After a long time, many of us are headed back to the office. It’s been kind of nice not having to think about packing a lunch. It can be daunting trying to come up with ideas that pack well and will taste great. And if you don’t have a microwave at work, you’ll need to stick with options that don’t require reheating. It can be tempting to hit the cafeteria or go out to the nearest fast-food joint, but it’s hard to find healthy options and that can get expensive quickly. Here are some tips for packing a healthy lunch to get you started.
- Prioritize Health – The first key to staying motivated is to keep your health goals in focus. You simply have more control over any health goal — eating more fruits and veggies, lowering calories, eating less fat — by packing your own lunch.
- Leftovers for Lunch – One solution is to make enough dinner that you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. Put your dinner leftovers in individual lunch containers when cleaning up the kitchen.
- Batch Prep – If leftovers don’t appeal to you (or you don’t have enough), designating a weekend afternoon for lunch making can be helpful. Make a big pot of soup or salad and put it in individual containers. Then you can just grab it and go.
- Enjoy It – If you’re trying to eat healthier, be sure to still pack foods that you enjoy eating. If you’re not a kale fan and you make a kale salad, you might be the first one to jump up when someone suggests grabbing lunch out. You need to give yourself something to look forward to.
- Contain It – If you’re going to be bringing your lunch, find a container, bag or lunchbox that works for you and will keep your food fresh. If your lunch needs to be reheated, keep that in mind. If not, stainless steel is a great choice. If your lunch isn’t fresh, you’re not going to eat it.
- Find a Friend – Are you trying to resist going out to lunch? Find a buddy to enjoy your homemade lunches with a few days a week. And don’t feel like you must stay in the office. Seek out alternatives like a nearby park or museum. You can even take turns bringing lunch for each other – it’s fewer lunches you each have to make!
- Stock Your Desk – There will be times when you forget a fork, or really need some pepper. Keep a drawer in your desk filled with essentials. You can even put some healthy snack choices in the drawer as well in case something goes wrong with lunch. It’s still better than eating out every day!