QUICK AND HEALTHY PACKABLE LUNCH IDEAS
I don’t know about you, but when I’m at work or school and I get hungry for lunch, I usually opt for fast food. It doesn’t help when there’s ten different fast food places within the radius of my workplace, and it’s even worse having a mini food court in the center of my university. With all these fast food restaurants around my proximity, it’s hard to say no to unhealthy options. However, I’ve started packing my lunch for school and work and it has helped ease the fast food temptations tremendously.
Today I’ve got some yummy lunch ideas for you to pack for school or work. These taste good warm or cold, and they’re super quick to make. These may not be as healthy as healthy can get, but they’re definitely healthier than a typical fast food meal. And they’re delicious!
PEANUT BUTTER ENGLISH MUFFIN
This lunch is super quick to make and super yummy! It’s easy to throw in a lunchbox and bring to work or school hassle free.
All you want to do is cut an English muffin in half and toast the two halves. Once they’re crunchy to your preference, spread peanut butter allover the muffins. This is optional, but you can also throw some granola or fresh fruit on top, too.
For some sides, I ate carrots and honey mustard (or any dressing you like — hummus would work too!), and some SmartPop popcorn. I like having two sides because if I’m too full for a second side at lunch, I can always eat it as a snack later! And since I have a giant sweet tooth, I added a couple dark chocolate squares for dessert.
This lunch is also really quick, but it’s something you can make the night before if you don’t want to deal with preparing a meal early in the morning (I feel you, girl!).
Get a whole wheat tortilla and start by spreading any of your favorite condiments on. Instead of your typical mayonnaise and mustard, I would opt for a healthy cream cheese or hummus. Then, add your meat, cheese (I use reduced fat cheese), and veggies. Roll up your tortilla and you’ve got a yummy wrap!
For my side, I ate a pickle spear (low in calories and fat free, just watch the sodium!). I also cut up some apples with a cool whip/peanut butter dip, which actually doubled as a side and a dessert. I think a hard boiled egg or celery sticks would be good sides for this meal as well. And if you aren’t into apples as a dessert, you can always go for chocolate covered raisins instead.
I’d recommend preparing this one the night before too, but however you wish to do it, it is definitely going to be yummy.
Start out by boiling some whole grain noodles. Once they’re cooked and drained, throw some mozzarella cheese into the mixture. Take the noodles off heat and cool them completely. Once cooled, add some marinara sauce. Be careful with this; you don’t want to drown your noodles in sauce because many marinara sauces are loaded with sugar. I put about half of the sauce’s serving size on to my noodles.
As a side, I added a fresh plum and some reduced fat Cheez-its. Since I had time because of making this meal the night before, I made some chocolate covered pretzel sticks for dessert.
I love bagels and I love sandwiches, so it’s obvious that this needed to be a combination!
Cut your bagel in half and toast each side. I found that eating a whole bagel for lunch was too much, so I ate one half for breakfast and the other for lunch. For your lunch bagel, you can definitely add your favorite sandwich condiments, but I spread cream cheese on it instead. Add your cheese, meat, and veggies. The mix between the sandwich meat and cream cheese is seriously so good!
I ate grapes and smoked gouda cheese as a side, along with pretzel sticks, and Brookside’s dark chocolate acai berries for dessert!
I’m sure you’ve seen these floating around the YouTube and Pinterest, but they’re so cute. If you loved Lunchables as a kid (or if you still love them like I do), you will love these.
Cut some regular deli meat and cheddar cheese into smaller slices and pack some Ritz crackers. That’s literally it! You’ve got your own DIY Lunchables.
As a side, I ate some fresh strawberries, a clementine, and trail mix. I threw in some extra M&M’s into my trail mix for a little bit of a dessert! The entire meal was super fulfilling (maybe because I put too many crackers/meat & cheese slices in mine). I actually ended up eating most of my trail mix as a snack throughout the day because I was too full at lunch.
This is definitely something you’ll want to prepare the night before. This is not my own recipe (credit to Damn Delicious!) but I have a hard time eating meals that are low in carbs, so I wanted to include this one!
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice a zucchini into mini slices. Heat some oil on medium heat, and heat the zucchini slices (about two minutes on each side). Lay them out on the baking sheet, add some marinara sauce and cheese. You can also add some pepperoni or other toppings if you wish. Broil for about two minutes. I made the entire zucchini, but I only ended up eating half of it at lunchtime.
For my side, I ate some reduced fat string cheese. My second side also duos as a dessert. I spread some peanut butter and caramel sauce on a whole wheat tortilla (see, I can’t live without carbs), wrapped a banana inside, and cut that up into little rolls.
Yummy. That’s all you need to know.
You’re going to start by adding cheese and shredded chicken to a whole wheat tortilla. You can add any other veggies or spreads you’d like, just make sure you keep all your ingredients on only one side of the tortilla. When you’re finished adding your ingredients, fold the tortilla in half. Heat it on the stovetop until it reaches your desired crispiness. Add some salsa on the side for some extra flavor if you’d like.
As a side, I ate BBQ Pop Chips (these are nice because if you only eat half of a serving size, you’ll already be full!). I also had a yogurt parfait which actually doubled as a side and a dessert!
So you can definitely make a typical fruit salad with all your favorite chopped fruits and maybe a nice yogurt drizzle (super good!), but I’ve got another idea. This actually turned out to be my favorite meal in this article.
You’re going to slice some mozzarella cheese, two plums and some strawberries (you can really choose any fruit you want though). I also poured some balsamic vinegar to a separate container. If you want, you can also add spinach or lettuce to this “salad,” too. By lunchtime, I drizzled some of the vinegar on the fruit, but I actually found that I liked it better without any of the dressing. So if you can live without it, you’ll definitely cut some calories and sugar.
I chose reduced fat cheese with wheat thins and a granola bar as my sides. I opted for dark chocolate acai berries again for dessert! The fruit salad is so fulfilling that I barely touched the crackers or granola bar at lunch.
Who needs Taco Bell, right? For this one, it’s basically a burrito chopped up into smaller pieces (because who doesn’t like bite sized food?). I personally didn’t like this when it was cold, but it tastes super good at room temperature or warmed up. Also, you’ll definitely want to prepare this the night before, but it still doesn’t take that long to make!
Start by heating your beans over the stovetop (I used fat free refried beans from Rosarita). Once those have cooled, spread a light layer on a whole wheat tortilla. I then added a little bit of salsa on top of that, followed by shredded chicken and cheddar cheese. You can add avocado, onions, and other veggies, too. I then rolled up the tortilla into a super tight burrito and cut it into about six pieces.
I used salsa and oven baked Tostitos scoops as a side (or you can make your own chips by baking tortillas). For a dessert, I made a few chocolate covered strawberries.
I hope these nine ideas are able to inspire you to throw away the idea of fast food. And hey! Maybe you’ll actually be excited for school or work, knowing that you’ve got a yummy lunch waiting for you.
(As for my container, I highly recommend Rubbermaid’s LunchBlox. I can’t tell you how convenient it is. Plus, the size is great for portion control!)