work lunches

What Works for Work Lunches

You’ve gotten out the door after a healthy breakfast, and you have a plan for dinner for your family tonight, but what are you having for lunch?

Skipping lunch can make you sleepy, set you up for an afternoon of mindless snacking, and have you heading home so hungry that anything in sight is fair game. But between getting ready for work, bringing the kids to school, and walking the dog, how will you find the time to pack a healthy lunch?

Here are some ideas for how to pull together quick, healthy work lunches that will keep you full until dinner.

Making lunch easy:

  1. Leftovers – If you are cooking dinner tonight, why not make an extra portion for your lunch tomorrow? It doesn’t have to be the main dish. Bean or whole grain side dishes make great lunches. Try the Brown Rice Tabbouleh as a side tonight with dinner, and as your main dish tomorrow at lunchtime.
  2. Canned beans – A can of low sodium beans can make a fantastic lunch. They’re cooked, they’re tasty, and they’re full of fiber. Try some black beans with salsa (hot or cold), a whole wheat tortilla, and some avocado. Or make chickpea salad on whole wheat bread: squish some chickpeas with a fork, add some chopped onion and celery, dress with olive oil, lemon juice, and a little mustard and season with pepper and some dill. Need a recipe to follow? Try this easy black bean lunch wrap.
  3. Snacks – There’s nothing wrong combining a bunch of healthy snacks into a meal, especially if it makes a busy morning easier! Pick one or two protein foods like a hard boiled egg, a handful of nuts, a container of low sugar yogurt, or some hummus. Add a piece of fruit, some whole grain crackers, and an easy veggie like baby carrots and you’ve got lunch.
  4. Take all the fixings – If you have access to storage space and a fridge at work, consider taking the fixings in at the beginning of the week and making lunch, well, at lunchtime. A loaf of whole wheat bread or a bag of whole wheat pita, a jar of peanut butter, a container of hummus, lunch meat or sliced cheese, salad greens (not just for salads anymore), baby carrots and a few fruits like bananas, apples and grapes are some suggestions for creating healthy lunch and snack combinations.

Whatever option you choose, make sure you keep your food at a safe temperature, so use an ice pack or tuck your lunch in the fridge when you get to work. Oh, and don’t forget a fork. Happy eating!

Written by Kate Terry, Graduate Student in Nutrition at Boston University