The best time-saving tips for weekday lunches


Words, images and styling Sally O’Neil // @thefitfoodie

Salad Bar by Sally O'Neil .jpeg

Our commitment to making our own weekday lunch is a bit like our relationship with running. When we’re on, we’re really on, but it only takes a busy weekend when we haven’t shopped or a lot on at work and then everything falls by the wayside. Before we know it we find ourselves in a food court, staring blankly into a glass cabinet and handing over the better part of 20 bucks for a little box of veggies we could have easily made ourselves…if only we’d been more organised!

So when Sally O’Neill author of the awesome new book The Fit Foodie Meal Prep Plan offered to share her best tricks to get on top of the weekday lunch conundrum we were all ears. I mean obviously, be more organised… but how? Here she shares her favourite shortcuts to transform your fridge into the salad bar of your dreams so you can quit your food court lunch habit for good.

We all love the food-court salad bar: container after container of different pre-cut salad components so you can build your own with all your favourites. You’re about to recreate that for yourself at home. Welcome to your new fridge system.


Meal prep is made a thousand times easier if you cut and chop everything and store it in containers ready to grab and go. Not only does it make healthy eating and food assembly that much easier, but it also helps ensure you don’t leave stuff in the crisper until it is covered in fridge slime weeks later. It also means you only get your knife and chopping board out once, instead of multiple times during the week. It’s honestly a game changer. SO… here’s how to turn your fridge into the best-looking salad bar you ever did see.


1. Clean out your fridge

Go to your fridge right now (assuming you’re at home; don’t go poking in other people’s) and pull out any rotten fruits and vegies, sauces past their use-by dates, questionable dairy products and other things you’re never going to eat. Toss it out.


2. Go meal-prep shopping

Restock all your favourite fruits and vegies, but only enough for the next five days or it’s getting relegated to the freezer. Flip through this book and, if something takes your fancy, work out what

you need to make it and what you already have.


3. Prep

As soon as you get home from the shops, you’re going to prep. There’s no point in squeezing it all haphazardly in the fridge and then pulling it all out again. Get out a chopping board and your favourite sharp knife. Grab your spiraliser too, if you have one. At the same time, grab some storage containers and set them out.


4. Chop

✱ Halve tomatoes

✱ Cut corn kernels off the cob

✱ Chop onions

✱ Cut carrots into sticks

✱ Wash celery and cut into hand-length batons

✱ Spiralise zucchini

✱ Wrap herbs in damp paper towels

And so on and so on. You get the idea.


Bonus points: poach chicken breasts and cook grains on the stove while you get on with the chopping. If you have space, you can also prep things like your Perfect roast veg, ready to toss onto a tray.


5. Store

Pop all your goodies into containers and pack your fridge. Got space for some dressings? Now is a super time to jump on that too. Grab a jar, throw in the ingredients for the dressing of your choice and shake. Store it in the fridge door. Now you have something resembling an EPIC SALAD BAR, ready to pick and choose. Want a snack? You’ll be more tempted to grab a handful of cherry tomatoes or radishes and hummus if everything’s already prepped.


Time-saving tip

Don’t peel fruits and vegies: the skin adds extra crunch and fibre. Just give them a good rinse under the tap. Ignore this tip for bananas: obviously their skin tastes GROSS



The Fit Foodie Meal Prep Plan ($35, Murdoch Books) by Sally O’Neil is available now