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Isn’t it funny how when the calendar changes from one year to the next, so many of us start to think about healthy living more? But regardless of the new year, healthy living is really something to do all the time, all year round, regardless of what part of the calendar we’re in.
As a mom to two school-aged kids, it’s super important to me that my kids and I make healthy choices every day — especially when we’re away from home. That’s why I often pack their lunches with extra fruits and veggies (and protein too!).
That’s also why I aim to bring lunch from home as often as I can. But I’ll admit: it’s a challenge. I work in an downtown urban area where the options for takeout are plentiful and just a short walk from my office. There’s so much temptation to just eat out or get takeout all the time … but I am so much healthier when I don’t.
So, how do I keep my work lunches interesting so I get excited to eat them?
4 Ways to Improve Your Work Lunches
- Plan Ahead: The biggest enemy of healthful work lunches — for me, at least — is not planning ahead. When I had no plan, I am more likely to just leave for work without packing anything. This is where a little meal planning goes a long way. That doesn’t mean you have to create complicated lunch spreadsheets to plan — but it helps to ensure that you have adequate options for packing lunches in your pantry, fridge and freezer. And it also helps to have some easy grab and go options handy.
- Variety Matters: Don’t fall into the packing-the-same-thing-everyday rut! That’s one of the biggest deterrents to home lunches for me there are only so many turkey sandwiches I want to eat in a week, you know? Instead, switch it up (this goes back to planning ahead a little!). Pack a different entree daily, and mix it up with fun, nutritious sides. Layered salad in a jar, anyone? Or how about Mason jar fruit salad?
- Drinks Aren’t an Afterthought: Water is great to drink throughout the day. But it can get a little boring and sometimes you want to sip something a little more special with your lunch. Pack a favorite tea bag or keep special flavored water handy. Or even tuck some fresh fruit into your water bottle to flavor your water yourself. It will make your lunchtime drink so much better.
- Make it Fun: Eating lunch in the office doesn’t have to be basic. Keep a fun plate and/or bowl in your desk and serve yourself lunch on them. Or sit down in the breakroom and take some time eating, savoring your food as you would elsewhere.
Speaking of grab and go options, I love Lean Cuisine meals, which can be a great option for lunchtime entrees. With gluten-free options, protein-packed options, organic ingredient options and more, Lean Cuisines are full of big flavor and are so satisfying too. It’s no secret that the Ranchero Braised Beef is my so-not-guilty pleasure — it has a spicy red chile sauce and sweet-spicy chipotle mashed sweet potatoes that I just adore. The spicy-sweet combination is a favorite of mine.
Knowing that I love anything with that sweet-spicy combination, I recently also tried the LEAN CUISINE® MARKETPLACE Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef. It’s one of several newer entrees available that are perfect for lunches.
Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef features braised beef with brown rice and veggies. I loved the carrots in this dish, and especially the flavorful sauce, which is sweet with a bite of spice. Such a tasty lunchtime option!
I picked up the new Sweet & Spicy Korean Style Beef, and other Lean Cuisines at Target, where they are just $2 each right now. There’s also a $1 off 5 coupon available online that is good beginning Jan. 3.
Lunchtime at work is my most challenging time because there are so many tempting local options for delicious take out. But planning ahead, and having delicious options to pack helps me with my best healthy living intentions.
What’s your biggest challenge for lunchtime at work?
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