Photo: Jennifer Causey

When it's Thursday and you just can't stomach that chicken salad anymore, we've got advice to get you through the slump. 

Antara Sinha
September 21, 2017

On Sunday, you enthusiastically and proactively prepped five days of lunch and dinner. But now it’s the end of the week, and you can’t quite stomach the same reheated lasagna, yet again. Don’t toss your food—and don’t resort to greasy and expensive takeout. There are still ways to save money and food waste, and salvage that sad chicken salad.

Start a lunch swap with a work buddy

Hear us out. Remember when you were in middle school and you coveted your best friend’s Cosmic Brownie or string cheese every day in the cafeteria? Think of this as the grown-up, healthier version. If both you and an office friend meal-prep enticing lunches but tire of them around the same time each week, swap lunchboxes for the last day or two. Plus, we tried this out at our office and it ended up working out amazingly.

Condiments are your friend

Got some sad-looking limp salad that could use some sprucing up? Go condiment crazy. Fresh herb and citrus-based sauces can breathe new life into a meal you were getting sick of. Drizzles of spicy, peppery hot sauce can wake up flavors in dishes that have mellowed out in the fridge. Tahini and lemon packs a nutty, perky punch. Be sure to stay away from calorie-dense mayo and oil-based dressings. Instead, swap in Greek yogurt and you’re doing double duty: adding in a nutritional and satiating boost of protein. That same meal just got way more appealing and satisfying.

Stock your freezer with leftovers

Each week that you prep a freezer-friendly dish like lasagna or ziti, pack a portion or two in the freezer. That way, if you ever get truly sick of a meal for the week, you have a few, pre-made options to rely on. This is also a great way to prevent those last-minute calls for pizza delivery or pricey runs to your favorite local takeout. Be sure to do a routine clean out, though—the last thing you need is an overflowing freezer of food you'll never eat.

Rely on assembly-based meals

Instead of meal prepping complete dishes that leave you locked in a single flavor profile, spend your weekend preparing the basics instead. Baking some chicken gives you the option of throwing it into a grain bowl one day, and into a wrap or sandwich on another. Plain rice that works fantastically under a hot curry on day one can be whipped up into fabulous, fast fried rice on day three. Focusing on building blocks eliminates timely prep, but still lets you decide the day-of what mood you’re in—you won’t ever hit that mid-week slump again.