You know the feeling. You’ve finished the huge tub of leftover pasta you brought for lunch and you’re ready to curl up under your desk and take a nap. But deadlines loom, so you have to focus somehow.
Eating a heavy lunch sets a sluggish tone for the rest of the afternoon. Your body’s spending all its energy digesting, which makes it tough to get stuff done. Avoid the post-pasta plummet with these seven tips for lighter lunches.
1. Shop Right
If there’s only healthy food in your house, you’ll pack healthy lunches. Makes sense, right? Pick a few nutritious recipes for the week, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and stick to it when you go to the store. And as everyone knows, don’t shop hungry!
2. Pack Early
Weekday mornings are hectic enough without having to come up with lunch ideas. Pack your food the night before and you’ll be less tempted to grab a bagel or Pizza Pop on your way out the door. For an even quicker prep time, pack a bunch of lunches at the beginning of the week.
3. Go Green
There’s no easier way to get enough veggies than by bringing a salad for lunch. Keep it interesting and nutritious by adding fruit, nuts, grilled chicken, or chickpeas. Plus, salads are super easy to prep and can help use up all the produce in your fridge.
4. Swap it Out
Think about your usual lunches and pick a few ingredients to swap out for lighter options. Instead of making a sandwich, wrap those ingredients up in a whole wheat tortilla or some lettuce. Got some cookies set aside for a snack? Choose fresh strawberries or blueberries instead.
5. Don’t Be Saucy
Your ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and salad dressing are concealing calories, plus a bunch of weird ingredients you can’t pronounce. Keep things simpler by making your own sauces and dressings. It’s way easier than you’d think, and they’re usually tastier, too. Pack dressings on the side and dip bites in as you go—you’ll keep those greens crispy, and you’ll eat less too.
6. Perfect Portion Size
If you’re packing your lunch in gigantic containers, you’re probably packing too much. And if you pack it, odds are you’re going to eat it. Invest in some plastic or glass containers that hold a healthy amount of food (lots of them have measurements on the side) and fill ’em up. Make sure to wash out those containers afterward—it’s good office etiquette.
7. Snack it Up
This may sound counterintuitive—won’t bringing snacks mean you’ll eat more? But trust us, if you don’t pack enough lunch, it’ll be super tempting to go grab a sugary snack when you hit that three o’clock slump. Keep a stash of nutritious, non-perishable snacks in your desk drawers for those times when your tummy’s rumbling and you need to focus. Homemade granola, apple chips or roasted almonds are all great choices.
Whether it was a New Year’s resolution to eat right, a way to adjust your diet for spring, or you’re just craving healthier foods, packing a lighter lunch will keep you energized and focused for the whole workday.
Or in case you don’t feel like packing your own lunch, find out how Foodee can help!