Being healthy and making the best choices can be a real chore, especially when it comes to mealtimes. If you are like most people, you probably have difficulty figuring out what to eat. And packing a healthy lunch can almost feel impossible.
The struggle is real. But healthy eating is vital to your overall health. It effects your entire body. To learn more about why nutrition is so important, read this post.
This guide will help you pack healthy lunches every day. It covers everything from helpful tips and Tupperware to food ideas.
This guide will make you feel like you can be healthy and make good choices for yourself, as well as others, such as your kids.
One healthy habit leads to the next, so that feeling is only going to get better the more you do. That is why this is a great starting point to start making better choices.
These are tried and true tip that can really help you save time when packing a healthy lunch. They also make the process much easier, so you will reach a point where this does not feel like a chore.
Sure, it is always easier to grab something out of the vending machine or pick up some takeout, but rarely, if ever, is that the healthier option.
Meal planning can be extremely helpful when you are trying to pack a healthy lunch each day. Weekly meal planning is the process of deciding what you will be eating for your meals during the week.
This might seem like it would take more time to plan out each meal and then pack them throughout the week, but in reality, it will save you much more time.
You will no longer be aimlessly wandering around your kitchen looking at what you can throw together last minute.
I know I have done that on many occasions before I started meal planning. It helps take the chaos out of your morning because it will be one less thing you have to worry about.
And it’s a great feeling when you can wake up and take your time getting ready for the day, rather than being rushed. How you start your morning tends to set the tone for the rest of your day, so why not try to start it off on a better foot.
If you want to learn more about weekly meal planning, see my post on The Significance of Healthy Weekly Meal Planning.
And if you are looking for a convenient printable to plan out your meals and write your grocery list on, check out my printables page.
This is another tip you are going to want to keep in mind. Prepping ahead of time can save you a lot of time overall and each morning.
What I mean by prepping is getting your healthy lunch basically ready ahead of time. For example, for your veggies, you can cut them all up ahead of time and bag portions of them. Then when you pack your lunch all you need to do is grab a bag.
Certain foods you are going to be able to prep sooner than others, but pretty much anything can be done ahead of time.
As you go you will find out what is best to prep when and when you like to prep your foods. I like to completely pack my lunch the night before if possible, so all I have to do the next morning is grab it and go.
Food Hacks for Packing a Healthy Lunch
These tips go hand in hand with prepping your food. Some might sound kind of weird, but they work.
If you want to make a sandwich ahead of time but don’t like the fact that the bread gets soggy from the mayo (or whatever you use), don’t put it on the bread.
Instead, put cheese on the bread, then your mayo/spread, followed by your meat and other condiments. If you don’t use cheese, you can put it between slices of meat.
You can also replace your bread with a tortilla shell and make a wrap. The tortilla shell never seems to get soggy if you put the mayo right on the shell.
If you make a salad, put a napkin or a piece of paper towel on top of your salad before you put the cover on. As salad sits in the fridge it tends to build up moisture, leaving your salad kind of wilted. The paper towel will draw the moisture always from the salad, keeping it nice and crisp for you.
If you have kids, or if you are a big kid, you can freeze a juice box and use it as an ice pack to make sure things stay cold.
Many people just tend to use what they have as storage for their lunch. That is always the cheapest option, but not always the best for storing all your lunch foods.
Most of what you already own would work, but they make very convenient containers nowadays.
You can find containers that are much more useful for your lunch storage, rather than just storing food. What I mean by that is, they make containers that can be divided up for multiple uses and venting technology to make heating your food better.
I really like these Rubbermaid containers. I like the fact that you can make a salad and keep all of the topping separate for maximum freshness.
They also have dividers so you can have multiple items in the containers, but you are able to keep them all together, rather than having several different containers to worry about.
They seal tight so you do not have to worry about spills. And they have vents to make heating up your food clean and easy.
On top of being microwave safe, they are also freezer and dishwasher safe. I love the fact that they are stain and odor resistant too.
If you are looking to do a lot of meal prep but do not want to spend a lot on containers, Rubbermaid has another great set of containers.
This set comes with 6 different sized containers, ranging from ½ cup to 7 cups. The 3, 5, and 7 cup containers come with a venting lid. This allows for a lot of different food options.
These are also microwave and dishwasher safe.
Building Your Healthy Lunch
Now it is time to build your lunch. When you are packing a healthy lunch, you want to keep a few things in mind. You want to make sure that you have a starch and protein to start.
There are countless options out there for a healthy starch and protein.
Always make sure to pack some fruits and vegetables. These are often overlooked when packing a lunch, especially if it is not specifically cooked into the food you bring.
Fruits and veggies are a great side that fill you up, so never count them out.
It’s a good idea to pack some snacks in your lunches as well. And it is a must if you are a person that likes to snack. Bringing your own healthy snack will help stop you from taking that trip to the vending machine and choosing chips or a candy bar.
Lastly, your drink. It should be water. Water is great for the body and most people do not get enough water in a day. Make sure to bring water each day and get a water bottle so it is easy to stay hydrated.
If you are one that just uses the water fountain or bubbler, you will not be drinking as much water as you would having it on hand.
I use this water bottle and it is probably my favorite water bottle I have ever bought. It keeps you water cold for up to 24-hrs and it comes with 2 different tops, depending on your preference.
Below I have listed some great ideas for food in each category we just covered. This should help give you a good start on your meal prep and help you come up with more ideas. There are endless options, you just need to plan them.
Starch and Protein for a Healthy Lunch
Peanut butter sandwich
Rice and beans
Chicken and rice
Pasta and turkey
Turkey and avocado sandwich
Egg salad sandwich/Avocado Egg salad
Hard boiled egg
Always make sure you are drinking water throughout the day!
Recapping Packing a Healthy Lunch
Packing a healthy lunch each day is possible. If you follow this guide, you will have no problem packing healthy lunches from here on out.
Start by meal planning and prepping ahead so you know what you will be eating. This will also save you time because you won’t have to decide what to have and then put it together.
It makes it super easy to throw your lunch together in the morning without any worries.
Keep my food hacks in mind and experiment to learn more. This will help make sure your lunch is as fresh as possible, which will help make you stick to packing them.
If your storage containers do not make it easy for you, do yourself a favor and invest in new containers. I shared two different options that would work great for storing your lunch.
When you don’t have to fight to find containers, you will find packing your lunch really isn’t that bad. And you might even like it.
Finally, while building your lunch, make sure to include a starch and protein, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and water.
Each of these contribute to a healthy lunch and in turn, a much healthier you!