Enjoy endless lunch options when you pack a mix-and-match healthy lunch

  • 2 Minutes Read
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

Whether you are headed to school or the office, pack a healthy lunch to feel satisfied, not sluggish, throughout the afternoon. Check out these yummy and simple mix-and-match lunchbox ideas to arm yourself with a nutritious midday meal.

Pack a healthy lunch

Pack a healthy lunch to focus on your weight-loss plan

A balanced lunch can help you cruise through the afternoon, avoiding mid-afternoon energy dips and hunger pangs leading to the vending machine. Swap out the same old sandwiches with more variety, so you don't get bored and opt for calorie-laden fast food. With a little planning and a flexible, mix-and-match approach, you will have healthy and tasty lunches with minimal effort!

Plan ahead for easy lunches

Chances are, you prioritize dinner options when making a weekly grocery list. Include lunch choices as well when planning the week's meals to set yourself up for weight-loss success. This keeps your midday meal from becoming an afterthought.

Stock up with grab-and-go fruits and veggies (baby carrots, sugar snap peas, oranges, grapes, etc.) to boost your lunch's satisfaction and nutrition power.

Incorporate dinner leftovers in your healthy lunch plan. Grilled chicken can appear in a wrap the next day. Leftover whole-grain pasta makes a cold noodle salad base. Roasted veggies serve as a flavorful sandwich filler.

Have the proper healthy-lunch packing supplies

Treat yourself to a fun lunchbox or bag. An appealing yet practical insulated lunch tote may inspire you to pack a healthy lunch.

Keep various reusable containers with matching lids-nothing is more frustrating than searching for a proper lid when you are running late to work. Consider bento boxes or partitioned storage containers for portion control. Visit a thrift store for inexpensive utensils to avoid one-time-use plasticware.

Don't forget to stash ice packs in the freezer to add to your lunchbox, keeping your meal fresh and safe to eat.

Use a mix-and-match approach for balanced and creative lunches

A mix-and-match approach gives you unlimited options when you pack a healthy lunch. Simply choose an item from each column: a protein source, healthy carbs from a grain and fruit, a veggie serving, and a condiment/flavor booster. If you follow a lower-carb plan, you may omit the grain and/or fruit serving, or save them for a snack.

Get started with this mix-and-match chart:

Protein Grain Fruit Veggie Condiment/flavor boosters
Greek yogurt Rye crackers Grapes Tomato juice Hummus

Recipe idea: Easy Classic Homemade Hummus
Edamame or baked tofu

Recipe idea: Roasted Spicy Edamame
Low-carb tortilla Mandarin orange Mini bell peppers Ranch dressing
Tuna salad

Recipe idea: Cyprus Tuna Salad
Quinoa Apple Baby spinach Peanut sauce
Rotisserie chicken Brown rice cakes Raisins Baby carrots Vinaigrette dressing
Hard-boiled egg Whole-grain pasta Dehydrated banana chips Cole slaw

Recipe idea: Spicy Slaw with Ginger
Pesto

Recipe idea: Kale Pesto
Deli turkey or ham Pita bread Freeze-dried strawberries Cherry tomatoes Salsa
Peanut butter or almond butter Whole wheat bread, thin-sliced Cherries Sugar snap peas Yogurt dip

Recipe idea: Easy Greek Tzatziki Sauce
Sliced or cubed cheese Granola Applesauce Arugula Olives

More inspiration for mix-and-match lunches:

Turkey-hummus wrap: Low-carb wrap with deli turkey, hummus, and bell pepper slices with a side of grapes.

Asian pasta salad: Whole wheat noodles with rotisserie chicken, peanut sauce, sugar snap peas, and a small orange.

High-protein box: Hard-boiled egg, almonds, cheese cubes, cherry tomatoes, apple slices.

Don't cancel your efforts with an unhealthy beverage! Prepare unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water, milk, plant-based milk for your lunch break. Consider including a small treat to top off your meal or enjoy during an afternoon break, such as our Low-Carb Chia Seed Pudding, Cocoa-Dusted Almonds with a Hint of Maple Syrup, or Peanut Butter and Honey Energy Drops.

When you have these mix-and-match lunchbox ideas, you will be prepared for the day, save money, and stay focused on your healthier lifestyle.

Related Content:

Healthy lunch recipes for weight loss that take less than 15 minutes to prepare
Lackluster lunches got you down? Try these 5 healthy, easy lunch ideas for weight loss
Want some family-friendly lunch ideas that your family gets excited to eat? And the "healthy" factor is a bonus!

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Meal Planning & Diets->Lunch
Aug 8, 2022

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