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What's Up Magazine

The Daily Lunch Box Dilemma Solved!

Nov 09, 2016 02:00PM ● By Becca Newell
By Becca Newell // Photos by Tony J Photography

It can be difficult to find enough hours in a day to squeeze in work, the gym, dinner, time with family/friends, and any household chores on the ever-expanding to-do list without throwing in time to prepare healthy lunches. And so, this mid-day meal often becomes fast-food fixes, non-existent, or repetitive—AKA boring! Here, we present some deliciously simple and ever-so-satisfying options, so you can kiss those microwaveable meals goodbye!
Special thanks to Whole Foods in Annapolis for providing our lunch foods.

The Grab-and-Go

 

Stack everything in a mason jar the night before work and place in the fridge. Grab it, along with a fork, the following morning and go!

Chicken Taco Salad:
Cilantro-lime dressing, chicken, black beans, corn, salsa, lettuce, and shredded cheese.

Mini Fruit Salad:
Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and clementine slices.

High in protein without a similar fat content, black beans are a great alternative to fatty meats, with the added benefit of essential nutrients, like potassium, iron, and magnesium.

Consuming just one of these mini citruses satisfies the USDA recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, combats aging skin, and protects against cardiovascular diseases.

There are reports that following a high-protein meal with fresh pineapple can aid in digestion and help to reduce bloating. Though its calorie count is low—one cup equals about 80 calories—it unsurprisingly fairs relatively high on sugar content—about 16 grams per cup.


The DIY Bento Box

 

Perfect for those who like to graze their way through the nine-to-five!

Brown rice and chick peas on a bed of arugula, topped with vinaigrette dressing. Pistachios. Carrot, red pepper, and cucumber sticks. Apple slices with peanut butter.

Packed with antioxidants that help to detoxify the body, arugula is also high in vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision, skin, teeth, and immune system, and vitamin K, known as the “clotting vitamin” to prevent excessive bleeding. Better still, two cups of this green goodness contains less than 100 calories!

Whole—or unrefined—grains are the healthiest kind of grain. High in fiber, naturally low in fat, brown rice is also a good source of important vitamins and minerals, like potassium and magnesium.

The perfect way to end a meal, chewing apples reduces the bacteria in the mouth by stimulating the production of saliva. Although it’s certainly not a replacement for your toothbrush, the process can help to reduce tooth decay.


The Classic

 

A choicer version of the childhood classic!

Whole-Wheat Turkey and Cheese Wrap with chips, Greek yogurt with blueberries, and a few small pieces of dark chocolate.

The process of refining grains to produce white bread or wraps removes many of the nutrients found in whole grains. However, whole wheat starches lack folic acid, essential in producing red blood cells and particularly important for pregnant (or soon-to-be pregnant) women. If you’re concerned about this vitamin deficiency, opt for whole grains that have been fortified with folate.

A potent antioxidant, studies suggest dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.


The Desktop Picnic

 

A cute, Insta-worthy setup to make you excited about eating at your desk!

Tomato-vegetable soup with pesto pasta salad and grapes.

Grapes contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, that may help prevent various forms of cancer, such as lung, pancreatic, and colon. Additionally, the skin of red grapes boasts healthy heart benefits, courtesy of resveratrol.

Though high in fat, pesto offers nutritional benefits that other pasta sauces often lack, including calcium to support bone strength and vitamin A. Additionally, basil contains antioxidant-rich flavonoids, which have been attributed to reducing cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

Take an hour out of your #SundayFunday to prep lunches for the week ahead. Cut veggies into strips, cook pasta and rice, and make soup. Separate into single-portion containers and stack in the fridge until needed. Save even more time by purchasing pre-packaged items, like pre-cooked, shredded chicken (check the salad bar) and fresh pineapple chunks directly from the grocery store!

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