decided to use it in the future.
In order for a meal to be considered a High Five Meal, it must have the following:
- Healthy Fats
- Carbs (properly portioned)
- Mostly Whole Foods
Sometimes as we look through recipes we find that a few don’t meet these qualifications. We either don’t use the recipe or modify it to make it a High Five Meal.
Consistently making high five meals a part of our regular routine is something we focus on A LOT in our 10-week Habitap Challenge. If you want to dial in your nutrition as well as other healthy habits (sleep, exercise, stress, etc.), you should give it a shot. Read more about it here.
Well duh! We believe you should look forward to your meals. If you’re crying as you shove raw spinach in your mouth because “This is how abs are made”… Then I don’t want abs.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can make delicious foods that help us get closer to our goals without feeling like we are depriving ourselves.
My Top 5 “ Go To” Lunch Recipes
Chicken Pasta Salad
This might be my all time favorite. It’s super simple but absolutely delicious.
Talk about fresh and rich. This salad is bursting at the seems with flavor. On top of that, it doesn’t take very long to cook and it’s easy to double the recipe to make a full week of meals if you really wanted.
My wife always adds feta cheese to hers and I will sometimes indulge as well. It really does add a lot of flavor. Even without the added cheese, this dish easily makes my top 5 list.
Check out the recipe at Recipe Tin Eats.
Note – There is NO NEED to add sugar to the dressing. We don’t. It’s just as good without. In fact, play around with the recipe. Make it simpler by taking some ingredients out or add different spices to make it your own.
Slow Cooked Pork Mexican Bowls
You can’t go wrong with slow cooked pork. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love Mexican food. Done the right way, you can have a super tasty meal that’s also great for you. Talk about a win, win.
As I’m writing this blog post, I have a pork shoulder in the crockpot. My house smells like a Mexican fiesta.
Crockpots are the best invention since the wheel. Cooking meals has never been so convenient. Throw some seasoned meet in the Crockpot, set the timer and voila.
Here is a link to a recipe but to be completely honest, I wing this one every time.
Here’s what we do…
- Generously season a pork shoulder with salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Place in the crockpot fat side up.
- Top with 2 cloves of garlic, chopped onions and bell peppers. We sometimes add a splash (about a cup) of orange juice to keep it moist and add some sweetness.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or until pork is easily pulled apart with two forks.
- Serve with rice (we like the microwavable kind), Avocado, cilantro and squeezed lime. You can even add Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute.
Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe & Grilled Chicken
This is a two-part dish but the little extra time it takes to prepare is totally worth it.
Season some chicken breast and place on the grill until the meat is cooked to your desired temperature.
You can get creative with seasonings but I like to keep it simple with salt & pepper.
While the chicken is cooking you can get to work on the star of the meal: Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe.
This comes straight from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook, however you can find the full recipe online here.
I recommend excluding the cheese unless you’re looking to indulge a little. It’s still delicious without.
Another tip is to avoid any spaghetti made from enriched flours and pick a whole grain option instead.
Mix the chicken into the pasta or serve it on top.
Voila! You now have a new favorite dish.
Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato
I LOVE Buffalo wings and this dish is a healthy alternative to one of my favorite foods.
Besides the incredible flavor, this dish is SUPER simple with very few ingredients. If you’re looking to save some time, you should definitely give this one a shot.
You can see the full recipe from Paleo Leap by clicking here.
The only thing we add to this dish is a hefty serving of diced bell peppers. The more vegetables the better!
Burgers with Baked Fries
Who doesn’t love a burger? Seriously! I worked at In-N-Out Burger for over a year and never got sick of them.
Most, if not all, restaurants make some delicious burgers but they aren’t necessarily great for the waistline.
However, you can make them at home and feel good about yourself all the way until the last bite.
The key is picking healthy alternatives to some of the more indulgent ingredients.
- Bun – Use a whole grain bun instead. My go-to is an Ezekial It’s a little dry but it does the trick. You can even wrap in Romaine lettuce if you really want to avoid grains all together.
- Meat – The obvious choice is to use ground turkey but you can also find some lean ground beef that has far more protein than fat.
- Cheese – Chop up some Avocado and smear it on your bun. You probably won’t miss the cheese as much as you think.
- All the Fixins – Less is more here. Remember, we are looking for healthy alternatives to satisfy a craving. Save the candied peppers, onions rings and bacon for a night out. Instead, add on ALL the vegetables.
Now the fries… Cut some white or sweet potatoes into 1 inch wedges and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in an oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Done!
Voila! My top 5 “Go To” lunches.
We’d love for you to get know us better. If you haven’t already, check out my Mom and I’s post about why we decided to start this blog. You can read about it here.
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