Hey everybody!! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!
I got an email from Carla who was looking for inspiration and a bit of guidance in pre-planning and packing for her lunches and snacks at work. I think a lot of us struggle with that, I certainly do! I thought that I would post some of my ideas with the hopes that you all might add your own. :-)
I bring my lunch and snacks to work every day, without fail. Every day I pack a container of pre-washed, pre-cut ready to eat mixed veggies. I like to bring several different kinds of veggies each day so that I don't get bored too quickly eating just one kind and I can make sure I "eat the rainbow." My favorites are carrots, broccoli, red pepper (strips or scoops), cauliflower, and fresh green beans or edamame still in their pods. I wash and prepare these foods as soon as I get home from the grocery store on the weekends so they are ready to pack for work all week long. Sometimes I will include a small container of a dip like salsa, hummus, low-cal spinach dip, peanut butter, or low cal salad dressing. I also make sure to bring 3 different fruits. Generally it is an apple, a banana, and grapes. If I'm feeling like it's going to be a super busy day, or if I won't be able to keep the fresh foods around me, I'll pack a small bag or pretzels and a string cheese stick or a boiled egg with the shell still on.
As for an actual lunch, an easy way is to simply cook a little extra at dinner the night before. My go-to is simply a half portion of my dinner left overs from the night before. Like whole grain spaghetti and tomato sauce with whole grain garlic bread. Or, an Ole Xtreme Wellness High Fiber Low Carb Tortilla Wrap with beans, tomato, onion, romaine, and a bit of fat free sour cream or plain yogurt. Many times I will turn the left overs from the night before into a large salad just by heating up the leftovers and placing it all on a bed of mixed greens. (My favorite thing to do that with is left-over Kashi brand roasted vegetable pizza or homemade pita pizza!
It's REALLY easy to make a big pot of soup (link is to split pea) or chili on the weekend and pre-portion several containers for lunches. Same with things like cold salads. I do that a lot! I have posted several recipes for my favorites, like Fiesta Soup and Tofu Slaw Salad on the blog. Both recipes end up in my lunch box quite often!
If I'm rushed for time or didn't have enough ingredients to make extras for lunches, I turn to sandwiches like PB+J on a whole grain bagel thin or grilled cheese with a small side item of tomato soup or Green Giant "Just for One" Broccoli and Cheese. I also keep a few boxes of heat-and-eat Madra's Lentils (Tasty Bite brand) with tortilla "chips" (wheat wrap cut and baked in the oven until crisp).
The possibilities really are endless. But, it's up to you to make sure you think ahead! Please share any ideas that you guys can add!