It’s Sunday evening and I have had a jam-packed Mother’s Day. While it wasn’t a day full of pampering or at the spa, I spent the day with all the people that I loved. Starting the day with my husband and boys, my mother and then attending my nephew’s birthday party over lunch. I definitely over-indulged with homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, followed by delicious pizza and homemade chocolate ganache cake for lunch. Yum. But I clearly maxed out my calories for the day! And it’s not even dinner yet. I’m not going to beat myself up over one bad day, but I need to start thinking about getting back on track this week with some healthy lunch ideas for work. As I have consulted with friends and others on social media, this continues to be one of the biggest challenges for most us. When we do finally commit to a healthy lifestyle, cooking at home is the easiest way to manage our intake. But what do we do everyday when we leave the house, whether we are at the office or on the road. Let’s discuss some healthy lunch ideas for work!
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work – Make at Home
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I am big on Sunday Meal Prep days. That means that I try to cook in large batches for the week. In particular, I am pretty big on prepping for my lunch throughout the week. Since I am on the road for work, I don’t want to be tempted by the numerous lunch options at fast food or chain restaurants. There are simply too many temptations if you don’t plan.
My favorite to-go lunch to prep on the weekends are our Clean Egg Muffins. They are portable, don’t need to be reheated (but they taste much better when heated), and are packed with protein. Plus you can load them with veggies to ensure you get your veggie intake during the day.
In the past, I would have no issue stopping at a Wawa or a Walgreens to pick up a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon. I would usually rely on a protein bar for one of these snacks. Since early February, I have made a commitment to avoid processed foods and limit any added sugar in my diet, so these protein bars are off the menu. A fantastic option is to actually make your own, and it is surprisingly easy! One of our favorite blogs is the Minimalist Baker, and her 5-Ingredient Granola Bars. They are simple to make and even better, no-bake! Even the kiddos love them!
One of our favorite colorful salads is our Tofu Thai Chopped Salad. With all the flavors of a takeout meal from a Thai restaurant, this salad hits the spot without maxing out your calories for the day. Each plate is only 167 calories and packs the protein at 12g! And the Cilantro Lime Dressing is a perfect accompaniment to this flavor bomb of a salad.
Finally, if you are looking for more great salads to pack for the week, we love the blog, Pinch of Yum. Their Glowing Grilled Summer Detox Salad is the perfect plan for those hot days in July, when you barely feel like eating. This salad is loaded with grilled shrimp and veggies and super colorful. And when you eat the rainbow, you know you are getting a variety of valuable nutrients. In terms of prep for this salad for the week, I would grill all your veggies over the weekend and portion it out into mason jars with your fresh veggies. Add the grilled shrimp each day when you are packing up to head out, and hold off on adding the dressing until you are ready to eat. Only 279 calories without the dressing. As with all salads, watch your consumption of dressing – these are often the calorie bomb. If you can avoid dressing at all costs, you will save on empty calories.
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work – On the Go
While making your meals at home are always THE BEST way to monitor and regulate your caloric intake, sometimes eating on the go is unavoidable. Even if you have the best of intentions and plan/pack every meal, you may end up at a restaurant or convenience store shopping for food. So what should you do then? What is best to choose?
When it comes to ordering at a restaurant, don’t be afraid to be the annoying customer. Order like Sally in ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ Get the dressing on the side, the salmon with no butter, and definitely pass on the bread basket. In this day and age, the chefs of most restaurants will be happy to accommodate your requests. Don’t curb your social style or work functions simply because you have dietary preferences. Broiled, grilled or roasted are always healthier options than fried, sautéed or baked (usually means it’s stuffed with something). Avoid sauces and dressings when possible. Choose steamed veggies as a side and make sure you drink lots of water. Never order dessert. You wouldn’t eat it at home.
If you can choose your restaurant, there are some spots that offer healthier choices. Starbucks, Zoe’s Kitchen, Mezeh and even Panera Bread offer many options that can be very clean and healthy choices for a lunch. Starbucks has been a surprising new option for a lunchtime stop as they are truly trying to compete. Their Zesty Chicken and Black Bean Salad offers 14g of protein with only 360 calories and it looks mighty delicious. The best option at Zoe’s Kitchen is their Quinoa Salad which clocks in at 320 calories and is loaded with 10g of protein. And we all know the rich benefits of quinoa in everyone’s diet! From Panera Bread, order the Seasonal Greens Salad for only 180 calories and feel free to top it with grilled chicken. This salad is the cleanest of their offerings, so load up! Finally, Mezeh is one of our newest restaurants in the Richmond market, and we love their healthy options. We order the salad and really limit the toppings to minimize the calories. Topped with their delicious falafel, you will be sure to love this really cool restaurant.
At the end of the day, you are the captain in your new healthy lifestyle. You have to take control, plan ahead, have the discipline to say no, and make healthy choices even in social situations. And by registering with us, you will join a community of supporters and like-minded friends who will help you make better decisions for your health. You deserve it.