You start the year with the best intentions to eat healthfully. Then you find yourself picking up the same old boring (and unhealthy) takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner? It’s the convenience factor. And the only sure-fire way to shake this bad habit is by prepping some healthy meals ahead of time — where you have chosen the ingredients and know that you will be getting high-quality meals. For example, these 17 make-ahead lunches that will get you through the work week.

Prepping or cooking ahead is a great way to save time and reduce the chances of falling back on takeout when you’re tired or short on inspiration. And it doesn’t have to be a big time suck, either. Choose a day when you have time to shop and prep — say, Saturdays. Steam some rice, pasta, couscous or quinoa. Chop some vegetables and fruits and mix them with olive oil and vinegar or citrus juices for dipping sauces and salsas. Bake a chicken or roast some beef or lamb in the morning and by afternoon you can be slicing and setting aside the meat for use in salads, stews, soups and casseroles, which you can freeze and take to work for lunches or enjoy at home after a long day. Toss the bones, along with some veggies and herbs, into the slow cooker to make bone broth. Divide your broth into one-pint freezer bags. Now you’ve got scratch-made stock for next week’s cooking!

It’s just one week in and you are officially a step ahead of the take-out trap. Preparing ahead of time has given you healthy and simple meals to enjoy when you need them. Go, You! (High five.)

Do you have a go-to make-ahead to share? Tag us on Instagram @britandco. Come on — you know you want to!

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