Whether you are experienced or not at bringing your lunch, you might need to rethink your Monday-Friday situation. I’ve got you covered with tips and healthy lunch ideas that are also quick and easy.
In my Make Healthy Easy philosophy, lunch should be an easy slam dunk for healthy eating. For most adults, they are in somewhat of a similar routine Monday through Friday and therefore there’s a great opportunity to get into a healthy lunch rhythm too. But as we all know, it doesn’t always go down that smoothly. Unexpected meetings, emergencies, travel, deadlines, lack of planning, empty fridge, and kids can make it difficult to execute a healthy lunch.
I get it, trust me! But again, I think with some mental reframing, a little preparation, and quick healthy lunch ideas, you can begin to change your situation to, in fact, making a slam dunk for your health.
First, let’s talk about the mental reframing. For a lot of working folks (and stay at home people too), they let lunch just happen to them. Perhaps it’s not habit to plan for their lunch or it feels like just one more thing to-do in a day full of more important to-do’s.
Guys, I challenge you to think about your lunch as an important component to your success in the day! From an energy perspective, you probably need some fuel to boost you into a productive afternoon. We all know what it feels like to be hangry or to have an energy crash so deep you just want to go to sleep. That’s what you can prevent; a healthy lunch can do that for you.
I also encourage you to think about your lunch as a necessary meal for meeting your body’s nutritional needs. If you don’t get that healthy stuff in your body midday, you’re leaving a lot to accomplish in the later part of your day when you likely don’t need that much energy. A little planning ahead of time can also ensure you are eating in a way that supports your health. What does that mean? It means you are eating fruits and vegetables (because we are supposed to get 7-11 servings a day), powerful protein and maybe some nutrient dense carbohydrates.
With this kind of mindset, lunch becomes very important to your day-to-day success and your overall healthstyle. Don’t miss this opportunity!
Now let’s talk about how to prep for success at lunch. The most simple thing you can do is decide (and write down somewhere) whether you will bring your lunch/eat at home or eat out ahead of time. By spending a few moments engaging with your plan for the next day or week, you will automatically get some data about your current choices (i.e. “I eat out 4 days a week”, “I skip lunch at least 3 days a week”, “I bring my lunch 4 days a week). These conclusions are very important to help you recognize what may need to change to improve your healthstyle.
Then think about what you should eat for lunch. If you are a spontaneous person, plan a surprise day where you can choose on the fly. If you are a person who can eat the same thing everyday, I challenge you to plan one lunch that’s different. Make a list of needed ingredients and shop for them on the weekend. A little time spent prepping on the weekend will also make your lunch assembly go super smoothly.
Healthy Lunch Ideas
The next step is to decide what you will eat for lunch. This can be the hardest part. No worries though! I was on First Coast Living recently and shared some quick and health lunch ideas. Check this out and get the recipes below.
This salad takes minutes to prep and is the perfect “blank canvas” for any protein you would want to throw on top. I personally love the ease of smoked salmon and buy it for lunches regularly from ALDI.
This salad easily gets you 2 cups of greens. In addition the avocado is another serving of produce and provides healthy fat that also is satiating. The walnuts give a lovely crunch and give another boost of healthy fat and some protein. Get the full recipe here.
Choose any sturdy cabbage or leaves for your base of this veggie-forward roll-up. I like purple cabbage because it’s beautiful, it’s a cruciferous veggies (=super powerful for health), and it’s sturdy. Other good options are Napa Cabbage, butter lettuce, and even iceberg lettuce.
Stuff your leaf with hummus, guacamole, or even salsa, then add easy veggies like pre-shredded carrots and cucumber sticks. Lastly, choose a protein if you want one. Grilled frozen chicken, leftovers from dinner, cooked frozen shrimp, tempeh or tofu all work great. If needed, use a toothpick to hold your wrap together.
I know this one may seem weird, but I assure you it’s worth a try. It’s so easy to make, very filling, and packed with great nutrition. You can flavor this however you like but I do think frozen fruit works the best. Mash or puree the fruit first (in the milk if needed) to create a truly tasty pudding. Get the recipe here.
Greek yogurt is an awesome protein choice for a healthy lunch. And if you’re like me, and not always in the mood for a sweet version, you going to want to try this Savory Mediterranean Yogurt Parfait. It’s super easy to make and really yummy. I’m not just saying that either. This recipe actually won a recipe contest!
Bell Pepper Salad Cups
Mini or medium bell peppers are the perfect low carb vessel for a variety of filling salads. Most grocery stores now sell pre-made salads that are great options. Look for tuna salad, chicken salad, quinoa salad, bean salad and more! I recommend one with a protein source in it to help sustain your energy all afternoon.
Simply wash the peppers, slice them in half and scoop out the seeds. They store well in a container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Lastly I’ll leave you with my favorite containers for packing my lunch. They are collapsible silicone containers that store flat and are just perfect for lunch.
Do you have a favorite healthy lunch ideas? Share it in a comment below.
To lunch time!