Easy Lunches for Away from Home

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On average, Americans get one-third of their calories away from home, with many of these calories consumed at lunch during the workday. One of the most logical ways to support your weight loss is to pack your own healthy meals so you are not dependent on restaurants. In fact, meals from restaurants tend to be bigger, higher in artery-clogging saturated fat, and lower in dietary fiber than meals you make at home.

When you pack your own lunch, you get to control everything from portion sizes to food groups. The downsides can include setting aside the time to make your lunch and figuring out what to take, but it’s actually not so hard. Here are some tips for packing convenient and healthy lunches that make you excited for lunchtime.

Easy and Nutritious Components

There are plenty of good sources of protein you can easily pack, such as canned tuna and sardines, all-natural deli meat, and roasted soybeans or chickpeas. If you have a fridge at work, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, and last night’s leftover meatballs are all possibilities. If you have a microwave, you can take Protein Entrees and Soups. There’s always room to satisfy your sweet tooth if you take Protein Pudding or Protein Cereal.

Round out your lunch with some healthy carbs to help fuel a productive afternoon. Whole fruit such as apples, tangerines, and oranges is about as easy as it gets. You can fill up on low-calorie, nutrient-dense veggies such as baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and bell pepper strips. Whole-grain crackers and baked squash or sweet potato fries are also easy options.

Use Containers Wisely

Perfectly sized containers with tight-fitting lids give you the freedom to pack whatever you want for your lunch. Bigger containers are ideal for green salads and raw veggies, and tiny containers can hold the dressing until it’s lunchtime. Use medium containers for cut fruit and fruit salads, cooked beans, cottage cheese, and leftovers such as stir fry. Medium-small containers are good for lean proteins such as cooked chicken and fish, and starches such as sweet potatoes. Small containers work nicely for avocados, nuts, and other calorie-dense nutrient powerhouses.

Bariatric Portion Plates can be helpful for putting together a balanced meal with good portions for weight loss surgery patients. They come with cutlery, and you can heat or refrigerate them depending on what’s on your menu for the day.

Enjoy Healthy Swaps

Your childhood peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread may have way too many carbs and calories to fit into your current meal plan, but you don’t have to deny yourself completely. You can always make healthy swaps. For example, instead of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you can try:

-peanut butter with apple slices.

-a peanut butter and jelly protein bar.

-peanut butter and strawberries or banana slices on a slice of low-carb bread.

You can also swap Protein Chips for carb-laden potato chips, Protein Pretzels for starchy regular pretzels, and  Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies for the sugary ones of your schooldays. There’s no need to miss out on your favorite tastes!

Stash Some Staples

No matter how well prepared you are, you may come across days when you don’t have much time to pack a lunch or you simply forget. Plan ahead, and you’ll never be without some healthy choices at mid-day. You can easily stash staples in your drawer at work or in the breakroom pantry. The following examples pack a nutritional punch and do not need refrigeration.

Packing a lunch can be one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take for weight loss, and it’s not that hard. With a little prep and some easy meal solutions, you can pack great-tasting meals that fit into your diet plan and leave you feeling satisfied and proud.

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  • Alex Brecher
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