It’s another hectic morning, you woke up just a little too late and you’re rushing out the door. No time to get a healthy lunch together, so it looks like you’ll be buying burritos or a falafel from the food truck once again.
That’s no big deal every once in a while, but if you have a habit of forgetting to bring your lunch from home you could wind up spending a lot of money and eating a whole bunch of meals that just aren’t that great for you. There’s a reason why so many health experts recommend making meals at home—there’s no way of knowing exactly what’s in restaurant food (or how it was prepared). Even something as seemingly healthy as a salad could actually be pretty unhealthy.
When you’re ready to start bringing lunch regularly, you’ll need a few ideas that actually sound appetizing. We turned to dietitians, nutritionists and award-winning chefs for their top healthy picks that you’ll actually want to eat.
Healthy Chicken Salad
“Protein-packed lunches are a must for me, I generally try to pick a source of protein as a base for my meal and then add in carbs or healthy fats around that. The protein source, like the chicken or tuna, helps keep me full between meals, while the carbs and fats help sustain my energy levels for my late-day workouts and help me avoid the afternoon ‘crash’. I always like to include some greens or veggies, such as romaine lettuce and sun dried tomatoes, to provide some fiber and antioxidant support,” said Brianna Diorio, a holistic lifestyle coach, clinical nutritionist and NASM-certified personal trainer at the Vitamin Shoppe. “One of my favorite lunches is making my own version of "chicken salad" minus the mayo. I simply take one can of organic canned chicken, mixed with 2 tablespoons of garlic hummus (in lieu of the mayo) and add in some chopped romaine and sun dried tomatoes; I do this in the morning while my coffee is still brewing.”
Tuna with a Twist
“Another go-to lunch favorite for me is wild caught canned tuna mixed with some organic salsa and half of an avocado,” said Diorio. “I’ll mix in some chickpeas or lentils for some carbs if I know I am working out later that day to help sustain energy levels.”