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7 Grab-and-Go Easy Lunches You Can Pack Fast
Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Do you spend an average weekday “running with your hair on fire”? If so, I know just how you feel!
Most mornings, I’m too busy getting kids out the door and searching for a pair of run-free nylons to even think about what I’m going to eat at noon. So over the years, I’ve come up with some simple solutions to the “what’s for lunch?” quandary. Here are my favorites; you can prep some of them ahead of time, while the others are easy to put together on a busy morning.
1.Easy lettuce wraps.
Start with organic, unprocessed lunch meat. (I’m a big fan of Applegate lunch meats, but there are other good brands, too.) Wash one or two large romaine leaves—or, for variety, try radicchio or cabbage leaves—and lay the lettuce out flat.
Place a generous serving of meat on top of the lettuce, and add some slices of avocado and a slice or two of tomato. Finish with your favorite condiments: mustard, a healthy mayo (here’s my favorite), or maybe a dash of olive oil and vinegar dressing. Fold the lettuce around your fillings. This is easier if you do it taco-style, rather than burrito-style—or put one lettuce leaf under and one over the fillings, like a sandwich.
If you want to make these ahead of time, skip the avocado and substitute shredded carrots, sliced olives, or any other ingredients that keep well.
2. Turkey-bacon-apple roll-ups.
When you cook bacon, add a few extra strips to the pan and then freeze them. That way, you’ll be ready to put this lunch together fast.
Spread out several large slices of preservative-free, organic lunch meat. Place a slice of the cooked, thawed bacon on top. Add apple slices and roll up. Use a toothpick or plastic wrap to help keep your roll-up secure.
3. Celery with almond butter.
How simple is this? Add a hard-boiled egg and a handful of berries to your lunchbox, and you’re good to go.
4. Bento box lunches.
Bento boxes are lunch boxes with lots of small compartments. They’re ideal for grab-and-go meals, because you can pack each compartment with a separate yummy treat. Check out these fun ideas from nomnompaleo.com.
5. Hot dogs.
Hot dogs don’t sound healthy at all, do they? But these days, Applegate and several other companies make organic, gluten-free, additive-free dogs that you can feel good about eating.
Cook one or two hot dogs the night before and do a quick microwave re-heat at the office the next day. (Be sure to poke some holes in each hot dog or cut them into slices so they don’t explode in the microwave.) Wrap your dogs in lettuce leaves and top with mustard, chopped onions, some diced jalapenos, or any other healthy toppings of your choice.
6. Meatball poppers.
Okay, these take a little time—but a single batch makes 24 meatballs and you can freeze them in small batches, so you’ll get lots of fast meals for a very small amount of work. Here’s my favorite recipe.
When I make chili, soup, or stew, I frequently double the batch and freeze the leftovers to make quick lunches. Other great grab-and-go leftovers include roast chicken, pot roast, and turkey. Leftover Scotch eggs are a fun finger food, too.
My best lunch tip: Plan ahead!
One of the easiest ways to take the stress out of lunch is to make sure you have lots of ready-to-go ingredients. Here are some of the best things to always have on hand:
Preservative-free, gluten-free lunch meats
Canned tuna and salmon
Meatballs (precooked and frozen)
Bacon (nitrate-free, precooked and frozen)
Lettuce and prewashed salad mixes
Celery, carrots, and tomatoes
With these basics on hand, you’ll always have something quick and nutritious to grab as you dash out the door. And that’ll make life much easier on those wild-and-wooly weekday mornings when you have way too little time and way too much to do!
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