Hi there! Happy Wednesday! I just returned home from dropping off the hub at the airport for a ten day trip to watch some baseball. I’m sure going to miss him but I am happy to be able to spend some time with family, friends and these guys while he’s gone.
Can you tell they are ready to go play!? Almost timeeeeee.
Anyways, my friends and I were discussing this topic a few days ago so I decided to share it with you as well.
For a lot of people, including myself, lunch can be the hardest meal of the day. What do I eat? What can I eat? What should I eat?
Not only that, but lunch looks different for every person. Work from home/eat from home, lunch in a cubicle, lunch with three kids under the age of four, lunch meetings, no time for lunch, lunch in the ubiquitous teachers lounge, lunch on the road, lunch in between classes, lunch in the cafeteria, lunch from a vending machine – see lunch is different for everyone.
Regardless of that, in today’s post I hope to help you take some of the stress out of finding or making a healthy lunch! Here are my top three tips on planning a healthy lunch, as well as a few of my favorite go-to lunch ideas. Not only will this help you become healthier but it can save you some money too!
Whole Foods Salad Bar is my favorite lunch on the road!
Top Three Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch
- Plan Ahead. You’ve heard it a thousand times: failing to plan is planning to fail. Don’t wait until your at your worksite cafeteria to decide what you are having for lunch. At that point, you will either be too hungry to make a healthy choice or there won’t even be a healthy choice available. Take an hour of your day (or even less) to plan out an entire weeks worth of lunches and stick to them.
- Find Balance. Protein + carbohydrate + fat. Yes, you need all three – even at lunch. Pick a protein whether it be animal based or plant-based, such as grilled chicken, turkey, beans, yogurt, quinoa, light tuna, etc. Add a carbohydrate such as veggies, fruit, whole grains, etcs. And add a healthy fat like peanut butter, nuts, olive oil, avocado. This combination will help keep you full throughout your afternoon. Your body needs all three to power through your day!
- Portion control. And by this I mean, pack yourself enough. So often I used to never pack myself enough for lunch. I would think, “oh, this small salad will be plenty.” Maybe for a bird. Lunch is supposed to fuel the remainder of your afternoon, not leave you starving an hour after you eat. You may think that you are doing yourself a favor and packing a tiny, “healthy” lunch, but when the vending machine won’t stop calling your name at 3pm, you didn’t do yourself a favor after all. Think about the amount that you would eat if you were at home, and then pack it to-go too. Give yourself choices, but not too many!
Leftovers make a delicious lunch!
- Build a sandwich: Whole grain bread + protein + load it up with veggies (lettuce, cukes, tomato, onions, bell peppers, etc.) + fat (olive oil & vinegar, avocado) + throw in a few sides
- Cook double the amount of dinner and turn it into lunch for the next day
- Mexican Bowls: Black beans + quinoa (or brown rice) + salsa + vegan cheese (or low-fat cheese) + avocado + a few whole grain crackers
- Smorgasbord Lunch: Hummus + carrots + celery sticks + bell pepper strips + apple slices + peanut/almond butter + Greek yogurt
- Prepare a weeks worth of your favorite soup on Sunday and freeze it in individual containers to grab-and-go each morning
- Peanut Butter + Banana Sandwich on Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread + Apple/Orange Slices + Greek Yogurt
- Make a huge salad: throw your greens in one bowl + all of your toppings in another bowl + your dressing in a third container. Mix it all together at lunch time for a healthy, light lunch
- Make a pizza for dinner, like this one, and bring a few slices for lunch
I hope this helps you! I’m off to workout and get my pups some exercise too! I hope you have a great day!