4 Quick Ideas for How to Pack a Healthy Lunch
When the clock strikes noon at work, whatâ€™s your lunch plan? Do you order in, head out with the crowd or go to the break room for your lunchbox? Packing your own lunch is certainly more cost-effective than dining out, but it takes some extra work. Follow these tips to make lunch prep exciting, easy and nutritious.Â
- Pre-chop raw veggies and fruit the week prior and portion in storage containers. Chop cucumbers, celery and apples to pack with small containers of dips or peanut butter. Or ditch the need for a knife and make it even simpler: baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes and mini bell peppers are bite-sized and ready to portion. Itâ€™s recommended we get at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day, and planning ahead of time will help turn that goal into reality.
- Set up the slow cooker! Slow cooker meals are one-dish wonders that you can set and forget. Take your favorite chili, soup or casserole recipe and whip up a meal that will serve as the main dish in your lunch a few days a week (or into the next!). When itâ€™s ready, you can freeze portions in small, microwavable containers. Now you can have a hot lunch at work in just a few minutes!
- Prepare salads with hearty ingredients that get tastier as the week goes on. Kale, broccoli, lentils and cauliflower absorb flavor without getting soggy. Brainstorm dishes that you can repurpose a few days later. For example, dress a kale salad with sesame oil, rice vinegar and mandarin oranges in juice; top with cashews and sesame seeds. Add broccoli, cucumber, peapods or your favorite raw veggies for day one. Top with chicken breast for day two, and even use it in a wrap for a third meal.
- Keep a small stock of food at work just in case you forget or run out of time to pack your lunch. Vegetable soups and canned chili can save the day as main courses, but snacks are also important to have on hand. Skip the vending machine and stock your desk or the breakroom cupboards with cashews, almonds and sunflower seedsâ€”protein-packed power for the slow days. For treats, stash dark chocolate covered nuts, raisins or espresso beans. Everyone needs some extra motivation from time to time!