What’s in your lunchbox?
When I was a kid, it was standard, dependable: some sort of sandwich – usually PB&J on wheat, a fruit – usually an apple or banana, some veggies – usually carrot sticks, and a drink – usually boxed juice. Of course I didn’t make any of it, since my mom packed my lunch.
When I went to college and then started working, my lunch became all over the place: oatmeal one day, deli sandwiches the next. And frankly it was a challenge to find healthy options every day when someone (my mom) wasn’t packing my lunch for me!
Whether you’re making your own lunch (to take to work or class), or looking for something your kids will eat, I’m sure everyone faces challenges when trying to come up with healthy options for your afternoon meal. Something that will keep you full (so you don’t end up with a candy bar in your hand at 3pm), and something that super fast and doesn’t require much cooking or prep time.
Enter: my lunchbox makeover – 5 quick and easy lunch ideas that are tasty and good for you!
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Makeover #1: Make a Sandwich
But not any kind of sandwich, a delicious sandwich that’s packed with flavor!
If you’re a savory person, try this Sprouted Grain Sandwich with Hummus and Avocado
It will literally take you less than five minutes to make. Toast two slices of sprouted wheat bread (like the kind from Ezekiel), top with 2 Tbsp hummus, 1 slice avocado, a couple slices of tomato, red onion, sprouts, and a super thin slice of swiss cheese (optional).
If you’re someone with a sweet tooth, try this twist on a Peanut Butter Sandwich
You don’t even have to use peanut butter – you can use almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, and any combination of toppings: bananas, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, apples, honey, etc! Here is the recipe for my favorite combination, but the possibilities are endless.
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Makeover #2: Make a Salad
You can pretty much do anything you want with a salad. But there are a few rules to keep in mind to make sure it’s healthy:
- Avoid toppings like too much cheese (more than 2 Tbsp is too much), croutons, and dressing
- To season your salad, use salt & pepper – they do wonders for flavor, and 2 tsp olive oil with 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- For protein, add a hardboiled egg (use more of the whites vs. the yolks), beans, or 1 Tbsp nuts
- Use as many veggies as you like! Just avoid any that are already pre-cooked or pre-seasoned/dressed
Here is one salad recipe that I love, but don’t hold yourself back – pile on the veggies!
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Makeover #3: Have some Soup!
If you’re on the go, there are some great pre-made / boxed soups that taste delicious. Here are two options for pre-made soups:
Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Soup (comes in a shelf-stable box)
This soup is super healthy for you, has only ~100 calories per serving, and you can dress it up so it doesn’t taste store bought! I added microgreens to make it pretty, but you can add 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, some whole wheat toast for dipping, or whole wheat crackers on top.
Option #2 is anything that come’s from Amy’s. Her Veggie Chili is hearty, and has only 220 calories, with 9g fiber and 10g protein for 1 cup.
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Makeover #4: Make a Healthy Burger
Veggie burgers are a great source of protein, and you can really dress them up so they don’t taste store-bought! Here are 5 recipes for taking your veggie burger to the next level.
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Makeover #5: Have a Healthy Pre-Packaged Meal
Amy’s Pre-Made meals are some of my favorite, mainly because they taste like real food and are made with organic ingredients. I love her light-in-sodium bean and rice (or even the bean and cheese) burrito. One burrito has only 320 calories, 8g fiber and 10g protein. And you can dress it up with salsa, avocado, a side salad – pretty much anything you like!
So there you have it – 5 ways to completely makeover your lunchbox that will leave you feeling satisfied, happy and full. Enjoy!