Hey! I’m Talia Koren, founder of Workweek Lunch. Here are the basics:
I’m 27, I live in Queens, NY with my boyfriend and I’ve been meal prepping vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian and omnivore food for four years. Workweek Lunch started as a blog and Instagram in June 2016 and now it’s my full-time gig! When I’m not cooking, I’m traveling, binge-watching TV, snowboarding or attempting to make YouTube videos.
In 2018, I launched the Workweek Lunch Meal Prep Program, a weekly meal plan subscription where members get a new menu, grocery list and recipes every week with access to an amazing private community for just $7.99/month.
Want to get in touch with me directly? Connect with me: email@example.com
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Still want to learn more about WWL? Keep reading.
Before I found meal prep:
When I graduated from school (Ithaca College ’14) I had no idea how expensive feeding myself would be in NYC. And I didn’t realize how much what I ate affected my energy levels throughout the day until I had to park myself behind a desk for 10 hours as an assistant in the entertainment industry. Eating takeout every day wasn’t a good long-term strategy for staying out of credit card debt and feeling healthy. I knew meal prep was the answer… but I sucked at cooking.
I grew up in a “cooking house” (my mom cooked a lot) so I had some very general, basic knowledge of cooking. But like every novice home cook, I made every single mistake possible. Burning rice. Dry chicken. Soggy salads. Using the wrong knives. Using the wrong oils. I was almost embarrassed to eat my home-cooked food in public and threw out about 75% of the meals I brought to work. But I kept going.
Eventually, the number of meals I tossed decreased and the number of compliments from coworkers on my home-cooked lunches increased. It’s amazing what practice can do! Over time, my cooking got better. Every week, meal prep got easier and easier.
A few months in the meal prep groove gave me more than just extra money in the bank. I had more time during the day to get work done (instead of waiting in lines to get takeout). I had more time at night because I didn’t have to cook dinner or prepare lunch for the next day. My skin cleared up, my weight regulated (no more yo-yo dieting) and I had more energy. It just became my thing. The best part? I learned to love cooking. Like really love it. It’s easy to love something you’re good at. And that’s one of the main reasons I started this blog.
Why I started Workweek Lunch:
The idea for my blog and the name Workweek Lunch came to me during a vacation with my mom in Thailand. It was one of those “duh” moments because clearly, I had a skill that my peers didn’t! So I got to work on building the blog with the help Zero To Launch, a self-guided course about creating an online business.
I started WWL to teach and show other millennials how easy, efficient and cost-effective cooking can be. Meal prepping is the easiest way to eat healthy consistently without breaking the bank.
By making meals at home, we can customize every single aspect. We have full control over the flavors, textures, ingredients and portion size. And by making a bunch of meals at once, we eliminate the need to make fast decisions about what to eat. Instead, our homecooked meals just waiting for us, ready to go.
I wanted to help people experience the feeling of accomplishment that comes with cooking 12 meals in two hours. There’s something so satisfying about being able to open the fridge, pull out a home-cooked meal and head out for the day, knowing lunch is taken care of. One less thing to worry about. One more thing to feel good about in so many ways.
To the novice cook or someone who has never cooked more than one or two servings at a time, meal prep seems daunting. It’s this whole big project that requires planning, grocery shopping, having the right equipment and the ability to multitask in the kitchen — quite a tall order!
I started WWL to remove those barriers, break down the process and provide all the resources someone would need to get started and then make it a habit.
My food and cooking philosophy:
Meal prep is a tool to help you save time, save money and eat the way you want to eat.
This journey has never been about weight loss, restricting foods, hopping on the next fad diet or eating boring sweet potatoes and chicken every day. I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, and I have no formal training in health. I have no business telling people what or how to eat. Instead, I’m teaching people how to use meal prep to consistently eat in a way that’s most satisfying, affordable and healthy for them as individuals (aka intuitive eating). You won’t find “paleo” or “low carb” recipes here, or anything referencing restricting food to lose or manage weight. I believe it’s time to separate weight management from healthy eating. Meal prep isn’t a lifestyle, it’s a tool you can incorporate into your life however it makes sense based on your family, needs, preferences and resources.
My philosophy shows up in every recipe I write, where I offer extensive alterations and substitutions to show readers and members of my program how to customize their meals. I enjoy writing breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked goods and snack recipes for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, omnivores and gluten-free eaters alike. I explore many different cuisines and enjoy easing into new flavors in my own kitchen, rather than in restaurants.
There’s something about being hands-on with food in the comfort of your own kitchen that makes it easier (and fun!) to try new things. The members in the WWL Meal Prep Program tell me over and over again how they wouldn’t have tried certain meals or cuisines if it weren’t for my recipes! And they love that I encourage customization too.