Packing lunches isn’t just for school-aged kids anymore. It can be healthful, wallet-friendly, and stress-free to brown bag it. These days, there are so many cool gadgets to pack your lunch in that you can bring almost anything under the sun, without fear of it spoiling or even needing to be reheated or chilled. The homemade healthy lunch has come a long way, baby.
Let’s discuss some of the cons of heading out of the office for lunch:
Traffic. That is enough for me to forego leaving the office right there. I have my fair share of bumper to bumper gridlock when it comes to my morning and afternoon commute that I am totally fine with hunkering down in the office for my lunchbreak.
Cost. The cost of an average lunch out of the office ranges from $7 (fast food drive-thru) to $20 for a casual dining establishment. God forbid you entertain some clients or colleagues. You could be looking at a car payment if you aren’t careful.
Health. Regardless if you find even the healthiest restaurant, you will never know all of the ingredients that are going into your lunch, unless you make it at home. This is not to say you can’t get a good-quality, health-conscious meal on the go, but when you factor in everything else, your best bet in knowing what ingredients are in your food is to prepare it yourself.
Now that we have discussed some of the drawbacks, let’s hit on a couple of the pros of packing your own healthy lunch.
Social. If you remain in the office during lunch, as long as you make use of the break room rather than hunkering down at your desk, you have a better chance of connecting with others you don’t get the chance to mingle with outside of the occasional email or water cooler run-in. You may hear about a new position that is coming available, catch up on some office news, or simply make new friends.
Avoiding road-rage. You can avoid those stressful situations when you find yourself mumbling profanities under your breath and laying on the horn, battling everyone else who is out and about looking for the fastest place to grab a quick bite. And if you’re like most of us and have one hour (or less!) to get from point A to point B and back again, your choices are limited.
Cost. I think we covered this one. Along with health.
So, what are some healthy lunch options that will leave you both satisfied and avoid tummy-rumblings at 3:00 pm? I’ve got ya covered.
6 Homemade Healthy Lunch Options
1. Bento Boxes
Bento boxes are all the rage these days, and you can pack a ton of healthy options in these portable containers. You can throw in some hummus and celery, cucumbers, almonds, and even a salad with dressing. Each can have their own compartment, so you will get a taste of everything, which you can switch out daily if you like.
2. Thermos Lunch
Thermoses are a huge hit when it comes to keeping hot foods hot. If you managed to have leftovers from the night before, but no microwave at work, you can heat these up in the morning and toss them in a thermos, and voila. A hot, gourmet-ish meal without very much effort on your part. I even enjoy soups and stews in a thermos. They really do hit the spot, especially on those cold, rainy days.
3. Salad in Glass Jars
Salads in glass jars. Have you seen these yet? You can literally prepare an entire salad in a jar and have them ready to grab and go. Just be sure to toss the wet ingredients in the bottom so as not to wilt the lettuce. (You are welcome.)
4. Roll-Up Sammies
Roll-up sammiches are great for both adults and kids. You can either use a tortilla or a romaine leaf and roll up your favorite meats, cheese, condiments, etc. These are great for lunch and can even be consumed quietly while on conference calls. I speak from experience. 😉
5. Meal-Prepped Lunches
Meal-prepped lunches are a huge hit for me. I generally do meal prep on Sundays and have ready-to-go meals on hand I can throw in my lunch bag and/or cooler at all times. These usually include a protein, carb, and fat (mostly protein), and I use lots of different spices so they pack some serious flavor. Plus, I can change up the flavor profile in an instant.
6. Protein Shakes
Last but not least, the piece de resistance, a protein shake. How much simpler can you get than tossing two scoops of one of our premium protein blends into a shaker bottle with eight ounces of your favorite liquid, giving it a shimmy shake, and BOOM: Lunch is served.
How to Pack a Healthy Lunch: A Recap
I am not saying you have to pack a lunch every day, but maybe three or four days out of the week, you can do this. Make it a treat to go out for lunch, so it isn’t the norm, and you will appreciate these times even more. Your budget will thank you, and so will your waistline!