Packable Lunches


Lunch is the hardest meal of the day for a lot of my clients. We often spend our energy planning dinners, grabbing something familiar for breakfast, and then there’s…lunch. Throw in the pandemic that left a lot of people working from home – for some that made it easier at first (the kitchen is right there!) but then got tedious, and for others, it was harder (no more going out to lunch with coworkers!).

How can you simplify lunch?

  1. Always. Make. Extra. Food. Period! Have chicken tonight? Plan to buy and cook extra to use for lunch in a sandwich or salad. Chopping veggies for dinner? Throw some into a container to have with your lunch tomorrow. Rice from tonight’s dinner will work for a grain bowl tomorrow.
  2. Be a creature of habit with 1-2-3 Meals. If you have worked with us, you know our 1-2-3 Meals work. You get in the habit of finding 1-2-3 foods that pair together for sustained energy, but can also make easy swaps for variety or based on what is left in the pantry!
  3. Packing your kid's lunch? Don’t forget about yourself! The mess is out, keep the momentum going.
  4. Don’t forget about sandwiches! Try adding sliced veggies, hot peppers, and/or fruit (apple + cheddar + turkey is amazing!) between the bread slices.

Sick of simple lunches? Here are a  few ways to get creative:

  1. Make a hot lunch if possible. If you are working from home, throw that salad kit or shredded cabbage on a pan and warm it up and add protein. This creates a whole new dimension to your salad and makes it feel a little more special.
  2. Can’t use the stovetop but have a microwave?
    • Warm-up a potato (white or sweet) and bring different toppings:
      • Sweet potatoes + nut butter + fruit
      • Potatoes (either) + cottage cheese + hot sauce (or hoagie spread for something more)
    • Bring a pre-assembled quesadilla (cheese, meat, beans, veggies, etc) and warm it to melt the cheese.
    • Check your grocery store for to-go options like Starkist Tuna Creations, microwavable quinoa cups, etc.
    • Bring frozen meals (check sodium levels or reach out for ideas) and a side of yogurt with fruit.

Having a good lunch can make your energy levels and productivity soar the rest of the day. A balanced and energizing lunch can set you up to have a better workout if you exercise after work. A nutritious lunch can prevent that 3 pm slump and help you make better choices for dinner. Think about which one of these will work best for you!

Comment: What is a lunch that you look forward to? 

This is not intended for medical advice.


Post by Ashley Cully, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

For help with meal planning and building healthy nutrition goals for you and your family, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian in Collingswood, NJ or online.

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