This is the week. This is the week you’re going to start taking a healthy lunch to work every day and it’s going to be just like all those pictures you see on Pinterest that make it look perfect and super easy.
It happens the same way every time: You have the best of intentions when Monday rolls around and, maybe you do actually prepare lunch for Monday and Tuesday. And then by Wednesday that sandwich is looking pretty drab and unappetizing, so you grab a Snickers from the vending machine to balance it out. And by Thursday you’re at the local burger joint because who could stand to eat that sandwich ONE MORE DAY.
So, here’s the truth. Prepping your lunch isn’t easy and it takes time and commitment. Maybe you haven’t been great at that, but that’s OK. Give yourself a break and realize you’re human, and sometimes humans just want a burger for lunch. 🙌 🍔
It’s when you start eating that burger, or pizza, or fried chicken every day that it’s no longer OK. It should be the exception, not the rule. Your lunch doesn’t have to be picture-perfect — just healthy. Not only do you eat more vegetables and healthier foods if you bring your lunch to work, you save money and build energy. Who couldn’t use more of that?
Make this week the week you stick to it.
Tip #1: Plan what you’re going to eat each day
We know, meal planning is not brand new advice. There’s a reason you’ve read it before and you’re reading it again: meal planning works! Taking just 10 minutes before the week begins to build a lunch menu and purchase all the foods you need will set you up for success. Build a variety of meal options, because as we identified above, having the same sandwich every day isn’t really working for you. 😉 Planning ensures your good intentions aren’t derailed because you didn’t have what you need, or because you didn’t bring food that will keep you full all day.
Tip #2: Eat the rainbow
We tell our kids this often, but we should heed our own advice. When you’re planning that menu, make sure it includes a variety of colors so you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Choose whole foods and fresh veggies and fruit — things that will keep for several days in the fridge. Consider some of these easy-to-pack, colorful items: apples, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, dark chocolate chips, almonds, unsalted peanuts, raisins, baby carrots, celery sticks, deli ham or turkey, cherry tomatoes, tortilla wraps.
Tip #3: Get a fun lunchbox (or two)
Lunchboxes aren’t just for kids anymore! Spend a little time finding a pre-portioned lunchbox that will allow you to include more ingredients easier, so that you’re not having to find small containers for every little thing. Bento boxes are all the rage. Some of them even include dip containers in the middle for hummus or dressing. Make sure to read the labels about whether they’re spill proof. And if cost-effective, consider getting several so you can master tip #4.
Tip #4: Prep it early
This really shouldn’t take any longer than an hour, but probably less depending on what’s on your menu. After you have everything you need, set up shop in the kitchen on Sunday evening and fill those preportioned lunchboxes. If you only have one lunchbox, this means you’ll be prepping every evening, but then it should take even less time! Just make sure to do it early, and not as you’re rushing around trying to get out the door in the morning. The more pressure you put on yourself, the less likely you are to do it.
Looking for some fresh lunch ideas? Pinterest is a great place to find recipes. We’ve added a few our healthy lunch board. Check it out!