Last week my husband asked me, ”What should I eat for lunch at work?” My first thought was how come this thirty-three year old man, does not know what to have for lunch! But then, he reminded me that at his new job, he doesn’t have the benefits of paid meals or the ability to go home for lunch…so suddenly he has to fend for himself. As the new “wifey” that I am, I decided to take on the task of preparing healthy lunches for my new husband to take to work.

I know from working with my clients, having a healthy lunch is one of the hardest parts about keeping a healthy diet especially for those who work outside the home. Many people claim they lack time to prepare a homemade lunch and either opt for a fast food or restaurant prepared lunch, snack on various foods (usually non-nutritious) throughout the day and call that lunch, or they skip lunch all together and then end up ”starving” by dinner. Maintaining your healthy diet at work may be challenging, but, it is certainly not impossible.

brown-bag-lunchFirst, you must consider access to refrigerator or microwave. If neither of these are available, it is a good idea to bring foods that won’t spoil or to bring a lunch pack cooler.
In any case, some healthful lunches might include:

1. Turkey roll-up (few slices of turkey, mayo or mustard, lettuce, tomato rolled in a whole wheat tortilla), 1 cup sliced melon, 1 cup of plain or greek-style yogurt.

2. Chicken Pita (few slices of chicken breast with tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber spread), lettuce, tomatoes in a whole wheat pita), green salad with light dressing, 1 cup grapes.

3. Leftover Bean & Pasta Salad (1 cup leftover whole wheat pasta + ½ cup cooked veggies, ½ cup garbanzo beans, sprinkled with Light Italian Dressing), 1 peach, ¼ cup trail mix.

4. Tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread, 1 cup sliced red peppers, ½ cup applesauce + a few walnuts.

5. ½ sandwich & soup- Canned chicken mixed with mayo or mustard on whole wheat bread + 1 cup “Healthy Choice” vegetable soup + 1 cup mixed berries.

6. Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich on whole wheat bread, 1 cup baby carrots

7. Green Salad, steamed or grilled vegetables, 1 scoop of canned salmon, “Light” dressing, 10 whole wheat crackers, 1 cup plain yogurt + ½ cup granola + ½ cup berries.

These are just a few suggestions, but, there are many more varieties…just keep in mind a few key components- Lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, fruit and/or low fat dairy. Also, to save time and stress in the morning, consider preparing your packed lunch with dinner the night before.
It is amazing how a few extra minutes to prepare and bring a healthy lunch will affect the way you (and your loved ones) feel the rest of the day! Plus, it can save you a few extra dollars in your pocket!

Later,  my husband told me how thankful he was that I prepared him a nourshing meal! 🙂