Now that we’re well into the school year, you might need a little inspiration for what to pack for lunch – whether that lunch is at the office, home, or on the go with kids – because sandwiches and leftovers are getting a little bland.
We’ve compiled five ideas for quick, easy, and healthy lunches:
- Snack-y Lunch
Sometimes lunch seems so boring because we often rinse and repeat: eating the same thing every day. Spice it up by making a snacky, tapas-style lunch by including a variety of the following:
o Chips, pretzels, plantains, or crackers of some kind
o Cheese sticks wrapped in prosciutto
o “Caprese” bites (mozzarella cube, cherry tomato, and a basil leaf on a toothpick)
o Grapes, apples, or bananas
Bonus: for kids, bring a muffin tray and set each “snack” in a different muffin cup. Presentation can trick many a kid into eating well.
- Kid-dy Lunch (for kids and adults)
Remember how fun lunch was as a kid? Make a kid-inspired lunch for yourself (and/or your kiddos) by including some of these classics:
o Ants on a log: spread nut butter on a celery stick, and stick raisins in the nut butter for “ants on a log”
o Tortilla swirls: use a whole wheat or spinach tortillas for these “swirls” or “pinwheels”. Just lay out your tortilla, spread it with your choice of spread (we love hummus or guacamole), and add some chopped veggies and deli meat. Then, roll it up tightly and cut into the “swirls”.
o PB&J: use a natural nut butter and a sugar-free jam on whole wheat bread. For added whimsy, cut the sandwich into a fun shape!
- Arugula salad with your choice of protein
This is super simple! Simply top a bed of arugula with halved cherry tomatoes and shredded parmesan. Then, drizzle balsamic vinegar or, even better, a balsamic glaze atop. For protein, add your choice of: avocado, bacon, chicken, a boiled egg, or even nuts.
- Taco bowl
Layer shredded lettuce, a protein (chicken, beef, tofu), black beans, salsa, (pre-made) guacamole, shredded cheese, and Greek yogurt in a bowl or mason jar for an easy Chipotle-inspired lunch. If you want some added grain, include brown rice or quinoa at the bottom of the “bowl”.
- Naked burger
Pack pre cooked burger patties in one container. In a separate container, pack a lettuce leaf, slice of tomato, pickles and a mustard packet. Heat up the burger and cheese, then place on the lettuce leaf for a “naked burger”. You could also include any other burger fixings you like! (Pro tip: keep extra mustard packets from fast food restaurants for lunches like these!)
While it can be easy to drive through a fast food establishment for a quick meal, taking the few moments to prepare a homemade, packed lunch because “a healthy, age-appropriate diet is one way students can protect themselves against unhealthy weight gain and serious long-term health effects that come with it” according to the AAP.
At ChoiceOne Urgent Care, we’re here for you when you need us. We’re open every day until 8 pm, and we’re passionate about caring for our patients. If you need us, walk in or set your arrival time online at choiceoneuc.com.
*With children, ensure you’ve cut the food into bite sized, choke-free pieces for your little ones and always monitor children when eating. Children should be seated to enjoy snacks and meals.