Simple Steps: Pack Your Lunch!

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Simple Steps: Pack Your Lunch!

Chickpea Couscous Salad

A healthy lunch can be delicious, convenient, low cost, and energizing. Read to find out more!

Benefits of making your own lunch verses eating fast food or carry- in include:

  1. Increased awareness of ingredients in the meal and nutritional information such as calories
  2. Personalized portions
  3. Special requests fulfilled
  4. Money and time savings

Follow these simple steps to pack a balanced satisfying lunch:

  1. Keep what’s in your box within your calorie range. On average between 300-450 calories. Look at nutrition facts labels or utilize a calorie tracker app or website.
  2. Include:

2-3oz. lean or low fat protein (such as chicken breast, turkey, canned tuna or salmon, tofu, 1 egg, 6oz. Greek yogurt, ½ cup beans or legumes)


1-2 servings complex carbohydrates (such as ½ cup brown rice, whole grain pasta, farro, quinoa or barley; 1 slice whole grain bread, small whole grain tortilla, ½ sweet potato with skin)


Plenty of vegetables and/or fruits (any you like or in season)


1 serving of a healthy fat (2 Tbsp. nuts or seeds, ¼ avocado, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1oz. cheese)

  1. Pre-prep your lunch for the week or two ahead by taking just an hour of your time. Make a batch of 2 or more different dishes or recipes. Store some in the fridge that you will be using within 4 days and store the rest in the freezer.

Lunch Box Ideas:

Name Protein Complex Carb Veggies/fruits Added fat Calories
Lite n’ Leafy Salad ½ cup canned beans, rinsed and drained (favorite variety) ½ cup cooked quinoa 2+ cups leafy greens/ 2 Tbsp. dried craisins/ 2 Tbsp. chopped scallions 2 Tbsp. light vinaigrette dressing = 330(add a 100 calorie yogurt cup) = 430
Directions: Make 4 servings. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups rinsed and drained beans, 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa, ½ cup dried craisins, ½ cup chopped scallions, ½ cup light vinaigrette dressing. Store in fridge. Each day, in an  individual container, measure 1 cup quinoa/bean mixture on top of 2 cups mixed greens and place in lunch box.
Warm Whole Grain Salad 2oz. tuna or salmon 1/2 cup cooked farro 1 ¼ cup chopped and sautéed kale, broccoli, mushrooms, onions 1 tsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. feta, salt and pepper = 300(add 1 medium fruit) = 370
Directions: Make 4 servings. In medium skillet add 4 tsp. olive oil, sauté 2 cups chopped broccoli, ½ cup chopped mushrooms, ½ cup chopped onion, 2 cups chopped kale until kale just starts to wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In 4 individual containers add ½ cup cooked farro, 1 ¼ cup veggies, 2oz. tuna or salmon, and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. feta cheese. Refrigerate. Add to lunch box; reheat 1 minute.
Personalized Frozen Burritos ½ cup chopped cooked chicken breast or beans 8 in. whole wheat tortilla 1/3 cup chopped lightly sautéed bell peppers, onions, etc., 1 Tbsp. salsa 2 Tbsp. shredded Mexican cheese blend = 270(add ½ cup baby carrots + 2 Tbsp. hummus) = 350
Directions: Make 4 servings. In medium skillet lightly sauté 1 ½ cups chopped bell peppers and ½ cup chopped onion.   Season with Mrs. Dash fiesta lime blend. Top 1 tortilla with ½ cup chopped cooked chicken breasts or beans, 1/3 cup veggies, 1 Tbsp. salsa, 2 Tbsp. cheese. Fold burrito and wrap in ceran wrap. Freeze. Add to lunch box and reheat 2 minutes.
Comforting ½ Soup ½ Sandwich 1 ½ Tbsp. peanut butter 1 slice whole grain bread 1 cup low sodium tomato or vegetable soup. Berries or banana slices (Peanut butter) = 330(add 1 string cheese) 400
Directions: Spread 1 ½ Tbsp. peanut butter on half of bread slice, top with ¼ sliced banana or 1/3 cup berries, then other ½ of bread slice. Enjoy with 1 cup low sodium canned soup such as Amy’s chunky tomato bisque, minestrone, or lentil vegetable.

What will your lunch box hold this week for a healthier you?

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