Many of us have busy school or work schedules that can often make it difficult to eat healthy lunches. We often resort to skipping our afternoon meal or choosing a quick fast food option that isn’t doing our waistlines any favors. Planning for your busy week ahead can make eating healthier come lunchtime simpler. Here are a few healthy and easy lunches to prepare and pack for your week.
1. Crockpot Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
Yes, this soup will require a bit of preparation, but it makes a great option to pack for hectic weeks. Make it once and eat it all week! To prepare, first sauté one large diced onion, red pepper, serrano pepper, and garlic in a pot with oil. Add diced mushrooms and mix well. Once the mixture is cooked down (about five minutes), pour it in the crockpot. Combine corn, black or cannellini beans, diced tomatoes, zucchini and one container of low-sodium vegetable broth into your crockpot. Add in seasonings, including garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, and mix well. Cook in the crockpot on a low setting for one to two hours. Once the soup is done, portion it into containers and let it cool. Keep it in the refrigerator and pack one for each day.
2. Mexican Quinoa Bowl
This dish can easily be made in less than 20 minutes. Start by cooking quinoa in vegetable broth per package directions. Once cooked and cooled, add diced cilantro, black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, red onion, and sprinkle of feta cheese to the quinoa. For added flavor, add the juice of one lime to the quinoa mixture. Portion into containers and eat cold.
3. Lettuce Wraps
This is a fun take on a wrap that can easily be packed for lunch. First, choose your favorite protein source. Chicken, tofu or shrimp all work great. Start by adding peanut oil to a hot pan. Next, sauté your protein of choice with mushrooms, diced carrots, cabbage, a dash of soy sauce, and sriracha sauce. Once vegetables are softened (about six minutes), allow the mixture to cool. Take bib lettuce and separate out four to five leaves. When packing your lunch, keep the lettuce leaves and mixture separate until ready to eat. When lunch time rolls around, add the vegetable mixture to leaves, roll up and enjoy.
4. Turkey, Avocado, and Hummus Wraps
If you're looking for a way to change up your traditional turkey sandwich, this simple lunch will do just the trick. Using a whole wheat tortilla in place of bread, spread a tablespoon of hummus onto the tortilla. Next, layer sliced turkey breast, lettuce and diced avocado. Wrap the tortilla and slice it into bite-size quarters. Tomato slices are another great addition but be sure to wait until adding just before eating since the tomatoes can make the wrap soggy.
5. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Who says yogurt has to be eaten just at breakfast? This portable parfait provides great nutrition and can be packed into one container making it perfect if you're on the go. Start by layering low-fat plain Greek yogurt with your fruit of choice. Berries and bananas work great. Between each layer, add a whole grain cereal and sliced nuts for added crunch. Top with a drizzle of honey for a little added sweetness.