Saturday's with Nichole: Healthy Lunch Ideas - From Home (Week 7)


I don't know about you, but bringing my lunch to work with me is somewhat of a challenge for a few reasons.
1. I don't like to eat the same thing every day. 
2. When I'm cold I always want to eat something hot. 
3. I'm easily convinced. 
4. I don't always make enough time to prepare my lunch in the morning. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Bringing my lunch to work isn't just about eating healthier, it's about saving money. Depending on where you live, you could easily spend $10 for a sandwich, chips and drink. Do that Monday through Friday and you've spent $50 on just lunch alone! Then add in a bagel and coffee for breakfast each morning and you could easily have spent $100 per week on food. Now think about how much more food $100 would get you at the grocery store...

Eating healthier and saving money are 50/50 on my reasons to bring my lunch to work each day. I'll be honest, there are days where I still end up going out to pick something up for lunch but I feel like as long as I'm making a decent effort to bring lunch to work every day, then I'm doing better than I could be.

Variety is the spice of life. Someone important said that right? When it comes to lunches, I have to say, I agree with them 100%! When I make my grocery list and menu for the week, I look to see which meals will have leftovers and if any of them can be incorporated into a lunch. I also go as far as to plan out snacks because if not, it's just another temptation to eat something unhealthy.

So this week I decided to cover a just a few simple lunches you can bring from home. Depending on the popularity of this (that means let me know!) I can continue it with more suggestions or maybe even make Saturday's the day for lunch recipes? You tell me.

And please keep in mind, what I consider healthy, you may not. But as a general definition I'm considering "healthy" foods to be ones without tons of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, carbs, etc. You should always check the labels to make sure that something "reduced" or "light" that you're buying is actually better than the full-fat versions.

Cold/Refrigerated Lunch Ideas
Chicken Taco Wrap: grilled chicken, reduced-fat shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, reduced-fat sour cream, salsa wrapped up in a whole-wheat tortilla
Turkey BLT Wrap: lunchmeat turkey, turkey bacon or reduced-sodium bacon, lettuce and sliced tomatoes in a whole-wheat tortilla with reduced-fat or light mayo
Veggie Wrap: bell peppers, mushrooms, red onion, lettuce, tomato...pretty much any veggie of your choice in a whole wheat wrap with a light Italian salad dressing 
Tuna on Crackers: solid white tuna (drained), mixed with diced celery and onions and light mayo served on crackers. 

Salad Combination Ideas
Strawberry and Spinach: sliced strawberries, spinach and any other veggies of your choice with a balsamic or fruity vinaigrette dressing 
Southwestern: grilled chicken with bell peppers, taco or fajita seasoning, corn, beans, lime juice, reduced-fat sour cream and salsa as a dressing 
Protein Packed: hard-boiled eggs, drained white tuna, and grilled chicken are all easy additions to "beef" up a salad
"Chef" Salad: lean lunch meats, reduced-fat shredded cheeses, lettuce, tomato and other veggies with a light Italian dressing 

Warm Lunch Ideas
"Mexican Pizza": shredded cheese melted on a whole-wheat tortilla topped with salsa.
Reuben Wrap:  corned beef, turkey or roast beef with reduced-fat Swiss cheese and sauerkraut warmed up in a whole-wheat tortilla
Fajita Wrap: cooked bell peppers and onions meatless or with chicken or flank steak warmed up in a whole-wheat tortilla
Pita Pizzas: shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, light pizza sauce (or homemade) melted on a whole wheat pita. 

Obviously these suggestions are based on the foods I like. If you dislike something, feel free to substitute it with something else. 

One thing that really helps me bring my lunch to work on a regular basis is to prepare as much of it as possible the night before when I'm cooking dinner. That way, I can't use any excuses of not having enough time in the morning when all I need to do is grab a few things and go. 

 I hope this gives you some ideas of other lunches you can bring to work!
Happy Saturday,   

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