When it comes to lunch, it can be all too easy to throw a bag of chips and a PB&J into a bag and call it a day. Or to run next door to grab an 800-calorie sub instead. In the mad dash to get out of the house in the morning, adding one more thing to the routine can seem like too much.
But eating a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be such a chore. Here are just a few nutritious substitutions you can make for a hearty, healthy lunch.
Instead of PB&J, try a whole-wheat pita pocket
You can prep this the night before and avoid soggy bread by packing the fillings separately, and assembling your pita at lunchtime. Fill the pita with healthy options like hummus, cucumbers, and grilled chicken, or go for something more sandwich-like with lean meats and your choice of veggies & condiments.
Instead of chips, try almonds or fresh veggies
Try buying a large bag of carrot sticks, or grab some celery or peppers if you prefer, and pack a serving of them for your lunch. If that sounds boring, add some light or fat-free ranch dressing or hummus into the mix to dip them in. And having some almonds to snack on throughout the day will help you stay full so you don’t miss the chips.
Instead of a microwavable burrito, try a taco salad
The night before, chop up some lettuce and add black beans, avocado, tomato, red onion, or any other veggies you’d like and throw them in a container. Toss it with olive oil and lime juice in the morning, and grab a small baggie of tortilla chips. Then at lunch time, add the chips to the salad for a satisfying crunchy lunch.
Instead of a sandwich, try a mason jar salad
Salads can be tricky to pack ahead of time, because adding the dressing too soon can make it soggy. But that’s been solved, thanks to mason jars. The trick is to add your dressing first, then layer the rest of the ingredients in order of wetness – so tomatoes or other juicy veggies would come next, then add a larger item like a protein to act as a buffer, then anything else you want to add (cheese, nuts), and the lettuce goes on top. When you’re ready to eat, pour everything out for a perfect crunchy salad.
It might also motivate you to pack a healthy lunch if you have leftovers from a healthy dinner. If you make something that keeps easily, store the leftovers in lunch-sized portions so you can simply grab some from the fridge the next morning. Anything you can make and pack in advance will make it that much easier to take with you before you’ve had your morning dose of caffeine.
What are your favorite ways to keep lunch healthy?
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.