Well summer is officially over and for many that means returning to school and the return of the dreaded packed lunch.  UGH.  I’ve had to get back in the flow of packing and prepping but now that I am, its business as usual.

Whether you work 9 to 5 or are in classes/on campus (like me!) all day packing lunch IS the best option for eating.  Why?  It can be cheaper, healthier, and best of all, you know exactly what you are eating.  No more mystery meat or special sauce with questionable nutritional value.

So have you been packing your lunch?  Running out of ideas or stuck in a sandwich rut? Let me see if I can help…

First off, find a system that works for you.  I usually try to make my lunch (and snacks) the night before when I am cooking dinner.  That way, I am not rushing out the door/forgetting things/running out of time..you get the idea.

Also invest in some easily pack-able Tupperware – I have a nice bag I use as my lunch box, a container for sandwiches, small things for dressings, and larger containers for salads and what not.

When I pack my lunch, I usually stick to the theory behind my meal planning:

-Grain

-Lean Protein

-Veggie

Lunch is READY! …. Okay, it’s not always that easy but you get the idea. I usually do some prep on Sunday night and make a big batch of quinoa or brown rice then divide them into single serving portions to throw together for the week.  I also might roast up some veggies or cut them for salads, etc.  I don’t eat much/any meat but if you do, try baking up some chicken breasts and having them ready as well!

If I make up a simple grain/veggie/protein combo I’ll throw this in Tupperware and then add a piece of fruit, greek yogurt cup, chopped up veggies and hummus, or granola bar.

Here are a few examples:

Simple Lunch Mexican “StirFry”

Combine:

1 serving cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)

1/2 bag steamable veggies (I’ll buy the frozen stirfry mixes and heat them up)

1/2 cup black beans

1/4 cup salsa

optional: top with 2 T nutritional yeast (cheesy) or 2 T greek yogurt

Hummus and Tofu Wrap

Wrap in foil on 1 high fiber tortilla (like La Tortilla factory):

2 T hummus

2 T mustard

1 cup spinach

1 serving tofu

1/4 cup sprouts

1 serving cooked quinoa

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

Combine:

1 serving cooked quinoa

2 T feta

1/2 cup chickpeas

1 cup spinach chopped

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

2 T sliced almonds

optional: artichoke hearts or black olives

You see where I am going with these recipes?  Just following a basic format opens up a whole amount of possibilities…just use your imagination!

Other options for lunch include:

-Sandwiches: PB and J with banana and sliced almonds

                            Hummus with beans and veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, sprouts, topped with feta

Salads:  use combinations like above: add quinoa or rice to it, beans, protein, etc so it sticks with you

Wraps

Yogurt Mashes

Leftovers!

I hope you’ve found this ideas helpful!  So what about you?  Any good packable lunch suggestions?!

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