Today I am going to share how to create portable and easy to carry lunches that won’t have you running for the nearest drive through! In addition, I have put together a complete packet of recipes, prep instructions and a grocery list to kick start your first week of healthy lunches.
Eating a healthy and balanced lunch is essential for staying on track with your fitness goals. Eating a fat and sodium filled burger for lunch may fill you up for an hour or so, but once that 3 PM feeling hits, you will be more likely to run and grab another nutrient void snack. Eating a nutritious lunch will help even out your hunger cravings and keep you full and focused on your fitness goals. My philosophy has always been to eat fresh, nutrient dense food in a balanced way. This means keeping my life balanced by not spending 8 hours prepping complicated lunches, but keep it healthy and simple!
Planning is the key to success when it comes to healthy lunches. I had a friend once say that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Plan your lunches, make your grocery list, shop and prep and you will be setting yourself up to dominate your lunch game. If you have never done this, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. At the end of the article is everything you will need to have 5 days of healthy, delicious lunches with your grocery list already made for you and prep instructions!
Storing your lunch is equally as important as what you make for your lunch. Below are my top 5 tips for storing and creating healthy lunches!
1.) Keep your lunches simple. Don’t try to have extravagant lunches that require lots of work to put together. Focus on nutrient dense (meaning max nutrients for the amount of calories you consume), delicious ingredients. The easier it is for you to get your lunch from your fridge to your mouth, the more likely you will be eat it. Another important tip is to make food you will actually eat! This may sound simple, but don’t try and eat a raw kale salad if you are used to consuming a hamburger for lunch every day. Start by making a turkey burger and bring that for your lunch instead.
2.) Keep dressings and sauces on the side. Nothing tastes worse than a soggy salad or mushy burrito. You can find small plastic dressing cups at most restaurant supply stores or grocery stores. Put your sauces and dressings in there and thank yourself later! Also making your own salad dressing is a great way to save money and calories. Take a look at the back of the bottle of your favorite dressing. You will find it has tons of hidden sugars and fats.
3.) Invest in a quality cooler. If you have a fridge at the office, fabulous! But if you don’t have access to a fridge, or your workplace has an office lunch stealer, keep your meal at your desk in a cooler. What you want to look for is a cooler that fully snaps or zips closed, is insulated and has room for your lunch and at least one cold pack.
4.) Keep it pretty! We truly eat with our eyes first, so make your lunches look pretty! Not only will your co-workers be jealous, it will also help you avoid ditching your lunch for a slice of pizza. Take that extra second while prepping to arrange your tomatoes on your salad in an attractive way, or perfectly layering your sandwich. One of my favorite things to do is to use lunch containers with separate compartments, it keeps my food organized and looks so darn cute!
5.) Use hearty ingredients and be mindful of storage. It’s important when planning and building your lunches that you use ingredients that won’t wilt, get soggy or break down quickly. Use sturdy romaine and spinach for your salads instead of butter lettuce or special artisan greens. If you make a soup for your lunch, add extra broth to your portions before you refrigerate it. This way you won’t have dried up soup. And as yummy as spiralized zucchini noodles are, they just don’t hold up well to storage. Consider using cauliflower rice or whole wheat spaghetti in place of this. Keep any kind of tortilla or wrap separate from your filling so that you don’t end up with a soggy wrap (yuck!).
Are you ready to take a fresh and balanced look at your lunch habits and make the first step to improving your mid-day nutrition? With these 5 tips to get you started and the delicious meals and shopping list I have already planned out for you, all you have to do is shop, a little prep and eat a great lunch every day!!
Please note that this packet of information is designed with serving sizes for two people, so you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/hubby/wife or really lucky best friend can tackle a week of healthy lunches together!
You've got this!!!