Healthy Workplace Lunch Ideas

The downside to the daily eating out can be an increase in overall calories per meal as portion sizes have gotten bigger over the past number of years. High fat, sodium and sugar as well as additives and preservatives can be another downfall of daily ventures out for lunch which may show as added body fat and overall weight gain over time.

What is the alternative and how can you have a healthy lunch that is not to time consuming to get ready for the next day? Here are a few ideas. First, whether you are single or have a family, leftovers are always a great idea. Yesterday’s dinner of cooked vegetables, proteins, grains, etc. can be put together into a salad or with extra chopped raw veggies. As an alternative, take those same cooked vegetables, grains, and/or proteins and stuff them in a pita or a wrap, add your own dressing or a good quality store bought dressing (usually found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store) and you have a super lunch that is easy to take with you to work.

No leftovers – no problem. The key to making healthy workplace lunches is to be prepared. That’s right – there is some prep work involved! This does not mean that you have to spend your whole weekend in your kitchen cooking for the following week. However, it does mean that you need to put some thought into what the week could look like as far as lunches go. Making one pot of something (soup, stew, chili, baked beans, roast, etc.) will be a good start as to what you can pack for the week. For example, let’s say you make a pot of chili – you can bring it for lunch one day with some raw vegetables on the side. The next day, bring a smaller portion and put with salad greens, cheese and even some salsa or mix with some rice and put in a wrap with some lettuce and cheese. Why not freeze portion sizes to be used a couple of weeks down the road? This one item can be used in many different ways and it is not only versatile, but also very healthy for you. You can make it with or without meat, with beans (that you like), and adding in any and all types of vegetables. You do not have a recipe for chili? It is as easy as going online and getting one. Again, it takes a little prep work on your part, but the benefits are great as you get to enjoy a healthy meal that will give you a steady amount of energy for the afternoon at work, and also save you money because you are not eating out every day. It really is a win-win!

Other healthy workplace lunch ideas include canned fish (tuna, salmon), hard boiled eggs, different types of salad greens (lettuce, spinach, baby greens), hummus, cottage cheese and soy products. These are all easy to purchase items that you can keep on hand in your fridge at home or at work. Still not sold on healthy lunch ideas for work actually working for you? There is the option of buying pre-packaged meals. It is very important that if you are going to go this route, you will want to check the quality of the product itself and make sure that you read the list of ingredients (avoiding additives and preservatives) as well as the amount of fat, sugar and sodium in the product. For instance, an adult only needs 1,300-1,500mg of sodium per day, and so if that frozen lunch item you picked up has half of that number or more, you may want to re-consider that choice. If you decide that pre-packaged meals are for you, it is still important to have some raw veggies, vegetable juice, nuts, and/or fruit as part of your lunch or as a snack in the event that you get hungry in the mid-afternoon as some pre-packaged lunches may not have the necessary ingredients for a balanced meal.

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Making the switch to packing your own healthy workplace lunches will be one that your body will thank you for.

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