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How to Pack Your Own Lunch, Like a Champ

Posted on Apr 02, 2016 by Hilton Head Health








At 5 am my alarm goes off. Up and at it I go. Goal one: Put in my contacts. Goal two: Grab all of my belongings for the day and head to my 6 am workout. I have definitely forgotten my fair share of essential items for the day (e.g., you can ask a few of Hilton Head Health's employees, ha); but one thing I will never forget is my packed lunch. I always bring my lunch box/cooler filled with breakfast, lunch and a few ice packs. After my workout, I have my breakfast within the hour post-training. I wish I could do a hot breakfast every now and then, but I save those for weekends. My two typical breakfast options:

 

BREAKFAST ONE BREAKFAST TWO


    • ¾ cup 1-2% cottage cheese or Greek yogurt

    • ½ cup fresh berries (whatever is on sale)

    • ¼ cup nuts (cashews, pecans, or almonds)

    • 2-3 T. toasted oats or low sugar granola




    • 1 cup cooked cereal (oats or buckwheat) or ½ cup cooked quinoa

    • ½ cup mango + ¼ cup blueberries

    • 2 T. homemade nut butter (almond or cashew)


 

Meal Planning Tip:  I portion out 3-4 breakfasts on Sunday.  Grab & Go daily.


 

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My work day begins and soon enough it is 12 or 12:30 pm and I am ready for some lunch. I typically take a thermal walk after lunch or get in a walk before I eat to clear my head. Chef Karla Williams and Chef Carrie know the drill…I take my cooler to the Healthy Kitchen and I typically sit in one of my favorite H3 rooms while they are prepping for an event.  It is like my own personal demo while I reheat my lunch. I am thankful I prepared most of my lunches on Sunday, just like breakfast. I can’t imagine hitting the 12:00 hour five days a week and not knowing what I was doing for my food.  It is too important for me to forget.  No one “forgets” to eat…it simply isn’t a priority in that person’s life at the moment. Below are a few lunches that are easy to meal prep on Sunday while tasting delicious a few days later. I usually repeat these lunch items a few days in a row for meal prepping purposes and will most likely switch things up once or twice during my Monday through Friday.

WEEK ONE WEEK TWO WEEK THREE WEEK FOUR


    • ½ cup cooked whole grain (rice, farro, etc.)

    • ¾ cup cooked roasted eggplant and onions

    • 4-5 oz. coconut slow cooker pulled chicken




    • ¾ cup roasted sweet potatoes

    • ½ cup balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts

    • 4-5 oz. herb grilled pork tenderloin




    • ½ cooked cilantro brown rice

    • 1 cup stir-fried peppers and onions (seasoned)

    • ¼ cup black beans

    • 3 oz. grilled chicken




    • 3-5 cups spinach

    • ¼ cup blueberries, cherry tomatoes, avocado

    • 2 T. sunflower seeds

    • 4 oz. Salmon (from night before)

    • 2 T. homemade dressing



To some, these lunches may appear more like traditional dinners; however, it is essential to have a balanced and satisfying mid-day meal. These meals carry me through most of my afternoon and I know I have done everything possible to set myself up for success. Put in the effort to create a lunch that you enjoy and I promise everyone will start coming to you for daily lunch inspiration. ;)


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