Quick and Easy Lunch Ideas for Extra Busy People

How to sidestep fast food and choose tasty, healthy lunches to go

 

If you have made a choice to eat well, being prepared for lunchtime is absolutely essential, especially if you are a busy mom, or a road warrior with little time to spare. Here we take a look at a snapshot of some extremely nutritious easy lunch ideas. These options are also inexpensive and readily available or very quick to prepare.

In today’s time-poor society, many of us don’t plan ahead when it comes to our midday meal, a serious error. The key risk is being tempted to grab something quick, easy (and unhealthy!) which can easily undo our progress in the space of a few rash minutes.

When you’ve had a hectic morning in the office, or are out on the road and grabbing a proper lunch seems like a pipe dream, it can be tempting to fall back on old habits and hit a fast food chain.

easy lunches, don't do fastfood

The Hidden Costs of Fast Food

Don’t do it!

If you are still tempted, we want to help you remove those barriers…. first decide to read through some of the reasons why fast food is not cheap and also comes with a surprising range of associated negative effects.

Remind yourself of why you deserve better… https://alljustchoice.com/cheap-fastfood-is-creating-a-health-bill-you-cannot-afford-to-pay/

If you find that the rest of your sensible eating plan is going well but that lunch time fast food is undoing your good work, take inspiration from some of the ideas here today.

[bctt tweet=”Being prepared is key and taking the time to plan ahead will pay dividends” username=”alljustchoice”] Especially in terms of your waistline, wallet and overall wellbeing.

Breakfast burrito

easy lunches - bursting breakfast burrito

Recipe: Bursting Breakfast Burrito

The old adage “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” is worth considering.

As a judicious alternative to Taco Bell, why not set yourself up for the day with a delicious breakfast burrito packing less than 500 calories?

This recipe is straightforward and extremely quick to prepare. With a handy stock of Paleo bread laid in, the only difficult thing about the breakfast burrito is saving it for lunchtime and managing to eat it without spillage!

 

A Word on Salads

Salads are a staple lunchtime go-to for many people. Choosing the right salad, however, can be something of a minefield. This is doubly the case if you buy your salads pre-prepared. Often, the dressing and croutons can turn this seemingly healthy option into a poisoned chalice.  Making your own doesn’t have to be daunting and with a little planning, and some great tips (below) you can easily take one with you.

If you do purchase out… make sure you look out for the following

  1. No Croutons! (or crispy wontun strips)
  2. Dressings – No low fat dressings, if in doubt with ingredients, go for a basic vinaigrette
  3. Fruit – only in very small quantities and stick with berries
  4. Nuts – Raw nuts are best

Mason Jar Salads

salad-jar-1244573_1280 (1)


Mason Jar Salads Keep Fresh All Week

Mason Jar Salads can be pre-prepared even on the weekend, and will remain fresh for the whole week. Lettuce, carrot, onion, peppers and celery packed into these versatile airtight containers, is both tasty, crunchy and convenient.  Add a little turkey or chicken for a healthy protein fix.

For more guidence, this awesome video shows you just what to do…. Salad in a Jar!

As with most ideas here today, be experimental and make the recipes your own.  We love Avocado, it adds a mouth-watering touch.  Dress to taste and, with minimum effort, you can head to work equipped with a powerhouse salad which will damage neither your weight loss goals nor your budget.

For dressing ideas, see our sauces/condiments recipes.

Kale Caesar Salad

The conventional Caesar salad is delectable but not always the most healthy choice when store bought.

If you make up a dressing at home, you can retain the flavor while easing off on the additional unrequired ingredients.

Whisk up some lemon juice, garlic, mustard (and anchovies if you enjoy them) and then mix with some extra virgin olive oil until thick. Peel some fresh Parmesan with a vegetable peeler and you can enjoy the winning taste of Caesar dressing without all the drawbacks.
Note: For a dairy free option, substitued Parmesan for Nutritional Yeast

Skip the croutons and opt instead for kale, a superfood rich in vitamin A.

Curried Tuna with Honey and Cashews

Here’s something a little different for the protein addition to your salad… If you enjoy tuna but find yourself stuck in a rut, why not add some flavor and spice courtesy of a sprinkling of curry powder to pep up the mayonnaise?

Stir it together with your tuna then add touch of honey, a few fresh pineapple chunks and some cashew nuts for a versatile tweak on a classic.

Substitute the tuna for salmon if you want a special treat.

You can easily use this as a sandwich filler (check out our paleo/vegan bread), smear it on a flatbread wrap, or spread on crackers: there is no excuse for boredom when it comes to food!

Chopped Egg Salad… with a twist!

Chopped egg salad sandwiches are boring right?

Not if you customize them!

To make further use of your paleo breads, why not go to the trouble of preparing some nutritious egg salad with some added flavor the night before?

In addition to the usual seasoning, throw in 1 tsp of mustard, a handful of chopped spring onion and a pinch of paprika.

If you are looking for something lighter still, make a lettuce wrap instead. Long Cos lettuce is perfect for this creation.

Tip: If you are out and about, many sandwich shops/deli’s offer lettuce wraps as an alternative to their usual subs or flour tortilla wraps

Chicken/Bacon & Avocado

Chicken Bacon and Avocado Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

Recipe: Chicken Bacon and Avocado Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

As a final option for your Paleo bread/lettuce wrap, this classic combination takes just a few minutes to throw together and none of us can claim that we don’t have just a few minutes to spare.

It’s really filling and contains a ton of healthy fat.  Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl and you have a delicious and very healthy filling for your wrap.

Soup

If you find yourself with plenty of vegetables in stock, especially those nearing the end of their life, a filling and tasty soup is a perfect way to use them up.

Make a health-laden soup in the evening, liquidize it and then take to work in a flask.  We have a couple of great ones in our recipes section, so be sure to check them out.

Some crusty paleo bread or Paleo flat bread goes perfectly with this and saves adding too much more carbs.

What about some lunchtime desserts/snacks etc

No easy lunch ideas would be complete without something to satisfy the slightly sweeter tooth.  You see you don’t want to feel like you are missing out… am i right?

Healthy bars

Recipe: Cashew Choc-Chip Bars - Easy Lunch Ideas

Recipe: Cashew Choc-Chip Bars

We have a great recipe for cashew choc chip bars (click the image on the left)

Coconut Lime Bars – Easy Lunch Ideas

Recipe: Coconut Lime Bars – Key Lime Heaven

Another healthy sweet treat; these coconut lime bars are AMAZING (click the image on the right)

Making use of a food processor and involving no cooking, these snacks can be made in around ten minutes and are fantastic to take with you as a supplement to your lunch.

Tip: Pick items that are quick to make, and make multiple servings, that way… one batch and you are done for the week!

Warning: Be careful of grabbing bars labelled as “natural” or “healthy”. ALWAYS check the ingredients, they are usually packed with sugar and sometimes some other unwelcome surprises.

That being said, there are some good ones out there, just be careful what you pick up!

In some of our local health food stores, we’ve found a paleo snack brand called Base Culture. Paleo snacks on the go!

base culture - easy lunch ideas

Base Culture – Paleo Snacks

Raw nuts

Variety is key when it comes to maintaining a program of reasoned, healthy foods.

You can see here many of the health benefits delivered by nuts: https://alljustchoice.com/healthy-nuts/

Rather than just one large portion of something, take advantage of several different smaller servings and throw some nuts into the mix.

They’re even easy to find when you’re out and about.

Fresh Berries

And finally, one of the simplest & easy lunch ideas, a handful of fresh berries!  Especially when in season, they can add a massive taste explosion for your lunchbox.

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and my personal favorite, raspberries.  I remember growing up on the farm in the UK, being able to pick them straight from the bush and eating them that fresh 🙂

Just grab whatever berries you have to hand or are available at your local deli/health food store, and munch away.

So… now it’s your turn!

We’d love to hear your easy lunch ideas, either whilst out and about or that you make to take with you.  Let us know in the comments area below.

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