You know that packing a healthy lunch will help you stay on track, but chances are you struggle to find the time. Planning ahead and preparing healthy lunches doesn’t have to take hours. By getting organized and creating a routine, you can save time while always having a nutritious lunch that is ready to eat when you are.
Make big batches.
If you are already investing the time to cook, you might as well make enough food to get you through several meals. Many healthy recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to provide more servings for meals throughout the week. Homemade soups and salads are easy to pack for a light lunch. Extra roasted chicken can be used in sandwiches, wraps, and tacos. Leftover vegetables can be stirred into whole grain pasta or quinoa. Decide what big batches of foods you can prepare over the weekend, and make a plan for how you will use them in packed lunches throughout the week.
Portion when you put up leftovers.
When you have leftovers, don’t transfer them to one large container. Divide everything into smaller containers that you can quickly grab and add to your lunch bag. Avoiding the need to divide foods and dirty more dishes on a busy morning will save you valuable time.
Create a to-go cabinet in the kitchen.
Sealable containers, reusable baggies, and thermoses all make ideal containers for packing a lunch, but searching for a lost lid 5 minutes before you need to get out the door is frustrating and time consuming. Designate one place in your kitchen to keep all of your to-go containers and utensils. When you are ready to pack your lunch, everything will be right where you expect it to be.
Invest in divided containers.
Bento box style lunch boxes and divided trays allow you to use one container for the components of your healthy lunch. You can pack your sandwich, fruit and pretzels in one lunch box, or keep the toppings separate from your salad before you are ready to eat. You’ll need fewer containers for your lunches, and you will spend less time trying to find the right container for your foods. These lunch boxes can also help with portion control, and they allow for quick clean up.
Take advantage of storage at work.
If your workplace provides space for you to store foods during the week, take advantage of the time it will save you. Gather up staples like a bag of carrots, a carton of hummus, and cartons of yogurt, and take them with you on Monday. They’ll be ready to go when you need them, and you won’t have to spend time organizing and packing these foods at home each day.