Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Make Lunch Happen Fast

One of the questions that I get from a lot of my clients is what they should eat for lunch. Breakfast is usually fairly easy because it is easy to whip up a quick and healthy breakfast for one. Dinner is usually cooked for a bigger group, which can be easier to plan for. Lunch, on the other hand, oftentimes requires thinking of something that is portioned for one. If you are trying to find healthy things you can eat at work, or even if you are trying to make something healthy for yourself while you are busy with kids during the day, trying to determine quick meals that fit the bill can be hard to do.

The easy thing to do when you are hungry for lunch might be to...take a bite of the kids mac n' cheese, run through the drive through, or grab handfuls of whatever is closest to you (enter goldfish, cereal, Doritos, wheat thins, etc. etc. etc.) While all of the things you are grabbing may not be unhealthy, they are not portion controlled, and just grabbing whatever you see might never fill you up. You could end up eating hundreds of unwanted calories. Being prepared for lunch is a great way to avoid binging on unhealthy items, and will keep you in control of your diet.

Healthy Lunchtime Do's...
- Purposely double your healthy dinner recipes, and save some leftovers with lunch in mind.
- Prepare some "go to items" for me this is grilled chicken, vegetables, and salad fixings.
- Fix the same food for you and your kids. No, this doesn't mean you should eat dino nuggets and mini corn dogs too. Maybe it means THEY should be eating fresh fruits and veggies & homemade hummus, a wrap, or sandwich on whole grain bread. A lot of the time parents assume their kids won't eat healthy foods without ever even offering them the chance. Expand their palates and test their taste buds!
- Crock pot it. Some of my all time favorite meals come in crock pot form. Have you made my crock pot cream cheese chicken chili yet? You's kinda my favorite. It also makes AWESOME leftovers.
- Keep quick items on hand. La tortilla factory wrap + PB + Banana slices = quick and healthy. Other items like whole wheat bagel or sandwich thins are great. I always have cottage cheese, string cheese, almonds, and fruits and veggies on hand that I can throw together. Keeping some good protein on hand at all times is smart too. Easy quick high protein lunches? Easy cheesy chili & Pesto Chicken Salad. There are a lot of great soup options that you can whip out in an instant and will make life much easier.
- Plan or pack your lunch the night before. If you are getting lunches ready for your kids or hubby, take the time to get one ready for you too. Preparation is the key to weight loss!
- If you have no time, don't let the drive through dictate your diet. Determine some healthy places you can get a quick salad (make it a healthy salad, read HERE for smart salad tips) or a whole wheat sandwich packed with lean protein and veggies.

Make an effort to make your lunches healthy. You will feel better, you will be able to make it through the day with more energy, and you won't be ravenous at dinner! Oh and if you are going to make Mac N' least make it Healthy Mac N' Cheese!

What is your go to lunch option? Do you eat leftovers a lot? Will your kids eat health foods?

Don't forget...only a few more days to enter the March Musicality Mix Giveaway!


MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

I am huge on double dutying dinner for lunches! That crockpot creation looks delicious.

Benita said...

I just made your cream cheese chicken chili last night because of your post. it was soooo so good!! I had the wrap for lunch with the leftovers too! and there was even enough for scott to take a bowl to lunch. thanks for the reminder :) ps..i miss you!!

Nicole said...

I try to make sure there is enough leftover for lunches when I make dinner, but with 4 kids you can never tell how much they will end up eating! My fast go to lunch is egg or tuna salad over a green salad, yummy and fast! My kids eat healthy food about 85% of the time because that's all I offer, so they eat it or they don't eat :-)

Amanda said...

I usually have left-overs of whatever chicken dish I had for dinner the night before, along with zucchini slices, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes. I've got spring break this week, and I'm not at work, so I'm excited to play around with new recipes for lunch, though!

LOVE this post!


Stacey said...

I'm stuck on tuna salad righ now for quick, thoughtless lunches. Can of tuna, T or 2 of Greek yogurt, pickle and celery. I add to a bagel thin and have loads of protein with some carbs... I tend to match my carb to protein intake to stay full 3-4 hours and prevent the munchies.

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