Bored of the same old lunch? Our recipes will provide you with five days of healthy lunches to excite your taste buds. Resolve to brown bag it in the New Year!
Among the many New Year’s resolutions, three typically rise to the top of the list (or at least make the top 10): lose weight, save more money, and maintain a healthier lifestyle. By making a healthy lunch each day, we can achieve all three.
The seemingly daunting, but actually quite simple, task of packing a lunch for work can mean a huge difference in pounds, dollars, and overall well-being. A recent study revealed that, while trying to lose weight, women who ate out for lunch one day per week or more lost five fewer pounds than those who ate out less often. Researchers suspect it’s because it’s hard to stick to a plan when eating out—meaning we don’t have control over portion size nor do we know how our food is prepared and what ingredients are used.
Restaurant food (fast food in particular) is notorious for its high concentration of sodium, saturated and trans fats, and refined sugars. By reducing our intake of convenience foods we are doing our bodies a great service, as these ingredients have been linked to a variety of chronic, life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In addition to helping our health, packing a lunch can also help our wallets. Different online sources suggest that packing a lunch daily can save from $988 to $3,000 annually. Although it would be quite different from person to person to determine the exact amount saved by packing a lunch, the point is that money will be saved. And who couldn’t use some extra money floating around?
To get you started on your goal of finding your perfect weight, feeling great, and saving money (a.k.a. packing a lunch), here’s a week’s worth of tasty recipes, complete with packing, time-saving, and ingredient-swapping tips.
Print this handy shopping list out for everything you need to make the week’s worth of healthy lunches
Lunch kit companions
Pack your lunch in something funky and eco-friendly.
- Tiffin carrier: Originating in India, these stainless steel, stackable lunch carriers come with several tiers—perfect for separating different foods.
- Bento box: Popular in Japan, bento boxes are compartmentalized containers typically packed with rice, fish or meat, and vegetables. Look for ones that are free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC, as they’re often made of plastic.
- Glass containers: Look for containers that are ovenproof and whose plastic lids are free of BPA and have a good quality, airtight seal.
- Reusable sandwich bags: Scrap the one-time-use plastic sandwich bags for something that’s reusable. Look for products that are free of food-leaching chemicals and are coated with safe materials such as beeswax.
5 Days of Recipes
- Monday: Mason Jar Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing and Walnut Meat
- Tuesday: Peanutty Asian Slaw with Creamy Lime Chicken
- Wednesday: Curried Chickpea Mango Salad Wrap
- Thursday: Italian Flag Pesto Sandwich
- Friday: Everything but the Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad
Meat-free muscle building
After a sweat-inducing workout we need to repair muscle by refueling with a meal high in protein. Vegetarians in particular need to be conscious of their protein intake, as they often tend to fill up on fibre, leaving room for little else. This delicious salad does double duty, boasting 13 grams of muscle-building protein thanks to the walnuts and black beans, as well as 11 grams of dietary fibre. Prep several servings for the week ahead and have your post-workout meal ready to go!
Satisfying midday snacks
Let’s face it, sometimes 2 pm rolls around and we could literally eat the chair. Arm yourself with these nutritious snacks, and quit gnawing on your chair already.
- 1 small apple with 2 small slices of Parmesan or other hard cheese
- 5 hazelnuts, 5 dried cherries, and 5 dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) 0% milk fat Greek yogourt, drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of slivered almonds
- edamame with sea salt (steam them at home and eat them cold)
- half an avocado with hot sauce, a sprinkle of salt, and a squeeze of lime