As an overscheduled career woman, food often takes a backseat to my other priorities. If I’m up against a deadline and forget to pack a lunch for work, I either skip lunch or grab whatever is fast and close-by. Neither option serves me when my body craves nutrients from whole, fresh food, and I get caught in an afternoon brain fog. What a difference it makes when I prepare a fresh lunch from home ahead of time! Livestrong.com recommends a mid-day meal packed with nutrient-dense, low fat and low in calories food. Below are five healthier lunch ideas that are easy to make and pack for work – but also equally as delicious if you enjoy your meal at home;
- Mason Jar Salads. I love mason jars because they are cute and functional, especially when it comes to packing a lunch. You can prep several salads for the week at once in under 20 minutes. Add the dressing at the bottom of the jar, followed by salad toppings (preferably home grown or organic locally grown) and then lettuce on top. Select produce in a variety of colors to consume more essential nutrients. Take a look at Green Plate Rule’s salad combinations.
- Sandwiches. I don’t mean the classic, often soggy, PB&J. Think Goat Cheese and Honey, Chicken and Feta, or Turkey and Pesto – all on 100% whole wheat or sprouted bread.
- Quinoa. This grain – similar to rice – is a superfood and complete protein. Add it to your salads in a jar or cook with some fruit or veggies. A few of my favorite recipes are a Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Quinoa Salad and Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad. What to know about cooking quinoa:
- Always rinse it in a fine mesh strainer before cooking. It has a film that creates an “earthy” taste.
- Boil with vegetable or chicken broth instead of water for extra flavor and fluffiness.
- Burritos and Wraps. Start with a whole-grain tortilla and fill! The recipe depends on my cravings and food in the pantry, but a few go-to combinations are:
- Black beans, salsa and chicken
- Nut butter, bananas and flax seed
- Turkey, locally grown avocado and hummus
- Leftovers. After barbequing, I’ll throw the leftover meat and grilled veggies into serving sized containers so I can grab and go in the morning. Sometimes I add spinach and leftover become a salad. Voila!
Craving something sweet? No need to feel guilty about savoring a piece of dark chocolate for dessert. In fact, research shows that dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, and moderate consumption has even been shown to lower blood pressure. Most things in life don’t happen by accident, which is why habits like making healthy lunches and enjoying daily renewal in the hot tub should be planned. Please pin or share this blog post to remember these meal ideas, and bon appetite!