Photos: Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell; Courtesy.
Honestly, I like eating salad for lunch. For one, it feels great to know that I've likely hit my daily vegetable quota (about 2 1/2 cups, according to the USDA) before 2 P.M. Plus, salad takes a long time to eat, and sometimes that's exactly what I need to break up my day at work.
The thing is, a poorly planned salad of just raw veggies and some protein only keeps me full for a couple of hours, which means I'm raiding my emergency snack stash by mid-afternoon, and then again before the end of the day. Because while protein is important for satiety, carbs are also an important source of energy. While the vegetables in a salad do have carbs, they don't have many (unless you're adding starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, or peas). Whole grains add complex carbs to your salad, which "are released much more slowly into the bloodstream and will give you lasting, sustainable energy," Abby Langer, R.D. previously told SELF. Science-y stuff aside, grains are delicious and chewy and add serious texture to any salad.
Below are 12 grain salads that are specifically designed to be made ahead of time and packed for work. They all have over 15 grams of protein, which is the minimum amount that R.D.s recommend per meal to keep you full. Also, I created them all, so I can vouch for the fact that they're delicious, and that they're easy enough for literally anyone to make. Most only serve one, but often I'll prep a double batch of two recipes at the start of the week, so that I have four lunches ready to go. You could just make a huge batch of a single recipe—I've tried that, though, and I find that I'm bored by Wednesday.
Oh, and if you love these recipes? They're all from SELFstarter, a members-only site from SELF that gets you access to an all-new meal plan every single week (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack every day), plus custom grocery lists, shopping discounts, and our best cooking and wellness tips delivered to your inbox every Sunday. It costs just under $10/month, but you can try a week for free to see what all the fuss is about. Sign up here.
This story originally appeared on Self.
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