Working from home doesn’t mean you can totally slack off. Even if you have children home while you work, or you are holding a classroom from your computer, treat your days as if you had to leave the house every day. In every lunch, whether it’s large or small, you should always aim to eat a lot of vegetables. They can be fresh, grilled, baked or sauteed. If you need quick energy and are active, you should include some unrefined carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread or quinoa. To slow your energy burn and hold you over in between meals, be sure to include some “healthy fats” such as avocado. And, of course you can always have a protein source as well (tofu, lentils, beans, chicken breast, edamame, seitan, etc).
Here are some tips for making lunches that go beyond the deli:
Leftovers for Lunch
Make a recipe for dinner that can easily be reheated for lunch the next day. Cook large-batch recipes such as chili, soups or pasta dishes. Pack them in individual containers and if you are working/schooling from home, you can simply heat them up for lunch the next day. If you have to go into work, heat up a portion and keep it hot in a thermal food jar.
Sandwiches & Salads
Be sure to keep basics in your refrigerator to make sandwiches or salads. You could also do a veggie platter with some hummus/salsa/guacamole dip as a simple lunch! The veggies would already be washed and cut, and you could make your hummus/guac on your meal prep day. Give your salad a makeover and wrap it up! Using a whole wheat tortilla or a lettuce leaf, stuff your salad in it and then wrap it up!
Keep It Consistent
If you have been trying to eat well, one way to keep your healthy streak going during the lunchtime hour is to keep things consistent. Using protein prepped from the night before (i.e. grilled chicken, turkey burger patties, etc..), chop up some veggies during your meal prepping and then create a salad or a bowl. Include protein, vegetables, a healthy fat and natural carb. Consider using balsamic vinegar (without the oil) or your favorite salsa as your salad dressing.
Create a Calendar
Yes, create a lunch menu! Mark down each day what you think you’ll be having for lunch. Consider dinners that can make for great leftovers, or even look at the school’s lunch menu and create your own variations!
Packing a lunch, whether you are eating at home or in your classroom, can be challenging. By incorporating some of these tips, you will have a variety of healthy, hearty lunches for the entire family!