With advances in science and more accessible information for all, we’re increasingly aware of the importance of staying healthy. However, a full-time job and a super healthy lifestyle don’t always go hand in hand. Especially when it comes to lunchtime.
Come on, hands up – how many of you go straight for a ready meal or a fast food lunch? The good news is that healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Take a look at these healthy lunch ideas for work that will take your fancy every day of the week.
Healthy lunch ideas for work: Preparation is key
You’re busy, so it’s understandable that you don’t have the luxury of time to make a gourmet feast every morning. However, to keep your lunch box full of healthy goodness, preparation is your best friend.
There are various ways that you can get ahead of the lunch game. Make your lunch the night before or get all of the ingredients ready to quickly put together in the morning. For those morning people out there, get up half an hour earlier to make yourself a wholesome lunch! Some people do one better and get lunch ready for multiple days at a time. There’s a reason that ‘meal prep’ is so popular; who doesn’t want to have tasty homemade food ready and waiting for them?
No, don’t groan! Salad has developed a bad reputation over the years for being soggy and boring. Banish your preconceptions because salad is back and it’s not going out without a fight! To avoid a bowl of floppy lettuce, you have to be smart with your preparation. Luckily, these make-ahead salads are here to change your life.
Taco Salad to Go by The Chic Site
Cajun Shrimp Jar by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad by Eating Well
See! Don’t they look great?
Top make-ahead salad tips: Unless you’re making a mason jar salad, keep your dressing separate until you’re ready to dig in! If using a mason jar, you can put your dressing in at the bottom and shake it up at lunchtime. This prevents soggy salad. Prepping a variety of ingredients can help to create a mini salad bar in the fridge. In the morning, just pick what you’d like, throw it all into a container and you’re good to go.
Carbs?! Not carbs! Anything but the carbs! Carbohydrates have been demonised to the point that people avoid them altogether. But the truth is, your body needs carbohydrates to keep it fuelled up. When it comes to sandwiches, if you pick your bread and fillings carefully, they are the perfect lunch to keep you full and stop you snacking. Here are some of the tastiest healthy options to go in your packed lunch.
Veggie Olive Wraps with Mustard Vinaigrette by BBC Good Food
Tuscan Tuna Sandwich by Half Baked Harvest
Greek Yoghurt Chicken Salad Sandwich by Damn Delicious
Looking for a low carb version? Use vegetables and salad leaves to make low carb wraps or sandwiches. Lettuce, kale and roasted Portobello mushrooms are great substitutes for bread.
Top make-ahead sandwich tips: Try to use a bread that will hold its own against the fillings, such as rye bread. Using a low-fat spread, mayonnaise or mustard can help to create a moisture barrier in your sandwich. Try to keep wetter fillings, such as tomatoes as far away from the bread as possible.
Soup is perfect for those who find it difficult to stop and take a lunch break. It’s a warming, hearty meal you can sip from a mug one-handed, whilst you keep trawling through emails. It’s the perfect lunch to eat ‘al-desko’! However, there’s more to life than powdered soups and tinned cream of tomato.
Store Cupboard Lentil Soup by Jamie Oliver
Thai Noodle Soup with Shrimp and Pumpkin by Country Living
Sweet Potato, Ginger and Chicken Soup by Delicious Magazine
Mmmm, talk about a big bowl of happiness!
Top make-ahead soup tips: If you don’t have access to a microwave at work, invest in a well-insulated flask. Heat your soup up in the morning, pop it in the flask and it’ll stay warm until lunch time. Alternatively, you could try out these chilled soups from Health.com.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so they say. While bin-diving through your neighbour’s rubbish is frowned upon, leftovers make a perfect lunch. If you’re making dinner, make a little more than usual and box it up for lunch the next day. Or, if you want to be super prepared, you can batch cook multiple portions and put them in the freezer for when you need them.
Meat or vegetable chilli, curries and stews lend themselves perfectly to batch cooking and freezing. The great thing is that they can be adapted to be healthy, too. Just make sure you implement a good storage system so you know how fresh your meals are.
Hopefully, these healthy lunch ideas for work have left you feeling inspired! (Or hungry.) Eating healthily at work needn’t be a chore. In fact, it can be quick, easy and, more importantly, really tasty. Bon appétit!