Ok, so you’ve made the first step to eating healthier/ saving money, you’ve got your adult lunch bag… now what? It’s time to figure out what to pack for lunch!
This was a challenging part for me because I didn’t know what kind of foods would help satisfy my hunger, but not leave me feeling ilike taking a nap when I knew I had to go back to work. I took a nutrition class my last semester of college and I honestly learned so much!
I realized that there are foods that directly affect your mood, energy and can predict what would lead to you craving that bowl of ice cream! Food= fuel for your body and the kind of food you decide to give your body is the energy it produces. It’s pretty interesting, and so informative to know to stay at a healthy weight and with enough energy to keep being productive during the day.
Below you’ll find some of my personal suggestions for what to pack for work. Let me know if you bring the same to work or some ideas you guys have!
Pre-packed salad with protein
The first time I ever saw these things was at Walmart in the fresh vegies section. This is so perfect for me because I honestly have a small stomache and don’t need alot to fill me up, but I also 100% need protein to feel full for a few hours. I’m sure Target has these too and Publix has some variety of it, but I’ve seen quite a variety at Walmart!
It’s basically a to-go fresh salad that has dressing, a fork and some protein! There’s a tray with sections on top that seperates the ingredients so for example a ceasar salad- in the tray you’ll find shredded cheese, chicken, and packaged cesar dressing. Then you take the tray off and add each ingredient as needed! It’s convenient and a healthier option for a packed lunch.
As a tip- for those that might need more protein, I’d suggest cooking your own chicken and using little tubberware that is about 1/2- 1 serving for you to add to your salad. If you like to switch up your protein you should freeze your chicken and bring it out as you feel like eating it! (frozen chicken can last up to three months in your freezer!)
DIY Chipotle bowl
The base to a Chipotle bowl is rice, beans, protein and any additional toppings you want. With three simple major ingredients this makes for an easy DIY Chipotle Bowl! It’s actually super easy to make rice if you follow the instructions on the pack, but basically you make it with one part rice and two parts water. You boil the water first, then add the rice (I use Jasmine rice) and cook it at medium temp. Mix it up every 5-7 minutes, it should be done in 15-17 minutes!
If you just skipped over that there are microwavable rice packs that you can also just throw in there (but it’s not the same!)
In a saucepan, heat it to medium temp while you season your chicken or protein. For chicken I cut it up into little pieces (just like the cube pieces they have at Chipotle) and coat the chicken in olive oil. Season it with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and anything else I’m feeling for that night.
Throw it on the medium sauce pan and cook for about 8-15 minutes. Just keep an eye on it when it starts turning light brown but not too brown! Cut it in the middle to make sure it’s cooked.
And finally, add your toppings! I LOVE guac so I learned how to make Chipotle’s guac But it’s also really yummy if you slice an avacado in thin slices, add salt and pepper and put it on top of your bowl. Thsi is when you can personalize it to your fave bowl so have fun with it!
Fast food protein and salad
Listen, sometimes we just get busy and don’t have time to cook and be the healthy person we strive to be. And that’s ok! Eating healthy should always be the goal but it’s ok to cut yourself some slack and take some shortcuts when it helps! One thing I’ve done is brought my own salad pack that I’ve gotten from Publix- shoutout to the blue cheese pack that’s my ish! On my way to work I’ve stopped by Chickfila or McDonalds and gotten chicken strips to add to it!
Grilled chicken is the healthier choice but fried chicken is still protein so you can totally use this every one in a while! I promise it is soooo yummy!
Another thing I’ve done when I wasn’t starving but still hungry and have been on a fast protein binge is just getting a side of vegies! I was surprised after going to Panda Express and getting teh steamed veggies and being very satisfied. I have this weird thing that if I don’t eat well for an extended period of time my body yells at me and tells me to eat veggies… lol don’t judge.
I actually really appreciate this because listening to my body has allowed me to maintain a weight were I’m comfortable with, yet I’m not on a super strict diet. I just respond accordingly when needed!
Cooking everyday is hard.
I hope I didn’t make it sound like it was an easy thing, because it is totally not and I have caught myself multiple times like oh my god I really need to stop getting McDonalds on my way home from work or even eating lunch out. But I remind myself, as you should too, that it’s okay to give it sometimes! It’s ok to not cook and eat out. BUT balance is key here. In the end, packing your own lunch saves you money, and keeps you at a healthy weight because you’re bound to eat healthier from home-cooked meals.
I hope thise article inspires you to pack more lunches! If you need cute lunch bags to put your healthy lunches, you should check out my article on where you can get some trendy lunch bags near you or online!