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Pack Your Own Healthy Lunch: Tips and Recipes




Easing back into a routine after Summer break isn’t always easy. But with a little prep work and planning ahead, the summer to fall transition can be simpler and more nutritious!

While there are many ways to support your mind and your body, prepping your meals — specifically your lunch — is one of the easiest and healthiest things you can do. It requires some planning, but the payoff is worth it! Often times, our midday meal is the one we struggle to keep clean and balanced... and it's so important because this part of the day is when our blood sugar levels really start to fluctuate, leading to cravings, fatigue, and crankiness!

You’ll save money (no need to splurge on an expensive store-bought meal), you’ll support your physical health (by loading up on good-for-you nutrients), and you’ll benefit your mind (brain food is real). And even if you’re working from home, having ready-to-go options will only help support you and your goals. Plus, these packable lunches are kiddo-friendly if that's applicable to you!

So even if you aren't going back to school right now, you'll love having these easy, nutritious lunch ideas in your repertoire to keep your body and mind fueled throughout the day.


The Key Components of a Healthy Packable Lunch



First, let’s discuss two key components to building a healthy packable lunch: ingredients and balance.

Step One: Focus on Eating for Nutrient Density

You want your lunch to be filling, nourishing, and full of nutrient-dense foods. By doing this, you’ll avoid sneaky sugars, artificial ingredients, and processed foods! Plus, you’ll keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels high. Goodbye brain fog and mid-day fatigue!

Step Two: Build a Balanced Plate (or Box)

Ingredients are ultra-important, but it doesn’t stop there! Bringing balance to your plate matters, too! By this, we mean building each meal with a balanced ratio of macronutrients. Your packable lunch should include:

Clean Protein: Like turkey, chicken, wild-caught salmon, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs

Healthy Fats: Such as avocados, nuts, seeds

Complex Carbs: Think fruits, veggies, quinoa, oats

Filling Fiber: Made from whole grains, fruits, veggies, and other whole-food nutrients


Meal Prep Upgrade Tips



Put your healthy packable lunch ideas to good use with these simple hacks.

#1 Plan Out Your Meals in Advance!

When it comes to meal prep lunch ideas, gather your inspiration a week in advance to allow plenty of time to plan out your menu.

#2 Organize Your Pantry and Fridge

Before you can start prepping your packable lunch ideas, you’ll need all the ingredients! Take an inventory of your kitchen to determine what items are missing.

#3 Buy Bulk

Having staples on hand and ready to use (like oats, sweet potatoes, and quinoa) can make meal prep lunch ideas come to life with ease. This works for low-carb lunch ideas, too! Fill your kitchen with nuts, seeds, and frozen staples like broccoli — you’ll save time and money.

#4 Make a List!

This is the most important rule when planning meal prep lunch ideas. Never go to the store empty-handed!

#5 Treat Yourself to a New Lunch Box or Bag

There’s just something about enjoying lunch from a bento box or packing your lunch in a stylish lunch bag that makes prepping your lunch a bit more exciting, right? Just like buying a new workout outfit may help boost motivation, treating yourself to a new lunch box or lunch bag may be just what you need to get inspired to whip up some of these healthy packable lunches all year long!

Give Your Packable Lunches an Upgrade

No matter what this season of life looks like for you (back to school, back to work, staying at home), upgrading your lunch with some drool-worthy and equally as nourishing meal prep lunch ideas is always a good plan.


Here are a few recipe ideas for you!

Healthier Turkey Club Sandwich

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 gluten-free sandwich bun or sliced bread

1 tbsp. avocado-based mayonnaise

2 slices of organic turkey breast

1 slice of cooked bacon (nitrate-free!) or poached organic egg

¼ avocado, sliced

Lettuce and tomato


Directions:

Step #1: Start by adding the mayo to the sandwich bun along with the turkey and bacon or egg.

Step #2: Top with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

Step #3: Add to your packable lunch container along with any other optional add-ins.

Pack With:

Nuts of choice: almonds, walnuts, cashews

Fruit of choice: berries, grapes, apple, clementine

Sliced veggies: carrots, cucumber, celery


Healthier Chicken Salad


Protein-packed lunch ideas don’t have to be complicated. And this healthy packable lunch is easy to customize for any eating plan or meal preference. Don’t like chicken? Swap it out for a protein-rich substitute like salmon or chickpeas!

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie works well)

¼ cup chopped celery

2 tbsp chopped red onion

2 tbsp avocado-based mayo

Freshly chopped herbs of choice (dill, parsley, basil, etc.)

Drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of sea salt and pepper


Directions:

Step #1: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Step #2: Transfer to a container that’s easy to take on the go and serve on its own or with lettuce leaves.

Pack With:

Almond flour crackers with nut butter

Banana, berries, or fruit of choice


Mediterranean Lunch Box


Ingredients:

½ cup carrot, sliced

½ cup cucumber, sliced

½ cup red bell pepper, sliced

¼ cup olives

2 oz. mozzarella

¼ cup tzatziki

Pack With:

Single-serve hummus packs (or make your own!)

Hard-boiled eggs

Grain-free crackers or pita bread


Directions:

Step #1: Add all ingredients to a bento-style lunch box, customizing as needed. Swap out the mozzarella for hummus, or add in some hard-boiled eggs or nut butter packs for added protein!


Mason Jar Salad

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp salad dressing of choice

½ cup protein of choice (such as pre-cooked chicken breast, salmon, tofu, beans, or lentils)

½ cup chopped veggies of choice (such as cucumbers or tomatoes)

¼ cup nuts or seeds of choice (such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or hemp seeds)

1-2 cups chopped salad greens (such as arugula, romaine, spinach, or baby kale)


Directions:

Step #1: In a wide-mouth mason jar, add the salad dressing of choice to the bottom layer.

Step #2: Layer the salad ingredients on top, adding any veggies of choice.

Step #3: Top with additional add-ins, such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or sliced fruit.

Step #4: Pack in a lunch box with any additional ingredients such as mixed berries, cucumber, avocado, hummus, or sliced cheese.

Step #5: When ready to serve, shake the jar to mix everything together.

Pack With:

Mixed berries

¼ avocado

Hard-boiled eggs

Sliced cucumber


Avocado Turkey Roll-Ups

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

3 slices roasted turkey breast (like Applegate brand)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

½ avocado, sliced

Directions:

Step #1: Start by adding the mustard and sliced avocado to the center of each slice of turkey. Roll up and add to your packable lunch container (such as a bento-style box).

Pack With:

Sliced bell pepper and cucumber served with hummus

Fruit of choice



I hope you have a great start to your Fall season and as always, Be Intentionally Well !



 

Ready for some 1:1 habit coaching to make wellness a lifestyle for you?

I would love to discuss my 12 Week Healthy Habits Program with you!

Email me at jaimepalinchak@gmail.com or book a free call with me!


 

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