Healthy Lunches for Your Return to the Office
Returning to the office comes with many additional responsibilities. You may have to wake up earlier to make your commute, but you’ll also need to start packing your lunches again to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to stay alert and productive all day long. Unfortunately, many workers think packing a quality lunch is too time-consuming and choose to forgo healthy, time-consuming lunches for fast food, which can cause lethargy and midafternoon slump. We’re here to help. Here are the easiest healthy lunches for your return to the office.
Chili is a great healthy lunch option for going back to work. Not only is it low carb, but you can cook a whole pot of chili and freeze it for later in the week. If you’re making your own chili, opt for leaner meats such as turkey or chicken instead of beef. You can also add beans to make it even healthier. Chili is easy to make and only requires meat, tomatoes, chili powder, and other spices, so you can make a huge pot on a Sunday night and eat it for lunch throughout the week.
Making more food than you need for a meal can ensure you have something to eat at work the next day. Leftovers are the easiest lunches to pack because you already did the hard part of cooking them. Making just a few extra servings a few times a week can help you eat better at work, especially if your dinners are healthy.
You can make your own salad, salad dressing, or buy salad kits for work and never go hungry while sitting at your desk. Eating a salad can help you eat more vegetables while helping you stay awake. Salads are a great afternoon pick-me-up because they contain all the essential nutrients you need without being too filling and contain zero added sugar. If you plan on making your own salad, make a big bowl the night before and give yourself at least two days worth of work lunches.
If salads aren’t your thing, consider pasta salads instead. Pasta salads don’t require much work; all you have to do is cook your pasta, add a protein, and stir in your favorite dressing. You can change the salad daily, switching between different proteins and vegetables. If you want to have lunch throughout the entire week, you can make a large pasta salad at the beginning of the week and portion it out accordingly.
If you prefer to snack while at work to avoid afternoon fatigue, consider bringing your own snack plate for lunch. These consist of nuts, deli meat, salad, vegetables, crackers, and fruit. Snack plates are virtually effortless since all of the ingredients are already made for you; it’s just up to you to put all of them together and remember to bring them to work. In addition, snack plates pair perfectly with your afternoon coffee break, allowing you to relax and get a boost in energy.
Not all cereals are healthy, but many are. If you don’t have time for breakfast in the morning, consider eating cereal at work instead. When looking for a good cereal, consider one made of oats that contain fiber to improve your digestion and help you feel more energized throughout the day. You can choose to bring along a reusable bowl and milk or eat cereal right out of a bag.
Hummus and Vegetables
Hummus with vegetables is another healthy, low-carb lunch idea that will help you stay energized. Hummus contains protein, while vegetables contain all the essential vitamins you need throughout the day. The best part about this lunch is that you don’t have to make anything from scratch. Instead, you can keep a container of hummus and vegetables in your work fridge and replace items as you run out.
Sandwiches can be a healthy lunch for work when made correctly. Of course, having a boring sandwich every day of meat and cheese will eventually get old. However, you can spice up your sandwiches with tomatoes and avocado to give your taste buds something different to look forward to every day. Also, if your break room has a toaster, you can consider toasting your bread for a crunchy, warm sandwich instead of eating it cold.
Tips for Eating Healthy at Work
Eating healthy at work is difficult, especially when you aren’t craving what you brought for lunch. However, making delicious and healthy lunches will prevent you from hopping in your car and driving to the nearest fast food restaurant to satisfy your cravings. Instead, make your work lunch healthier by following these tips:
Build a Routine
It can be difficult to plan for lunch if you’re transitioning back to the office after years of working from home. However, by developing a consistent routine, you can ensure that there’s always time to make and eat your food. Whether you work from home full time or commute to work every now and then, keeping your routine consistent is key to helping improve your healthy habits. For example, eating breakfast and lunch at the same time and ensuring you have lunch prepared already can help you eat healthier.
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals ahead of time ensures that you always have something to eat at work, making you less likely to leave the office to find something unhealthy to eat. You can prepare meals the night before work or pick one day out of the week and prep all of your lunches. Taking the time to plan what you’ll eat every day ensures you’ll stick to your diet and eat healthier lunches.
Pack Your Lunch Bag at Night
If possible, pack your lunch the night before so you won’t accidentally forget your it if you’re in a hurry in the morning. Packing your lunch beforehand can save you time in the morning and give you no excuse to run out for a meal later in the day.
Returning to the office can be stressful, but don’t let it prevent you from packing a healthy lunch that will keep you alert all day long. Even though you might lose your ability to make your lunch whenever you’re hungry, planning ahead will ensure that you never go hungry at your desk.
Sarah Young holds a Bachelors in Marketing Communications from California Lutheran University. She enjoys running her website glitternglue.com where she can share her own and others thoughts on lifestyle tips! During her spare time, she enjoys going to the beach with her dog or painting nature murals.
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