Lunchtime can be a real challenge!
Especially when there are easy to eat treats scattered throughout the break room.
Fast, cheap and easy to get!
Most places of business have vending machines and make it very easy to be tempted into eating a sodium loaded sandwich or instant soup and a bag of chips… or worse.
We all know how important it is to eat healthy meals!
This brings us back to the main issue when it comes to eating healthy; we are almost always surrounded by temptations.
In order to avoid the disappointment that may follow a poor quality meal, it is very important to be proactive about what you have available for lunches during the week.
As we progress in age, our food requirements can also change. Our metabolism slows and our actual calorie and energy requirements slowly reduce as the years go by. At the some time, our nutritional needs become greater since we gradually lose our ability to absorb micro and macro nutrients as we age. This means that we should be focusing on what will bring the highest amount of nutrition with the lowest calorie count AND the highest level of satiety.
I am going to share with you a couple of my best ideas for preparing lunches in advance!
They can be prepared ahead with very little time and effort plus they are highly nutritious and filling!
A Quinoa Bowl.
Quinoa is a food that is easy to prepare, very nutritious and that is incredibly easy to take to work with you. It is an ancient grain and has many nutritional benefits you will not find in modern wheat or other grains. Of course, you want a little more in your bowl than just quinoa, but you can add anything you want to make your bowl delicious and filling.
Vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, onions, sugar snap peas, carrots, cooked butternut squash or sweet potatoes. You can use a marinara or salsa as a sauce or any other pasta sauce you enjoy.
I like to add some goat or Parmesan cheese as well. You can also make is sweeter by using chunky fruits and a couple teaspoons of citrus juice such as lemon, orange or lime!
Mason Jar Salads.
These are so simple, nutritious, satisfying and delicious!
You can prepare them for the whole week at the same time. Use mason jar’s to hold your salad ingredients so when you empty your jar into a bowl, it creates the perfect lunch salad for you.
Start by putting your favorite dressing in first. As a bonus, you can control the amount to 2 tablespoons and reduce the calorie explosion that can happen when we simply pour the dressing on!
Next, add your toppings such as nuts or dried cranberries. I love to slice a few grapes or oranges slices for a sweet addition to the topping. You can also add a bit of cooked chicken or hamburger or steak, whatever you have in the way of leftovers.
Simple enough, toss your favorite chopped veggies and any fitting leftover ingredients from your fridge in a lettuce leaf. Drizzle with a complimenting sauce, wrap it up and call it a day. These pair well with soup, so keep that in mind as you’re meal prepping for the week.
This is definitely one of my go-to quick, affordable and healthy lunches. I always have a spaghetti squash on hand as they’re so versatile. This is another great option for tossing in any leftover veggies from the fridge, mix with some marinara sauce and you’ve got yourself a pasta-free spaghetti that won’t disappoint.
If prepping the gourd seems difficult, I have found a handy trick for when its just us. I poke holes all over it and let it bake just like that at 350 until its tender. Then I let it cool a bit and cut in half. Some of the pulp might be harder to get out, but the ease of cutting and scooping is worth a few more minutes of scooping out the seeds and pulp…after its soft!!
These are just a few examples of all the delicious meals you can quickly prepare at home and take to work without too much of a hassle. Some take a little more time than others, but you can always use the Sunday to meal prep your meals for the entire week, so you don’t have to wake up extra early on your work days.
What are your favorite ideas for make ahead lunches? Put them in the comments below and share!