Dear Busy People … Here’s How to Do Lunch Right

{By Taylor Cartee}

Dear Busy People…. it’s lunchtime. What are you going to do?

Will you eat a highly processed “healthy” granola bar because it’s cheaper than eating lunch out? Or maybe you’re home, but you don’t want to interrupt your productivity to make a healthy meal. In my last post, I offered some tips for eating breakfast on the run. This month, let’s talk lunch.

I’m convinced that consistently eating a healthy lunch can be easy, and even fun. Here are a few of my favorite lunchtime staples, and some ideas for turning them into meals.

healthy lunches for busy people

Whole Wheat Wraps

Check the ingredient list to ensure that it’s 100% whole-wheat, and to avoid any wraps that contain hydrogenated oil or preservatives. Spread a little hummus or seasoned Greek yogurt on it and stuff with veggies, leafy greens, and lean turkey or chicken. These can also double as snack food- just add hummus with cumin and curry or chili powder or a thin layer of plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and honey. (Or nut butter and honey!)

Plain Greek Yogurt

This is essentially a protein-packed “blank canvas” of lunch food. Craving something sweet? Mix in a little honey or maple syrup and flavor with vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or cinnamon. Or season with spices like cumin, curry and lime juice. Turn it into a yummy, creamy salad dressing by mashing avocado, lemon juice, and a bit of pepper.

Lean Meat (my favorite)

I try to always have lean, nitrate-free sliced turkey in my fridge and frozen chicken breast in my freezer. The turkey works well for wraps or even on salads.

Veggies

Prepping fresh veggies in advance minimizes clean-up and also makes packing a lunch easier. Store veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, celery, etc in BPA-free plasticware, or in glass jars. Another option is to use frozen veggies, which pack easily and heat up quickly in the microwave. For a change of pace, buy mixed stir-fry veggies. Sauté in water, and then make an easy, healthy sauce of fresh ginger, low-sodium soy sauce, and a tiny bit of creamy natural peanut butter. Add scrambled eggs or grilled chicken for a good source of protein!

Salads

I’ll admit that I easily tire of salad. I enjoy salads more when I have variety in the type of greens. In addition to spinach, try arugula, baby kale, and mixed greens. Keep your salads interesting by adding fruit, hummus, avocado, or even quinoa. (just not all at the same time!) My current favorite is baby spinach topped with pecans and deli turkey, and a side of crock-pot mashed sweet potatoes. I find the warmth of the sweet potatoes is comforting on a chilly autumn afternoon, and the sweetness eliminates the need for salad dressing.

Forgot to pack your lunch? You can still eat healthy!

Hit up the grocery store salad bar, or find a health food store or co-op and try their homemade soup. If you eat fast food, my favorite is grilled nuggets and a side salad at Chick Fil A. If you order a side salad at a fast food restaurant, beware of hidden calories and dressings and processed toppings (croutons, granola, etc.)

What’s your favorite healthy lunch? Comment below! 

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