Lunch, Meal Planning

The Best Cheat Sheet for Packing Lunches

I’m here to tell you that lunch doesn’t have to always be a cooked meal. In fact, it can be a lot easier than that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Meal Prep Sunday. A nice cooked rice bowl with chicken or beans, or a cup of chili are always nice treats during a cold winter week. But I wouldn’t pressure yourself to make a meal like this every single week. It doesn’t have to be hard, so let me help you make it easy.

Let me take you back to your childhood lunchbox. Those were always the best lunches, right? A combination of snack items with a sandwich somehow turned into the best lunches of all time…especially if it included a brownie, cookie, or my personal favorite, a bag of chocolate chip Mini Muffins. 

My cheat sheet for making lunches easy? Let’s bring back the lunchbox. Bento boxes are this climbing trend on Pinterest and Instagram, and for good reason. They are so darn easy to throw together! Why complicate lunch when it can be this easy?

Like I said, every now and then I’ll throw together a fun meal for the week. But most of the time I’m putting together a simple lunchbox. Here’s how I set them up:

Divide your box into four groups: Protein, vegetable, healthy fats, and carbs.

Each of these food groups is here for a specific reason: They help you to feel fuller for longer. Having a healthy combination of these will leave you feeling full and satisfied for the rest of your work day. 

Here are a list of proteins you could pack:

Section one: Proteins

  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup of tuna salad
  • 3-4 slices of deli meat
  • 1/2 grilled chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup taco meat (beef or turkey!)
  • 3-4 slices of bacon (regular or turkey)

Section two: Vegetables 

Pack 1 cup of the following:

  • Bell peppers, sliced
  • Snap peas
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green salad
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli

You could also substitute a cup of vegetables for a cup of fruit. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing this every week, since fruit has a lot of natural sugars in it. Those vegetables are good to have on a regular basis.

Section three: Healthy fats

  • Hummus, 1/3 cup
  • Avocado, one half
  • Nuts, 1/3 cup
  • Cheese, 1 oz. (4-5 small slices)

Section four: Carbs

  • Pretzel thins, 1/2 cup
  • Whole wheat bagel, one half
  • Crackers
  • Toast, 1 slice
  • Whole wheat pasta, 1/2 cup
  • Rice or quinoa, 1/2 cup
  • Beans, 1/2 cup

And there you have it! This cheat sheet will make for the EASIEST lunches with lots of delicious combinations. I did the math, and with the items listed above, you could make up to 882 different lunches. That’s almost 2 and half years worth of DAILY lunches! 

I hope this is helpful for you! What’s your favorite lunch combination? Share below!

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