Lunch to Go!
Packing a grab-and-go lunch will save you from ordering take-out, which often is loaded with more calories, sodium, and unhealthy sources of fat than a meal you assemble yourself. Plus, when you make your own, you can boost the nutrition by including a couple of servings of veggies and a piece of fruit. Yum!
Set a specific intention (I will pack my lunch the night before and bring it to work on Tuesday and Thursday this week), and check out these make-ahead tips to help you succeed:
Double or triple your dinner recipe. Pack a portion of last night’s dinner for lunch for the next day. Make this a routine on nights you cook or put together a meal.
Cook chicken in bulk for a lean protein. Use boneless, skinless breasts or oven roast a whole chicken and use it for the week. Slice the meat for salads and sandwiches. Make a chicken salad sandwich or wrap by chopping up the meat, adding light mayo, onions, crunchy veggies such as grated carrot and celery, and a dash of lemon pepper.
Wrap it up. To make a Mediterranean-style wrap, start with a 100% whole wheat tortilla or wrap and add a soy or tempe substitute or hummus, lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, avocado, pickled bell peppers
Boost the nutrition of a typical sandwich. Use 100% whole wheat bread or sandwich thins and add colorful veggies: sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, arugula. For added flavor, include fresh herb leaves such as cilantro and basil.
Say “yes” to greens. Use different types of greens and lettuce mixes like herb blends, arugula, spinach, kale, and romaine. The darker green, the more vitamins and minerals! Add your favorite lean protein, such as tuna, chicken, or turkey, or a soy-based substitute. Toss in some garbanzo, black, or white beans for fiber. Add a light sprinkle of nuts like pine, walnuts or almond slivers. A few dried berries bring sweetness. Top it off with olive oil & vinegar. Carry the vinagrette in a small separate container and add right before serving to prevent soggy greens.
Batch-cook grains. Whip up a large batch of 100% whole wheat couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or farro for a healthy lunch bowl. Use about two-thirds veggies to one-third cooked grain. Toss in some lean protein, nuts, and dried fruit like you would a green salad. Olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice is healthy way to dress the bowl.
Get cubed. For an easy, packable mini buffet, cube cooked chicken or lightly sautéed tofu, raw or blanched veggies, and fruit of your choice. Include a couple of toothpicks for utensils.