Do You Know What You Will Have for Lunch Today?
Lunchtime – a time of day most nine-to-fivers eagerly await. The afternoon can provide a much-needed respite to help break up a full day of work and is also a time to refuel. Fast food has its name for a reason – it’s fast food. Let’s face it: eating out during your lunch break might seem easier, but it’s almost always healthier to pack your own lunch because you can control what goes in it. Additionally, over time the effects of processed, high-fat, high-sodium and high-sugar fast food can take a tremendous toll on your body and overall wellbeing. Not only is fast food often unhealthy, it can be a poor choice for your wallet. Initially it may seem cheaper, but when the bills from a whole week – or month – of dining out are compared to what could have been bought in a grocery store and prepared at home, it is easy to see how economical it is to pack a lunch.
Taking time the night before to pack a lunch will contribute to saving both money and enhancing your health. You may even find the process to be fun and tasty, too!
When you only have five or ten minutes to spare, below are some delicious and nutritious lunch options to get you fueled healthfully and quickly. Buying ingredients the day before your workweek begins and preparing food in advance will help cut down on the time you spend throughout the week. This way, instead of spending time running out to buy food, you can spend your lunch hour enjoying your packed lunch in a park, taking a stroll or calling a loved one to catch up.
Pre-Packed Salads and Grain Bowls
A salad may sound boring, but when it is spiced up with grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein and a dressing – healthy has never tasted so good! Pre-cut your produce of choice, such as sweet onion, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce, cabbage, carrots or mushrooms, and sauté anything you want cooked. Place the ingredients in separate airtight containers to stay fresh. Then the night before, layer your takeaway container with greens, grains, vegetables or other toppings, such as grilled tofu, avocado or goat cheese, and it will be ready to take to work.
For a grain bowl, follow the same directions as above and prepare quinoa or rice early in the week and store it in an airtight container. Then throw all of the ingredients in a bowl and top with your dressing of choice. You can also prepack the dressing in a separate container to evade sogginess, if desired.
Hearty, Homemade Soups
Another option is to prepare a big batch of soup early in the week and divide it into individual portions so it’s ready to grab and go. Pair the soup with a multigrain roll and some fruit.
Sandwiches and Wraps
Buy some flavored wraps, such as tomato basil, spinach or whole-wheat. Cut up the fillings you like, such as vegetables and/or meat, in advance. Then spread some hummus, cheese or other garnish on the wrap and add your toppings. It’s easy, healthy and fast!
Other Fast Fuel Ideas
- A burrito with black beans, ½ cup of brown rice, 2 tablespoons guacamole and salsa, wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla
- Two slices of multigrain bread with 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and honey
- 1 cup of quinoa with 1 cup black berries and ¼ cup pecans
- 1 cup of sautéed or steamed vegetables with ½ cup tofu
- A salad with ½ cup roasted chickpeas with light olive oil and apple cider vinegar
- A protein shake made with half a banana, one scoop of protein powder, coconut milk and chia or hemp seeds
- 1 banana with 2 tablespoons of sunflower seed butter and ½ cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of berries, sweetened with raw sugar, honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 medium sweet potato with 1 cup of steamed broccoli, ½ cup of brown rice and ½ cup of black beans
- 1 apple with ¼ cup of almonds and fresh carrots with 3 tablespoons of hummus
Happy lunching! Let us know what your favorite healthy homemade lunchtime recipe is, in the comments section below.