Ask Health Coach Maria: What Are Some Healthy Lunches to Bring to Work?
Hi, I’m Maria Marlowe, a Certified Health Coach and author of Detox without the Deprivation. I love to explain why you are what you eat and have made it my mission to help the world get healthy through better nutrition. In the “Ask Health Coach Maria” series, I answer frequently asked questions that relate to health and wellness.
Whenever a client embarks on a new healthier eating plan, one of her first questions is usually “What are some healthy lunch ideas?”
Eating well in a potentially temptation-packed office might seem daunting, but luckily, bringing your own healthy alternative is an easy and delicious fix. And rest assured, there are plenty of options, so you’ll never get bored. Here are some of my favorite healthy lunches to bring to work:
Salad in a Jar: I personally love soggy salad, but most people don’t, so here is a genius and easy way to prevent your lettuce leaves from being limp by lunchtime: Get a large Ball jar, and pack it tightly with layers of different salad ingredients. The order matters here, so start with the dressing, followed by hearty ingredients that won’t get soggy in the dressing, like beans, carrots, cucumber, peppers, or beets, followed by lighter toppings that would get soggy, like tomatoes, onions, peas, corn, and strawberries, and finally, top it all with lettuce. Keep it in the fridge till lunchtime, then simply shake it up, pour into a bowl, and voila: a fresh and crispy salad!
My favorite salad in a jar: South of the Border Salad (Tip: Squeeze lime over avocado so it doesn’t brown.)
No jar? No problem! Purchase a small container to keep dressing separate from your salad until you’re ready to eat.
Wraps: Wraps are easy to make and transport, and make a perfect healthy lunch to bring to work. The possibilities here are endless. Start with a large tortilla (you can use a sprouted grain or gluten-free variety) then simply spoon in your filling of choice and roll it up, and it’s ready to go!
I like to make a Mediterranean hummus wrap using hummus as a spread, baby spinach, chopped bell peppers, chopped cucumber, a touch of red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.
Bean + Grain Salads: Beans and grains are hearty, so they hold up well in transport, making them excellent healthy brown bag work lunches. I love 3-beean salads, which you can eat cold or warm up at work, and quinoa salads filled with chopped veggies.
Some of my favorite combos include: edamame, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds with lemon and olive oil; white bean and artichoke hearts over quinoa, seasoned with parsley, mint, red onion, salt, pepper, and olive oil; roasted root veggies over lentils; and quinoa tabouli.
Leftovers: They may not be glamorous, but they work! When you’re pressed for time, leftovers are the simplest solution. If you get bored easily, try to dress them up in a new way. For example, if you had curry last night, spoon leftovers into a wrap. If you made roast veggies as a side dish, put them over baby arugula and turn them into a salad.
What are some of your go-to healthy lunch recipes? Tell us about them or link to them in the comment section, below!