Author: Amber French
Taking your lunch to where you work (even if you work from home) is a great idea regardless of your food choices. Going to work without being prepared for the day is giving your health and nutrition choices over to someone else. Your someone else could be the vending machine, the leftover birthday cake in the fridge, or your not so healthy co-worker’s lunch. Even if you are fortunate enough to work from home or work flexible hours throughout the day, it is super important to be prepared ahead of time. That way you can ensure you are eating what you really want (yum) and meeting all your nutritional needs throughout the day.
Most work days start out fresh and new like a new chapter in your gratitude journal! But then yesterday’s to-dos combined with tomorrow’s deadlines overpower your good intentions and tromp all over the time you had set aside to go to the Juice Bar down the street. Next thing you know you are making poor life decisions, like asking your cubicle partner if they want to “hang this weekend” after their toe fungus cataloguing class. All because it is 3pm and you haven’t eaten since breakfast.
Not eating adequately throughout the day can lead to less productivity and increased agitation. I get some wicked low blood sugar crashes (aka: “Hangry” Face) if I don’t plan ahead.
I am not saying you need to be Martha Stewart or that you need to embrace the left-over, just rotate through a few easy options and pack everything you need the night before (no excuses right?).
Some of the top BBOs (Brown-Bag-Options) for the health conscious are the good old salad, wraps you can assemble at your desk, oatmeal, veggies and hummus, or homemade soup.
Salad: Get a Mason jar, layer your more hearty veggies on the bottom (carrots, celery, etc.) working your way up to your greens. Top it off with your add-ins (think proteins and fats) nuts, seeds, tofu, and dried fruit. Keep your vinaigrette on the side until you are ready to eat. Add it, give it a shake, and eat.
Wraps: Pack your wrap contents separate from your wrap. Load up on left-over beans or rice. Pack your fresh veggies such as tomatoes, green onions, and avocado, diced and in their own container. Lime juice and chopped cilantro are all the “dressing” you need to bring your wrap to perfection. This combo is high in fiber which will keep you full until dinner.
Oatmeal: Lots of options here. You can create overnight oats (no cooking necessary). Combine oats, almond milk, nuts, and dried fruit the night before. Pack a spoon and go in the morning. Google it or check out www.ohsheglows.com for full recipes. You can also cook a batch of steel cut oats, add in almond milk and toppings, and reheat at lunch. Toppings like cinnamon and nuts can curb those blood sugar swings and leave you feeling full longer.
Veggies and Hummus: My favorite lunch: Hummus and Veggies. Do I really need to say anymore? Check out my horseradish hummus recipe here.
Homemade Soup: During the colder months I enjoy busting out the Hello Kitty thermos and filling it with all kinds of homemade soups. I like to make big batches and then freeze individual servings, which are ready any time. Steaming veggies, adding my favorite herbs and spices, and throwing everything in the blender leaves you with a velvety smooth and warm lunch that can’t be beat.
Don’t turn your nutritional power over to the unknown. Make lunch something to look forward to and fuel your body and brain all day long.