|When life inevitably gets busy and complicated, it’s easy to buy a quick, and not-so-healthy, meal for lunch. It’s even easier to forget to break for a midday meal all together. It’s worth dedicating time to make conscious lunch decisions. With greater control over your diet and more money in your wallet, packing lunches for work and school makes a huge difference in leading a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s inspiration for preparing a healthier midday meal. Odds are it will be tastier, too!
For moms and dads
1. Dinner round two
The tried-and true-packed lunch: leftovers. You’re already making it for dinner, so why not make a little extra and pop it in a lunch container? We will admit that eating the exact same meal twice can get a little boring for your tastebuds. If you have a few extra minutes to get creative, switch up the meal. If you roasted chicken or pork for dinner, slice it up as a salad topper for tomorrow’s lunch. Taco night? Take a few tortilla chips to dip in leftover fillings or make a taco bowl.
2. Bento boxes
These functional containers help you manage healthy portions while incorporating several flavors for a well-rounded, fulfilling lunch. Switch up your protein, grains, fruits and vegetables for endless combinations. Try the burrito bowl, Greek quinoa salad, asparagus pork rolls and baked tofu bento boxes from Fitness. Or, keep it simple with these ideas from The Zoe Report:
- Hummus, pita bread, cucumber and tomato salad, grapes
- Avocado, cheese and crackers, hard boiled egg, strawberries
- Roast chicken, quinoa salad, baby carrots
- Greek yogurt, blueberries, granola, dried apricots
- Tomato and mozzarella salad, olives, salami, almonds
3. Nutritionists know best
With help from two registered dieticians, PopSugar Fitness developed guidelines for healthy and delicious lunches that help you lose weight. Ideally, aim for 400 to 500 calories, 20 to 30 grams of protein, at least 8 grams of fiber, 50 to 65 grams of carbs (the good kind!), no more than 20 grams of sugar, and only 13 to 18 grams of fat. Lunches that meet these numbers? Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad, Spinach Feta Wrap, Butternut Squash Lentil Soup, Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad and these waist trimming recipes from Women’s Health.
1. Food on a stick
Make it a kabob and they’ll eat it up. Use chicken, pork, lunch meat, cheese, vegetables, boiled eggs—really anything! These fun entrees will give them a mixture of nutritious flavors. This mom created six easy lunch kabobs: pepperoni pizza, salami caprese, turkey club, chicken cobb, chicken quesadilla and BLT. Pro tip: use flat, blunt-edged sticks rather than the potentially dangerous pointy ones!
2. Ditch the bread
Try roll-ups to avoid boring your kids with traditional sandwiches every day. You can use wraps, tortillas, rice paper, lettuce leaves or even just the deli meat. Roll them around cheese, spinach, cream cheese, hummus, peanut butter and any other fillings your kids will love. Keep them excited about their next lunch with these sandwich-free lunch ideas from The Kitchn.
3. More bento boxes
While you’re preparing your bento box, don’t forget to make one for the kids! They’re an easy way to prepare fun and vibrant combinations for a well-rounded meal. As long as you’re mindful of portion control, you can throw in several fruits and vegetables, and even add a few sweets. Here are some healthy combos from Celebrating Sweets:
- Peanut butter and banana tortilla roll-ups, celery with cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate covered peanuts
- Turkey and cream cheese roll-ups, tortilla chips, blueberries, tomatoes, apples and celery with peanut butter and raisins, chocolate candies
- Ham and spinach roll-ups, cheese and crackers, trail mix, watermelon, dark chocolate chips
- Turkey roll-ups, string cheese, almonds, banana chips and dark chocolate chips
You’re never too old for a lunch box! Take your Fit & Fresh gear to work and send it to school with the kids. Don’t forget to use #LunchStyle to share your wonderfully tasty and nutritious lunch creations with us on social media!