Healthy Lunch Ideas

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Raise your hand if you’re guilty of unhealthy lunch habits. Do you frequent the burger stand around the corner from your office? Whether you’re looking to spice up your lunch at the office, wanting to pack better school meals for your kids, or looking for ways to save money on eating out, these healthy lunch ideas could be a midday lunch-saver.

Prep meals in advance
Planning healthy lunch ideas ahead of time can take the stress out of deciding what to buy, prepare and eat during the busy work week. Spend time thinking through the menu and you will be more conscious of your meal choices. By cooking and preparing over the weekend, you can save money, calories and stress.

Use the right ingredients
Balanced meals include a veggie, a source of protein, a healthy fat, and sometimes a grain. Meals don’t have to be fancy, but they do need to be something that will nourish your body and make you happy to eat. Use these money-saving meal ideas to shop healthy on a budget.

If the thought of eating the same thing for lunch every day during the week doesn’t sound appealing to you, feel free to make simple variations using the same ingredients. Cook one batch of chicken on Saturday and pair it with broccoli and brown rice one day, black beans, corn tortillas, and fresh salsa the next, and then romaine lettuce and a simple salad dressing for three easy, healthy lunch options during the week. Use a portion of the rice, black beans and lettuce, then add cheese and tomato for a tasty fiesta bowl. That only leaves one day to plan or eat out, and you won’t feel like you’ve eaten the same sandwich every day of the week.

Make it kid-friendly
Packing a school lunchbox to handle picky eaters and storage conditions can be a challenge. If your student is happy with turkey on whole wheat and carrot sticks, you may have won the lunch-maker lottery. But, if you have to be a little more creative, don’t be discouraged. The same healthy lunch ideas apply to kids too. Have your child choose their favorite veggies, proteins, healthy fats and grains and then mix and match to find multiple combinations. Or make fun names for new foods to encourage picky eaters to branch out. Anyone up for a side of “Olaf carrots?”

Don’t forget the snacks
Many health gurus actually suggest eating more than three meals a day. Stash healthy snacks in your cabinet, car or office drawer to help fight cravings that lead you to grab fast food or junk food. Find your favorite healthy snack – like apples and peanut butter, dried fruit and nut mix, or veggies and hummus, and store them in places you can easily grab if you get hungry.

You can’t enjoy your yummy lunch if you leave it siting in the fridge. Set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget. Whether you leave your keys in the fridge, set an alarm on your phone, or leave a note on your shoes, don’t spoil your day by missing out on your healthy lunch.

These healthy lunch ideas can help make mealtime something to look forward to. Once you see how quickly and easily you are eating healthier and saving money, you may want to take other steps toward building a better budget.

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