When it comes to ideas, I’m full of them! But honestly I’m a creature of habit for breakfast and lunch. (You can read my top breakfast ideas here.) I come up with my favorites and eat them every day for a couple weeks until I get bored. Then I switch to a new staple. I keep it seasonal, so I don’t feel so bad about lack of variety. It works for me. The key to eating real food is making it easy. If repeating meals for a couple weeks makes it easy for you, you enjoy the food, and you can stay on track making healthy choices, then I say you are succeeding.
I posted this picture on Facebook and Instagram last week. I am not the person who is satisfied with puny portions. I love to fill my plate with lots of veggies and then round it out with protein and healthy fat. Eating like this keeps me full and satisfied.
Here are 5 of my favorite healthy lunch ideas to fuel you:
1. The big salad or veggie plate See above, I’m not talking about romaine with a little chicken and cucumbers. I’m talking volume. Get creative with ingredients like leftover roasted vegetables, hemp seeds, artichokes, Kalamata olives and avocado. Just make sure to make the majority of the salad vegetables, adding a healthy amount of protein and a small amount of fat to keep you going. I choose from what’s seasonal and load up! If it’s cold out, I lightly sauté my veggies and top with protein and some fat like avocado, pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.
2. Loaded sweet potatoes You can bake sweet potatoes in advance and then top with protein and healthy fat like black beans, lentils or chicken, avocado and salsa. Add a side salad if you need to and you’ve got a lunch that will satisfy all afternoon.
3. Smoothies Drink your greens and protein for lunch! This is an awesome idea if you find yourself eating on the go in between meetings or in the car. There are so many varieties I love, comment below if you need ideas. You can add a healthy homemade muffin, salad or even a hard-boiled egg if you need to chew something to feel like you’ve had a meal.
4. Soup and salad The classic pairing doesn’t need to be boring or unsatisfying. Make a large pot of soup or chili on the weekend and you’ll have a few days worth of soup for lunch. Add a salad with hard-boiled egg, shredded chicken or black beans. Caution – if you’re anything like me, a cup of minestrone and an all-vegetable side salad will not do the trick. I need to get enough protein and healthy fat to make sure my stomach isn’t rumbling an hour later.
5. Lettuce wraps I love using a collard green or romaine lettuce leaf to load up on a big helping of yumminess. Lentils, black beans, chicken, wild-caught fish, whatever you like. Hummus or guacamole and veggies are a must (roasted veggies are good too!), and you can add brown rice or quinoa if you want some grains to keep you going. One of my favorite wraps is using nori seaweed. If you like sushi, give it a try for loads of minerals.
Of course, you can’t beat leftovers for lunch. Make extra dinner (if you’re going to the trouble to cook, double it!) and you can pack up a couple lunches in no time. If you’re choosing from the list above, simply plan it out on the weekend. Prep your veggies, cook your protein or soup, even make your smoothies and put them in the freezer. (If this doesn’t sound simple to you, contact me for a free consultation to find out how to make this easy peasy in your busy life.)
I want to hear from you…what is your struggle when it comes to eating a healthy lunch?