Are you fed up of buying your lunch from the workplace café? Do you get stuck for inventive ways to put together a packed lunch? You know you want something good for you, but you just don’t know what to put together other than sandwiches with a piece of fruit.
After a while sandwiches are boring. If you have a gluten problem or you’re trying to reduce your carb intake, you’ll find it even harder to put together a good lunch pack.
Not to worry! This is the one place you need to be to get a full guide on a healthy office lunch pack. Are you ready to put a lunch together that the rest of the office will be jealous about?
Making Your Own Is Cheaper
Even if you think that salad from the store will be a healthy option, you’re better off making your own. You’ll be surprised at some of the additives and extras that are thrown into even the greenest looking salad. You can end up adding more toxins and extra sugars—yes, sugars! If not sugars, you can find that your salad is full of extra salt.
The ingredients aren’t just packed together in the box. They’re treated and processed. Then you have the dressings on top of that, which are always full of extra sodium even though you don’t need it.
It’s the additives that give the products a slightly better taste compared to the salads at home. This is viewed as a good thing, but it’s bad for your body. You need to take steps to avoid the store-bought lunches as much as possible.
Making your own will also help to protect the environment. The packaging that you’re throwing away will take decades to break down. In fact, some plastics are thought to be indestructible. Experts just don’t know when they will finally break down and stop polluting the landfill.
When you make your own, you will use reusable tubs. You throw away less to help protect the environment.
This also helps to save you money. There’s no need to buy the packaging again. You just wash it out, and it’s ready for another use. The salad ingredients are also far cheaper than the salad packs you see in the store.
You really will see numerous benefits when you opt for homemade lunch packs. Now you just need to figure out how to put yours together.
Get Inspired with Recipes and Online Sources
Spend some time scouring recipe books and online sources for new ideas to throw together for lunch. You can look up blogs, websites, and even social media sites.
Pinterest will be your best friend. Put together a board just for your lunch packs and then add anything to that board that stands out. You then have all your inspiration in one place. The next time you’re looking for a new lunch pack idea you can quickly check out the site and find one that takes your fancy.
As you start pinning lunch packs, more will show up in your main feed. You’ll also get email alerts with them. Pinterest figures out what you’re interested in.
Make sure you check if the pins have a website to go to. Many people create pins to take you to their blog, where their recipe is. You can then find a range of other recipes and ideas on their blog. Bookmark your blogs, creating a folder for easier finding.
You can also print out recipes and stick them in your recipe binder. Don’t forget about snapping favorite recipes or adding some from magazines that you find.
The more inspiration you have, the better. You’ll not just be able to follow a new recipe regularly, but you’ll find something that appeals to your exact needs. You can even find recipes that are easy to adapt to your dietary requirements or find recipes that already serve your needs. There are plenty of blogs dedicated to paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and other lifestyles.
Opt for Seasonal as Much as Possible
You’ll likely have some vegetables and fruits that are staples in your house. Consider changing things around a little. Each fruit and vegetable will have its season. In fact, any food will have a specific season. Find out which foods are currently in season and make a list of when your favorite ones are best to get.
Opting for seasonal foods will help to create both healthy and affordable lunch packs. You’ll also have tastier lunch packs. When your foods are in season, they are fresher. They don’t need to travel from another part of the world. You’ll get juicy, ready-to-eat ingredients that are just waiting for you to use.
Another benefit is you will always have something different. You’re constantly changing up the ingredients that you add to your lunch packs, working with your mood for the time of year and giving yourself some variety.
Squashes can be good throughout the year. It’s all about getting the right type of squash. Strawberries and blueberries are excellent additions to summer salads, while kale and spinach can be good bases for winter meals.
Once you have your seasonal foods, you can then look into your staples. You may find that you have enough just from the seasonal options!
Of course, you don’t just want to walk into the store without a plan. That moves us into the next part of the guide.
Create Your Meal Plan and Shopping List
Before going shopping, create a meal plan for the week. Determine what you will have for each of your office lunch packs. This will not just help you know what you will eat each day, but make sure you have the right ingredients. It will also save you a lot of time on a morning as you try to find something interesting.
Create your meal plan on the same day each week. Find a day that you can sit down and look through all those blog posts, pins, and cookbooks that you found. Take a look at every recipe, thinking about the seasonal vegetables and fruits at the same time.
Make a list of all the food you will need for your meal plan. Don’t buy more than you need to help you save money.
Opt for a meal plan that is balanced and healthy. You don’t just want fruit and vegetables throughout the day. You need to add some protein and healthy fats. Look out for lean meats, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
There’s Nothing Wrong with a Sandwich Now and Then
Bread gets an unfairly bad reputation. It’s not that it’s bad for you. In moderation, it can be fine, if you’re not gluten intolerant. There are even gluten free bread options now, making it possible to enjoy your sandwiches again.
The trick is not to have a sandwich every day of the week. After all, this would get extremely boring for your office lunch packs.
You’ll also want to think about the type of bread you have. White bread is the worst for you. It’s a simple carb that will sugar in your blood stream very quickly. This can cause problems with your insulin levels and contribute to the risk of diabetes. Opt for whole grain bread instead, which has more fiber. The fiber will help to slow down the metabolizing of the sugars and will help support your digestive system.
It’s also worth looking out for pita bread and tortilla wraps. They tend to have less flour and are healthier options. You’ll also feel fuller after eating them, especially when choosing a whole wheat option.
Watch out for the type of fillings you add to your sandwiches. Pack them with fresh vegetables and lean meats. Keep the mayo and other sauces to a minimum. Mayo is full of added sugar and salt unless you make your own. The same applies to other dressings and sauce extras.
Prepare Your Lunch Boxes Ahead of Time
There is nothing worse than getting up in the morning and having to make your lunch. Not only do you want to plan your meals out, but you also want to prep them ahead of time. If there is any cooking to do, try to bulk cook one day of the week. You can then place items in the fridge or freezer, ready for use at a later date.
It’s also worth prepping any salad. Chop up your fruits and vegetables ahead of time, putting them in a bowl or two in the fridge so you can just grab and go.
Many people will choose to prep their office lunch the night before. You can put it in the fridge and just grab it the next morning. This is a good way to manage most of your meals.
When things are easy to grab, you will find you’re more likely to stick to your healthy eating plan. You’re less tempted to just grab something quick from the store because you’re being lazy or are in a rush on a morning.
This is also an excellent way to manage multiple people on a morning. You can get the kids ready for school, and you get ready for work without having to panic and rush. Just pack everyone’s lunch the night before.
Transport in Pyrex or Glass Jars
Instead of putting your salad into a tub, why not put it all into a transportable jar? This is one of the latest methods of getting your salads to work and making them look more appetizing. You don’t have to hope that the wrong vegetables haven’t touched together.
To make this work, you will need to layer the salads properly. You want to keep a barrier between items that get soggy from moist vegetables and fruits. This will take some time to get used to, but it is worth it in the end. Remember to prepare your salads the night before and store them in the fridge.
Pyrex and glass tend to be preferred. They are easily cleaned and are very easy to transport anywhere. You can use plastic, but make sure it is BPA and another chemical free.
Keep your dressings separate and transport in another jar or little tub. The dressings will just make your salad greens mushy, especially if you use iceberg lettuce.
If you do want a tub that separates different elements of your lunch, opt for the meal prepper plastic dishes. They are reusable and easy to wash. They have three or four sections that you fill with your foods and then pop a lid on to get the tub everywhere. The downside is the tubs are bigger, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough space in your bag and then the fridge at work!
Don’t Forget Your Snacks
Your office lunch isn’t just for the main meal. You’re at work for at least 8 hours a day in the majority of cases. You want to have snacks to keep you going. With a healthy breakfast and lunch, you will find you don’t need big snacks. You just want something that will sustain your energy levels and help fight off a slump at 11am or 3pm.
Take a trail mix with you. Just a handful of the trail mix will usually be enough to see you to your next meal. You can also opt for some vegetable sticks with hummus or some fruit slices and cheese. The mixture of protein, fats, and carbs will give you a good mixture of nutrients that break down slowly and keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Plan your snacks when you plan your meals. This will help you stock up on the right ingredients for the home and your office.
It’s time to plan out your office lunch packs. Don’t rely on the café or the corner shop. Pack something that you will enjoy and is good for you.