Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work/School

I used to be a “soup and crackers for lunch” person, but now that I commute to an office job I need to prepare my lunchbox the night before so I can grab it and go in the morning. Most days, I take my lunch break and sit in the canteen with my co-workers, but sometimes I eat at my desk. Regardless, I like that when it’s lunchtime I’ve got lots of easy to eat, healthy options to tide me over, and also to help me avoid treat temptations.

My colleagues regularly buy their lunches, crisps, chocolate, and cookies from the canteen and, as much as I would like to do the same, I remind myself to be healthy. I have less time to workout, so on balance I need to make conscious, healthy food choices. It also saves a lot of money to bring prepared food from home!

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As for the ‘easy to eat’ options, the day before I started my new job I was looking at videos and blog posts on first-day jitters. One of the biggest worries is the practicalities about when/where to eat lunch. One of the tips I came across was to definitely bring a pack lunch the first day, and avoid something smelly or tricky to eat, like chicken on the bone. It made me laugh when a few weeks later a colleague bought a multipack of chicken and awkwardly nibbled on chicken legs the whole week. My point, do whatever works for you for lunch, and don’t be afraid to try new options!

My lunch prep simply wouldn’t work without a good container to transport my food. I went with one that seals well, has compartments, and is long and flat so that I can put it in my handbag. You can find a similar one here.

Morning snack: Because I eat breakfast at about 6:20, I’m starving by 11am. Therefore, I bring a pack of granola bars each week and eat one with my mid-morning coffee, if I’ve got the time.

Mains:

I’ve been experimenting with healthy mains I can bring to work that keep me full. But, I’ve noticed that some things are just a no-go! For example, beans and rice make me really bloated and I feel extremely uncomfortable sitting at my desk. Also, egg salad in a wrap prepared the night before turns into a soggy mess by lunch. 😦

Sandwiches and Wraps

  • ham and lettuce
  • chicken/turkey, mayo, cucumber, lettuce
  • cheese, chutney, and lettuce
  • egg salad (no-go in a wrap)
  • peanut butter and jam
  • (I’ve yet to try tuna because of the smell/soggy)

 

Sandwich alternatives

  • quinoa salad
  • couscous
  • pasta

I sometimes throw in a handful of spinach leaves and use hummus as a dressing.

I’ve also tried leftover lentil chili with brown rice (=bloating) and edamame beans (=bloating). Note: I suffer from IBS so I’ve got a really sensitive stomach.

Lunch snacks:

Fruit

I always have at least 1 type of fruit in my lunchbox. I prep the fruit when we buy it on Saturday so that it is washed, cut, and ready to portion out each evening.

  • Grapes
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Melon- Watermelon, Honeydew, Cantalope
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Dried fruit
  • (I avoid apples because they make me bloated, and bananas don’t transport well)

Veggies

I like to bring carrot sticks, peppers, and cucumber slices to have with hummus. I’ve noticed this also makes me bloated, so I’m thinking raw carrot might be a no-go.

Extra Snacks

  • mini cheese (Babybel)
  • mini hummus pots
  • packet of healthy crisps/chips (popchips, baked chips, crackers)
  • muffins (this week I made a batch of my bran muffins– which pack well)

Bus snack

I always bring a granola bar to eat on the bus ride home because I eat lunch at 12:30, and we don’t have dinner until I’m home around 7:30. I prefer ones that are soft, rather than crunchy, so I don’t choke on the bus.

I hope this post of lunch ideas gives you some mid-day food inspiration, and I’d love you to share your favourite workplace/school lunch ideas with me!

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