November 05, 2019
Your alarm goes off, you push snooze six times (we’re not judging), and finally, you roll out of bed. You shower, primp, pick out clothes, and get ready. You get your kids up, ready and off to school. You take the dog for a walk, and before you know it, you’re out the door and on your way to work. You meant to eat a nutritional breakfast, but ended up with just coffee instead. You wanted to pack your lunch, but you’ll just head out and grab something fast during your lunch break. Womp! Womp! You tried. You had the right intentions to eat healthy and save money, but again, time got away from you. We’ve all been there. Mornings are chaotic, and if you’re anything like me, everyone else’s needs in the family end up coming before your own.
Making a quick, healthy and enticing lunch is something that anyone on any budget can do—as long as you have the right tools.
- Set a goal:
- I will make lunch three days a week. I will use Sunday to prepare for Monday and Tuesday, and I will use Wednesday to prepare for Thursday.
- I’ll take Wednesdays and Fridays off. Scheduling it in will make it a priority.
- Buy foods that are healthy and can travel easily such as deli meat, light cream cheese, wheat crackers, fruits, veggies, nuts and hard-boiled eggs.
- Cut your veggies and fruits as soon as you take them home from the grocery store. This makes it easy to throw some in a baggie or container.
- Make your lunch the night before. You can even make it on Sunday for the whole week. Keep it in the fridge, and grab an ice pack in the morning.
- Be sure to put a post-it note on the door as a reminder to take your lunch!
- Make sure to pack what you actually want to eat:
- Packing leftovers? Be sure it would still taste good after being microwaved. Microwaving leftover salmon the next day might not taste the best– not to mention stinking up the whole office!
- Making a salad? Don’t do it just because you think you should. Let’s be honest, you’ll end up throwing most of it away, and you’ll still spend $8 on that Chipotle burrito. Add things you like, and not just veggies. It’s a salad! Splurge a little. A few bacon bits can go a long way. Use beans as a base instead of lettuce, add a sweet potato, corn or pumpkin seeds.
- Keep it interesting:
- No need to pack a soggy sandwich every day. Pack simple things you love like sliced sausage, quesadillas, celery and peanut butter, cheese and crackers, pasta salad, sliced apples or cucumbers, or pretzels and hummus.
- Consider using a bento box. Bento lunchboxes are great because they can keep food cold, they’re easy to clean, and they encourage you to pack a variety of foods in the right serving size. And, you’ll end up saving on Tupperware and wasting fewer plastic baggies. These are my favorite, but there are many other options as well: https://www.yumboxlunch.com
- Hydrating throughout the day keeps you more focused, and makes you feel more energetic and less hungry.
- Pack something that makes you want to drink such as fruit-infused water (think blackberry and cucumber or lemon and mint), kombucha or tea.
In case of emergency:
Kids were sick last night? Dog had to go to the vet? Had to work late? Things happen, and we don’t always have time to prepare. Stock up on simple, easy things to toss into a bag such as: cheese sticks, nuts and dried fruit (you can buy them in single serving packages at Trader Joe’s), Greek yogurt and even Campbell’s Well Yes! Soups. These are healthy, quick, and inexpensive options to keeping you on task.
All it takes is a little prep work and some extra thought, and you’ll be eating healthier, saving money, and helping the environment in no time.