Packing Healthy Lunches

Fun healthy lunch discussion in un momento, but first we must cover lunch!

On today’s plate:

Thursday Lunch

  • Muenster cheese + raspberry jelly bagelwich
  • Baby bell peppers
  • Unpictured chicken leg nabbed from a leftover lunch event in the break room

Served on the side was some leftover birthday cake from the work fridge.

Cake for Me!

Now for some lunch packin’ talk…

Packing Healthy Lunches

As you know if you follow this blog with any regularity, I pack my lunch to bring to work almost every single day. This not only saves me money, but it makes eating healthy during the work day nice and simple and makes avoiding greasy downtown restaurant fare much easier.

Packing my lunch typically takes me no more than five minutes. I try to pack my lunch the night before while dinner is cooking. Multitasking at its finest!

When I pack my lunch, I go through a similar process each time:

  • Select a vegetable. If I’m enjoying a salad, this is simple, but if I’m not, I make it a point to pack some kind of a vegetable (or two!) to enjoy alongside a sandwich or wrap. Carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, cucumber or bell pepper slices are often my go-to veggies when I’m looking for a side of something nutritious because they taste good raw and are easy finger-foods. I also love dressing up raw slices of yellow squash or zucchini with Italian dressing for a little extra flavor.

Veggie Packed!

  • Select a source of protein. It’s no secret that protein helps increase feelings of fullness, so I try to make sure my meals include some kind of protein, whether it be in the form of lean meats, cheese (my personal favorite), Greek yogurt, beans, whole grains or tempeh.

Tuna Salad

  • Select a carb. This part is usually quite easy, as I am a big fan of sandwiches, bagelwiches, wraps and English muffin pizzas for lunch. I always try to include some kind of a whole-grain carbohydrate with my meals because they help me feel full much faster than any other food, even if that feeling dissipates quicker for me than the feeling of satiety caused by protein, fiber and fats.

Whole Wheat Bagel with Peanut Butter, Peaches and Chia Seeds

  • Select a fat. Adding fat to my meals can be rather tricky. I’m not as much of a stickler for this one and usually allow the addition of fat to my meals to happen naturally, whether it be in the form of an olive oil-based salad dressing or a creamy nut butter. If my lunch doesn’t have a hefty serving of fat, I don’t really worry about it because I snack on nuts, cheese and peanut butter fingers like it’s cool.

And there you have it! :D

Of Possible Interest

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Questions of the Afternoon

  • What was your favorite packed lunch when you were younger?
  • What is your favorite packed lunch now?

Comments

  1. says

    When I was younger, I hated packed lunches. I was such a hot lunch kind of girl. Which makes me want to barf now.

    I go through a similar process while packing lunch. I usually bring leftovers, but if not I’ll do the same thing!

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  2. Shelby says

    Mmmm those baby peppers are delicious! When I was younger, my go to lunch was a jelly and butter sandwich and I would always have it with yogurt, a banana and a capri sun of course! Now, I usually keep it simple with some sort of protein, whole grains, veggies and a piece of fruit for a little something sweet!

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  3. Julia K. says

    I also like packing lunches from home. Sometimes we just don’t know what goes into the foods we get outside, so I would rather be safe than sorry. I also bought baby bell peppers today from costco, but seriously, your baby bell peppers look HUGE! LOL!
    I never got packed lunches from home, so I usually ate lunch from school. I loved the school lunch pizza and the huge pb&jelly sammys from school! Back then lunch was only a $1.00! My go to lunch these days are Dr Praeger’s veggie burgers on a thomas thin bagel with veggies on the side! :)

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  4. Shayla says

    When I was younger I was so weird about lunchtime foods, I absolutely hated them all, so lunch was definitely my least favorite meal of the day. I absolutely hated sandwiches, deli meats, tuna, salads, you name it, so all I ate everyday was a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter. That’s it! Everyday until I graduated high school, how sad is that?! Although in high school I also indulged in pizza and McDonald’s served in our cafeteria, it’s embarrassing to think about how awful my diet was then! Now I absolutely love lunch time!! I love love salads, Greek yogurt, sandwiches, basically everything I hated before I now love!! :)

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  5. says

    I get in major food phases. One of my favorite lunches to pack is a chicken breast with broccoli, brown rice and sweet chili sauce. I can make a whole pot of rice and several chicken breasts and have several lunches during the week. The chicken and rice combo keeps me full and I love sweet chili sauce on anything, I would eat it with a spoon.

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  6. Carissa says

    So this is very twilght-zoney so I thought I’d share. I wrote on my blog today about a peach smoothie I made and I used a Christopher Walken cow bell reference only to read about an hour later your breakfast post and there was MORE COW BELL! Craziness!

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  7. Summer says

    I love to pack my lunch as well. It saves a ton of money and leaves me feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of my day rather than feeling over weighed down by take out food. I have been using a bento box from Laptop Lunches which is great! In addition to offering a great product, they also have a full menu library dedicated to lunch meal ideas as well as a weekly rss feed. You should check it out at: http://www.laptoplunches.com/bento-menus/.

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  8. says

    We buy those little peppers…they are the BESTTT.

    My rules for packing lunches are that I usually like to combine my veggies and protein in one aspect (salad, soup, occasional sandwich) and bring a side of nuts and fruit or raisins (carbs/sugar/deliciousness). It’s been doing my right for a few months now!

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  9. says

    My mom used to put loads of pb and jelly on my sandwiches when I was a kid so by lunch time it was all soggy. Sounds gross I know, but I loved it. Now my lunches are usually made up of a salad and whatever leftovers are in the fridge to put on top.

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  10. says

    Hi Julie!

    So I was up reading blogs last night right before bed, and in my dream, you joined my friends and I for a movie and dessert! I wanted to tell you because you were super sweet in my dream, and that’s how I imagine you to be in real life! Have a nice day!

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  11. says

    As a kid I loved pb and j. Today, I still pack my lunch daily…either that or eat what my students eat. I love having chicken or tuna with veggies along side pita chips and greek yogert to dip them in. I have brought everything from lunch to waffles and egg whites or oats and protein powder. I agree it saves money and keeps you healthy!!

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  12. says

    I pack my lunch everyday, and I kind of get tired of it. I really need to get more creative. When I was younger (well, even in high school), I didn’t like peanut butter (I do now!). I would usually bring half a strawberry jelly sandwich, grapes, and pretzels. Pretty much everyday. No wonder I was hungry by the end of the day!

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  13. says

    Great post! I’m usually at a loss for what to pack for lunch as I’m a high school teacher and have limited time and options during my 25-minute lunch/bathroom break/cell phone check. Thanks for the great suggestions!

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  14. says

    That’s exactly my method too! I like to end on a sweet so I tend to take some fruit and a piece of 70% choc to round it all up! I really look forward to my packed lunches, which helps break the monotony of the day!

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  15. Caroline says

    I’ve been super busy at work and therefore behind on reading your blogs! Where are my priorities!? :)

    My go-to veggies are raw carrot sticks and broccoli, everyday! Sometimes I’ll throw in cauliflower (but I feel like it gets stinky and bad too fast) or baby zucchini.

    My bagged lunches growing up weren’t the BEST. The only good thing about it, was on EVERY single bag, Mom would write “Caroline” with a big happy face. It was so cute. But I never got the cool snacks like my friends did … Mom nevvver ever bought the GOODS: Gushers and Fruit Rollups! Is there anything better than Gushers? I don’t think so! I guess my daily PBJ sandwich (amazing) kinda made up for the lack of fruit snacks :)

    I pack my lunch everyday for work now as well. It’s usually the same thing a lot, just rotated; turkey wrap (La Tortilla Factory WW wrap + turkey + lettuce + avocado + 1/2 YAM + garlic herb Laughing Cow cheese). Don’t judge the yam! I’m a major sweet tooth and adding the yam gives it a sweet mushy kick! LOVE IT. Or sometimes I’ll have cold spaghetti squash + marinara sauce + green onion + salmon (my fave). When it was Lent, each Friday I’d have the yummiest sandwich: Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread + yam + PB + chia seeds + banana! SO yummy.

    Anyways, I gotta wrap this up so I can read the other blogs you’ve posted since this one :) Haha … HAPPY FRIDAY GIRL!

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  16. says

    I never ate packed lunches when I was a kid. It was a hot lunch for me every day! Luckily I eat lunch at home, so I don’t have to worry too much about bringing anything. Which is incredibly good for me, because I like hot lunches (a takeover from childhood?) and I hate leftovers!

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