One of the first things I tell my patients is to eliminate dairy foods from their diets. And I won’t…
7 Tips for Creating Easy, Healthy Lunches
Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Eating well is essential to your health and happiness. There’s no way around it. You can’t routinely eat junk and expect to look and feel your best.
This is why I always recommend making your meals and snacks count. Which means preparing most of them at home using nutrient-dense whole foods.
However, if you’re like me, you’re busy. And being busy can make preparing healthy meals seem impossible. Especially lunch because it’s often eaten away from home.
But I urge you…don’t let time get in your way!
Eating a nutrient-packed lunch will help you avoid midday crashes and sugar cravings. You’ll be less likely to hit up the vending machine, community candy jar, or convenience store. And this is good for your health as well as your waistline.
It’s also worth mentioning that making your lunch is almost always cheaper than eating out.
So for healthy lunches that are quick and easy, check out my tips and delicious recipes below. You’ll soon learn that a nutritious homemade lunch doesn’t need to be complicated or take up too much time.
Tip #1: Meal Plan
Meal planning isn’t just for dinner. Lunch also needs a plan. Because waiting until the last minute will most likely lead to a less than healthy lunch.
Thus, for each day of the week, plan your lunch. Especially before your next trip to the grocery store. This will ensure you have everything you need when it comes time to prepare and pack your lunch.
However, lunch doesn’t need to be planned or made from scratch. Which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #2: Use Leftovers Whenever Possible
Using leftovers is one of the simplest ways to put a healthy lunch together quickly. And the best way to ensure you have leftovers is to always cook an extra serving or two.
Now when it comes to preparing your lunch using leftovers, you can simply eat them as is or give them a makeover.
For example, if you make my Lemon Chicken or Spicy Seared Beef Tenderloin for dinner, you could easily chop up what’s left and add it to a salad. Or serve it in lettuce or cabbage cups topped with diced peppers, salsa, and avocado.
And if you pack your lunch, put your leftovers in your lunch container after dinner to save time in the morning.
Tip #3: Prep on the Weekends
I highly recommend preparing some meals on the weekends when you have extra time.
When it comes to lunch, I love preparing salads, soups, stews, and chilis ahead of time.
For example, prepare my Tuscan Spinach Salad (minus the dressing) and divvy it up into single serving containers. Then simply dress the salad with olive oil and lemon juice when you’re ready to eat.
Or, prep a big batch of my Pork Chili or Skinny Slow Cooked Chili. Soups, stews, and chilis are incredibly easy to reheat. They can also be packed in Thermos containers to keep them warm until lunchtime.
I also like to prepare my Meatball Poppers as well as hard-boiled eggs on the weekends. You can simply toss a few in a container with some veggies or berries. Thus, it’s helpful to have your favorite veggies washed, cut, and ready to go.
You could also prepare a batch of your favorite egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, crab salad, or shrimp salad with my Homemade Mayonnaise. And these salads can be served in lettuce cups, on a bed of pre-washed greens, or stuffed in an avocado.
Tip #4: Keep Your Kitchen Stocked
When there’s nothing planned or your partner or kids ate your leftovers, it’s helpful to keep your kitchen stocked with essentials to throw a quick a lunch together.
Here are a few I like to keep on hand:
Canned wild Alaskan salmon or sardines can simply be added to a bed of pre-washed greens or served in lettuce cups.
Grass-fed beef jerky is easy to grab and go along with a handful of berries or veggie sticks for a simple lunch.
Eggs can be thrown in a pan with some veggies and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. My Broccoli Egg Scramble is always a hit.
Shrimp cooks quickly. Simply saute them with a handful of fresh or frozen veggies and a splash of coconut aminos.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget Your Lunch
When you’re rushing out the door, it’s easy to forget your lunch.
To ensure your lunch tags along, put a note on the door or set an alarm on your phone. I’ve even heard of people putting their keys in the fridge. I’m for whatever works!
Tip #6: Plan Potluck Lunches
Instead of meeting a friend at a restaurant or going out to eat with your colleagues, plan a potluck picnic at a park instead.
You’ll gain much more than just a healthy lunch. You’ll be surrounding yourself with people that share your passion for nutritious food. You’ll also be outside breathing fresh air.
However, if it’s too cold or wet to eat outside, plan to meet at someone’s house or hold your potluck in a vacant conference room.
Tip #7: Pack Food Good Enough to Eat
Now while this may seem obvious, it’s important to bring foods you enjoy. Foods you look forward to eating. Satisfying foods that taste good. Especially if you eat lunch while at work or away from home. Because if you’re not thrilled with your lunch, you’ll easily be tempted to stray.
To Sum It Up…
I’ve laid out my best tips for always having a healthy lunch to prepare quickly or ready to go.
Whether you pack leftovers or prepare a big batch of chili on the weekend, having a plan as well as a stocked kitchen is essential.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What are some your favorite quick and easy lunch ideas? Post them on Instagram or Facebook and tag me so I can see them!
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