Wouldn’t you love to have a stress-free lunch break during the work day, relaxing and eating a tasty healthy meal while reading a book or magazine, catching up on your social media, or just decompressing? Many people tend to spend their lunchtime standing in line or sitting in a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant because they think it’s cheaper and easier than bringing their lunch. However, eating out can end up being expensive, time-consuming, and very unhealthy over time. It can also be stressful if you have to hurry to get back to work (and even more so if it is a bad weather day), therefore making your lunch time not very enjoyable or as relaxing as it should be.
So how can you make your lunch time more enjoyable and less stressful? Simply spend a few extra minutes at home preparing a healthy and inexpensive brown bag lunch. These quick and healthy brown bag lunch ideas don’t involve cooking and contain very few ingredients.
- Tuna salad with crackers: Tuna in water (drained) mixed with mayonnaise or olive oil and fresh veggies (celery, onion, tomato – you can buy many veggies already cut up) – serve with your favorite whole-grain crackers.
- Taco salad: Black beans (rinsed in water) with cut up vegetables (shredded lettuce or cabbage, onions, avocado, tomatoes) and fresh grated cheese – mix with a little lemon juice and olive oil (or step it up with some cilantro dressing) and serve with whole grain tortilla chips (crumble the chips over the salad).
- Make it a wrap: Take the above tuna or taco salad idea but instead of serving crackers or tortilla chips, wrap the ingredients in a whole grain tortilla. Another wrap option – spread the tortilla with your favorite hummus and add some veggies and fresh cheese.
- Bean salad: Garbanzo beans, green beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans, fresh tomato, red onion, celery, fresh spinach leaves or arugula – rinse the canned beans in water and mix with a little lemon juice and olive oil, or your favorite vinaigrette dressing – serve with your favorite whole-grain crackers.
- Yogurt with fresh fruit and granola: Very simple to prepare and it’s not just for breakfast anymore!
- Leftovers: When you prepare dinner the night before, make a little extra and put some aside for lunch the next day beside serving for dinner.
Don’t forget the fresh fruit on the side!
In addition to these brown bag lunch ideas, many grocery stores sell pre-packaged fresh meals and meal kits that are ready to eat out of the package, but be sure to check the ingredient label to make sure it’s nutritious and not full of saturated fat and sodium, and that there is a sufficient amount of protein.