Lunch is often the forgotten meal. I know just today I ran out the door to work, went to a few meetings, put together a report that was due, then at 12:30pm looked around and realized I forgot my lunch. Yes that’s right I had to take the walk of shame to the cafeteria and grab myself the healthiest thing I could find…a Powerbar and pretzels. It really was a pathetic lunch and the only good thing that came out of it was the idea for this post.
But…it got me thinking.
Breakfast and dinner are given so much attention. We all know eating a nutritious breakfast is a must for weight loss and I am sure we can all recite the importance of a wholesome family dinner around the table. However, for lunch we are most likely reaching for the kids pb&j scraps or measly leftovers and not even really thinking about it. Well I want more than the crusts off my kids pb&j’s and you should too.
Here are 3 tips to help you quickly prepare a healthy lunch.
1. Create a menu plan that includes lunches.
Most menu plans that I come across only have dinners listed. Most people count on eating leftovers or whatever is around for sandwiches. This may work for some people but it doesn’t for me and probably not for most that are keeping track of their calories and nutrition. A menu plan is like your food and nutrition road map. It keeps you on track and moving forward to your destination. When you have a menu plan you wake up everyday knowing what you are going to eat. The question “What’s for lunch?” does not even exist when you have a menu plan.
Here is more information on menu planning:
2. Prepare food ahead of time.
I cannot count the number of times I bought cucumbers only to see them wilt away in the back of the fridge. It is shameful. I had every intention of using them in salads and if I cut them up I probably would have. Taking an hour or less on a Sunday to prepare the ingredients for your lunches will make it so much easier to eat healthy during the week. If you don’t want to take the time on the weekend then at the very least have your lunch prepared the night before. That way you will have one less thing to worry about during the hustle and bustle of the morning.
Here are examples on how foods can be prepared ahead of time for lunches.
- Fruit can be washed and trimmed (if needed)
- Cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables can be cut up for salads.
- Cheese can be cut to use with crackers.
- Tuna, chicken, and egg salads can be made and kept in the fridge.
- Chicken breasts can be grilled or baked to use for salads and sandwiches.
- Brown rice can be prepared to be used as a healthy lunch side. Learn more about freezing and reheating brown rice here.
Pretty much any meal that you choose to eat for lunch I guarantee can be prepared ahead of time in some way, shape, or form. The key is to make it a priority and do it. Trust me just try it one time and you will be a believer.
3. Keep lunch recipes simple.
There is no need to prepare an extensive gourmet meal for lunch unless you want to. Your focus should be on nutrient dense foods high in protein and fiber and relatively lower in calories. After lunch your body ought to feel satisfied not sluggish.
11 quick healthy lunch recipes:
See more mason jar salads and a “how to” tutorial here.
See all my recipes here. Each one includes make ahead and freeze instructions.
What are your favorite quick healthy lunch recipes?
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