After working at home for several months, we’ve all grown accustomed to having more time to make fresh lunches every day. But now, many professionals are returning to the office, meaning it’s time to get back in the habit of bringing lunch from home. People don’t want to spend money on eating out… but they don’t want to bring boring lunches from home either.
Are you in this boat and worried about how to pack a healthy lunch? Read on for easy lunch packing ideas and advice on packing nutritious and exciting lunches for work.
Pick a weekly theme
If you’ve ever gotten stuck in a rut of having the same lunch on rotation, you know how monotonous it can feel.
“The idea of going back to a weekly meal prep schedule may seem like a nightmare for many who think that means the end of having complete and varied meals,” said Lauren Grey, Clinical Dietician & Wellness Contributor. “However, returning to the office shouldn’t make you forget about your good eating habits. You can still eat healthy out of a lunch box.”
One way to overcome lunchtime boredom is by picking a weekly “theme” and making 1-2 corresponding recipes. Love Mexican food? Try making tacos in a crockpot on Sunday and enjoying a flavorful, healthy lunch all week long at work!
Add a variety of food groups
To ensure your lunch fuels you as much as possible, make sure it contains multiple food groups, not just one. Including a mix of food groups can help you feel satisfied without the afternoon brain fog that accompanies less-healthy options.
“The key to enjoying your meals once you go back to the office is keeping things fun and interesting. How? Well, make sure you’re eating a variety of food groups and that you’re constantly mixing things up,” said Grey. “Ideally, your daily meals should contain one portion of protein (beef, tuna, chicken breast), starches (pasta, corn, bread), vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats (nuts and seeds, avocado, peanut butter). It may sound a bit demanding, but it’s actually really easy to achieve, especially if you’re committed to it.”
Remember if you can’t squeeze an important food group into your lunch, you can always pack it as a mid-morning or afternoon snack!
Have a yummy dinner on this week’s menu? Try doubling the portions and take leftovers to work the next day for lunch! This way, you spend zero time preparing lunch in the morning and enjoy a balanced meal to enjoy at work. A win-win!
A bento box is another way to put together an easy lunchtime meal in advance. Bento boxes usually include a grain, such as rice or noodles, as well as a protein. These main elements are accented by pickled or cooked vegetables, plus a few bites of fruit for a balanced meal. A great use of leftovers!
Learning how to pack a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be hard! Bringing simple, healthy lunches to work empowers you to be your most productive and stay fueled all day long.