Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.

Friday: “I’m going out to lunch again. Why don’t I make my own grain bowl?”

Saturday: “People are going to be so jealous of my homemade lunch bowl.”

Sunday night: “I still have time to do this!”

Monday: Swipes credit card for another $12 at fast-casual XYZ.

Friends, the DIY lunch bowl no longer needs to be an aspiration. You, too, can save your single-serving $12 and use your cold, hard cash – not to mention pantry ingredients – to stretch your budget into a week’s worth of interesting, easy and satisfying midday meals. Here’s how, starting with a Mediterranean option, followed by a few other global combinations.

Pick your genre. Grain or salad bowl? Make a pot of your grain of choice – brown rice, couscous, bulgur, etc. It will keep just fine in the refrigerator for several days. Ditto with mixed greens if that’s more your style.

Choose a protein. This would be a great time to pop an easy roast chicken in the oven; poaching a few boneless, skinless breasts works, too. Or just pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Lamb meatballs would be oh-so-classy. You can’t go wrong with chickpeas – home-cooked, canned or even crispy – either. Soft-boiled eggs are always welcome, too.

Get saucy. Now we’re getting to the part of your personal assembly line where you just say “put it all on.” Tzatziki is a natural fit; this recipe calls for parsley, but dill or mint also would be right at home. Or how about a tahini dressing? Make it even easier by snagging a squeeze bottle of tahini – no can, no stirring, just a fun shake. Harissa is one of the best spicy condiments going. You can make your own, but I have never had reason to when Cava (where you may already be spending all your lunch money) makes such an excellent packaged one that is available in stores all over the country. If you prefer your zesty kick a little milder, a Greek vinaigrette might be the way to go. Of course, hummus is a wonderful option, too.

Adorn generously. This is the place to add some crunch. Think about staples with a good shelf life: Pita chips, banana peppers or pepperoncini, carrots and nuts. Pickled onions take very little effort and pay off in flavor and versatility. Other garnishes to consider: Roasted red peppers (can’t beat the convenience of jarred), fresh herbs and cheese, especially feta.

Want a few more flavor possibilities? Step right this way:

ASIAN

Base: Any listed above.

Protein: Chicken (roasted, poached or store-bought rotisserie); baked tofu.

Sauces: Sriracha; coconut milk mixed with curry paste (homemade or store-bought); peanut dressing.

Toppings: Roasted peanuts; cilantro or scallions; wonton chips; kimchi (buy or make) or Asian pear slaw; mung bean sprouts.

MEXICAN

Base: Any listed above.

Protein: Chicken, as above; spiced chickpeas, as above; canned or cooked black beans; chorizo (or tofu chorizo!).

Sauces: Salsa verde; lime-juice-spiked sour cream; salsa negra.

Toppings: Queso fresco; cilantro; tortilla chips; pico de gallo or chunky salsa (jarred or homemade); avocado; cabbage slaw; pickled chile peppers.

INDIAN

Base: Any listed above.

Protein: Chicken, as above; spiced chickpeas, as above.

Sauces: Cilantro-Mint Chutney; lemon-spiked yogurt or raita; Pear, Lime and Cardamom Sauce.

Toppings: Mango chutney (store-bought or homemade) or fresh mango chunks; cilantro; pickled onions.