One of the struggles I hear from others is finding interesting things to pack for lunch to take to work or elsewhere. Sandwiches and salads can certainly get old really quick if made without much creativity. However, I will say that both are simply blank canvases with endless possibilities, so as long as one rotates the fillings and toppings, both can be incredibly enjoyable! Just the same as when planning breakfast or dinner, it is important to incorporate a balance of whole grain carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to be filling and nutritious. A few simple examples: whole grain baguette spread with spicy mustard, Swiss cheese, an apple, carrots dipped in hummus // whole grain pasta, sautéed greens, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil // roasted vegetables and potatoes tossed in pesto, cooked chicken, an orange // almond butter and jam sandwich on rye, carrot and celery sticks, a pear // hard boiled egg, string cheese, crackers, chilled soup (classic gazpacho), berries.
When you have just thirty minutes, take the time to prepare foods ahead of time so that when it comes to assembling lunch, you have plenty to choose from.
Lastly, one of my favorite things to pack for lunch is leftovers. Meatloaf sandwich, stew, soup, chili, roasted vegetables, grilled salmon, and the list goes on. If I’ve dined out and brought home the remainder of my meal, then I simply take that to work. As long as you equip yourself with the basics like fresh/cooked vegetables, whole grains, and protein options, then the combinations are never-ending. Take a few extra minutes in the evening to fill you lunch bag, and your body and wallet will reap a great deal of benefits to come!