19 Aug Healthy lunch ideas
This week, your “get out the door” timeline might have been slightly adjusted with the new school year. As a result, planning ahead for lunch becomes even more important to avoid the vicious cycle that goes, “Eeeeek, I don’t have anything for lunch, so I HAVE to go out to eat AGAIN.” And if you’re not careful, you might not have anything planned for dinner either, which might force you to eat out for dinner. It’s a tricky place to be.
Whether you prefer a meal, packed mason jar, or snack-style lunch, it can be tempting to skip lunch because you’re too busy, but in reality, taking time to eat a nutritious lunch can help you be more productive, avoid the mid-afternoon crash, and tame the post-work hunger monster that might tempt you to hit the drive through or raid your pantry when you get home. One more plus, if you workout in the evening, it can also ensure that your tank isn’t empty when it’s go-time.
Since planning ahead for lunch (and breakfast and dinner) is so helpful, let’s simplify your life and share some ideas with you.
Step 1. Decide if you will eat the same meal every day this week. Yes, ok then you have one meal to prep and plan for. No, then do we need two meal ideas, three, four, or five? Dinner leftovers are a huge bonus and timesaver (of course it’s better if the meal is healthy and worth eating again).
Step 2. Before we plan our meal/s for the week, make your food lists. Jot down a column for each category: protein, carbohydrate, and vegetables. Sound familiar? If you’ve boot camped with us before and read our blog, you’ll remember this concept vividly because it’s so important we repeat it a lot. Under each column, list foods that work for you and fit the category. Save this list for Step 3.
Step 3. Mix and match to build your meals by selecting one food from each category to round out the number of meals you decided in Step 1.
Even if you have go-to meals in mind for your lunch, consider the three categories mentioned above to ensure that your lunches are balanced and healthy. If you’re missing a vegetable, then add it in as a side to your lunch and call it good. Some folks find it helpful to keep frozen veggies or bagged salad at work for an easy grab and add to packed lunches.
For lunch meal ideas, check out this article by the blog, Jar of Lemons:
by Victoria Emmitt RD