Getting Ready to Go Back: Easy Lunch Ideas for Back to School & Work

Can you believe we are almost at the end of July!?! Where did our summer go?!?

With school starting back in roughly thirty days and more adults venturing back into their offices for the first time in over 18 months, a lot is bound to change with daily schedules and morning routines. Times of transition can easily overtake health goals and detract from one’s focus on their dietary intake so I wanted to provide you all with some of my easy “plan and pack” lunch ideas that will help you maintain your focus on your diet and wellness goals over the coming few months.

Every lunch should provide all three macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates, along with one to two cups of fresh vegetables. Leaning heavily on protein, fibrous vegetables and healthy fats will allow you to feel satiated without feeling overly full which could lead to a post-lunch crash. The midday slump will be felt a lot more if your midday meal is high in carbohydrates which is why I recommend keeping carbohydrates present, but minimized, at this meal. Remember, lunch is typically a meal we eat quickly and forget about soon after so do not worry if you get repetitive with this one. Food should always serve a functional purpose and lunch should energize us to power through our afternoon. The meal ideas below are designed to help increase your energy and focus for the second half of your day!

LUNCH IDEA #1- The “Basic” Salad: 2 cups of pre-washed spring mix or arugula + shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, and ½ cup of chickpeas (see… no chopping involved!). Top with a 4oz can of tuna or salmon (packed in water), ½ avocado, handful of fresh parsley and 1-2tsp. of olive oil & 1tsp of balsamic vinegar.

LUNCH IDEA #2- The Mediterranean Bowl: 2 handfuls of spinach mixed with ½ cup of black lentils and topped with 3Tbs. of hummus, sliced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes and along with shredded chicken and 2Tbs. of feta cheese. Again, minimal chopping required so you can throw this together in ten minutes or less as long as you have al ingredients present.

LUNCH IDEA #3- The Sheet Pan Meal: 1 cup of chopped and roasted sweet potato along with 1-2 cups of roasted broccoli and 1 sliced, roasted chicken breast. NOTE: All these foods can be cooked on one sheet pan. Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and roast at 400 degrees with 20 minutes and your meal prep for the week is done!

LUNCH IDEA #4- 1- The Versatile Wrap: Whole Grain wrap (I like Tumaros ancient grain wraps) with one individual cup of wholly guacamole spread on it and layered with nitrate-free sliced turkey, handful of spinach and shredded carrots. Feel free to bring an apple to have on the side for another good dose of fiber.

It is also a great idea to follow up your lunch with a 10–30-minute walk outside in the fresh air. This walk will also give you a shot of energy along with aiding your body in digestion and reducing your post-meal glucose levels.

Good luck with the approaching Fall schedule! In Health & Happiness, Jessica

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