Plan your lunches.
Step away from the deli, get out of the drive-thru line, and put down that processed frozen lunch entree. Lunches are incredibly easy meals to plan, and doing so will save you calories and money while gaining nutrition and flavor.
Your lunch options will depend on your lunch facilities, so take a minute to think about it: do you have access to a refrigerator? A microwave? Toaster oven? Can you use a cooler if no refrigerator is available, or store a hot-bag or thermos? Once you’ve got that figured out, the rest is pretty easy.
Make a list of foods you like that fit those needs. Obviously, if you are completely without the ability to keep items cold at all (and aren’t allowed a cooler), your options are the most limited; but, their are still options. Nut butters sandwiches or wraps, fruit, nuts, baked goods, and many more foods keep just fine for several hours without refrigeration. If you can’t heat things up and can’t carry a thermos or warm bag, you can still take many things that are great cold.
Some of my favorite lunches, not including leftovers:
- Black bean burger wraps (pictured). I make up bean patties and toss them in the freezer, so I can just pull one out and crumble it into a wrap with whatever toppings I feel like!
- Home made hot pockets, stuffed with everything from fresh fruit to turkey and swiss with fig jam, from meatloaf to mac and cheese! The crust recipe I use is below, adapted from this recipe in Vegetarian Magazine.
- Miso chicken & shitake soup.
- Boiled egg, sliced with heirloom tomatoes.
- Pineapple tuna salad on baby spinach.
- Miso noodles, with shredded chicken (canned works fine) and some veggies.
There are all kinds of things you can use to fill out your lunch, too. Roasted almonds (which release leptin, the “full” hormone) sliced fruit, a side salad, homemade granola and yogurt…you get the idea. The list is endless, you just need to add a bit of creativity.
Planning your lunches for the week will help keep you on the healthy-eating track, and it’ll make you the envy of the office!
Hot Pocket Crust Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 Tbs. cold butter or trans-fat free margarine (or soy margarine)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 Tbs. apple cider or white wine vinegar
Get the mixing directions here, and while you’re at it, you should really try the empanadas. They’re amazing.