We shared our first round of healthy lunch tips in honor of National Pack Your Lunch Day on March 10, but since today marks the last Friday of Spring Break, we thought it might be a good time to share a few more tips to get you back into the swing of things!
- Remember that packing a lunch takes planning. Look ahead and consider how many lunches you need and when you have time to make them. If you have dinners planned, can you use leftovers for lunch?Figure out what you can prepare ahead of time, or prepare in bulk. Bake several sweet potatoes together and keep them for lunches and dinners, or scoop the insides into a wrap with some salad greens for an easy-to-pack lunch.
- Salads are great healthy options, and if you want to make a more substantial salad, balance out the vegetables with grains or protein, such as nuts, seeds, quinoa, or wheat berries. When packing salads, consider consistency. Bring salad and dressing in separate containers, and if you're adding crunch, keep that separate until you’re ready to eat. If you just have one container, layer things so the crunchiest items are at the top (i.e. dressing in bottom, then lettuce, then veggies, then cheeses, then nuts or seeds).
- Make a Happy Plate (half fruits and vegetables, a quarter grains, and a quarter protein) at lunch, too! Try thinking of The Happy Plate as a way to plan your meals. If you have leftover beans from dinner, add some grains (rice? quinoa?) and veggies for a healthy lunch. If you have leftover fish, make fish tacos with tortillas for the grain, plenty of vegetables, and a side of fruit.
- Lastly, if you forget to plan, don't worry. Keep a few meals in the freezer (I like soups in jars!) or a few staples that you can put together quickly (some greens, cherry tomatoes, and a can of tuna?). If you're already at work, try to get to a grocery store and choose something fresher and cheaper than a restaurant, or just enjoy your surprise lunch out and get back to packed lunches tomorrow!