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Kick off the year with healthy lunches! A small change like this will have a big change on both your health and wallet.

plastic bag lunch

Many of us want to start off the year with being healthier, but a common mistake we make is going all in. We make a promise to ourselves to go to the gym every day and to live on salads, only to end up burned out, hungry and disappointed that we didn’t fulfill on our promise. Unfortunately, I have done this many times myself, but I eventually figured out an easy way to change.

That easy change is a lunch makeover. It’s a great way to start incorporating healthy eating into your everyday life. It’s also a small change you can commit to and is easy to stick with. This is a change that doesn’t add a lot of time to your schedule, but will make a big impact on your health and your wallet. Eating lunch out is both expensive and makes it easier to grab unhealthy meals. We also sometimes spend most of our lunch hour waiting in a line to get our lunch.

A healthy lunch needs to incorporate protein, healthy carbohydrates (vegetables) and healthy fats. This is going to keep you satisfied all afternoon, which is also going to stop you from grabbing an unhealthy snack. Below is a list that will make the makeover process even easier. Pick one ingredient from each category to make a healthy lunch.

Pick one protein: (portion size: the palm of your hand)

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Boiled eggs
  • Steak
  • Pork
  • Lamb

lean chicken breast

Pick one healthy carbohydrate: (portion size: a full hand)

  • Salad 1: Lettuce (or spinach), tomato, cucumber, pomegranate seeds
  • Salad 2: Arugula and spinach leaves, toasted pine nuts, shredded parmesan, olive oil and salt
  • Salad 3: Chunks of mozzarella and tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and salt
  • Steamed or sautéed vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant etc

Pick one healthy fat: (portion size: three fingers)

  • Sliced avocado
  • Olive oil and lemon juice as dressing
  • Cheese: chop/shredded on top of salad, sting cheese (whole fat)
  • Mayo: make chicken or tuna salad (homemade mayo is the best)
  • Chopped almonds (a handful of chopped almonds on a salad taste great)
  • It’s important that you are not afraid of the fat. You need fat to get satisfied and prevent you from overeating.

avocado-halves

Drink: Sometimes we eat healthy lunches but then we drink sugary juices or soda, which spoils the entire meal. Stick to water. If you want some more flavors, add slices of lemon and cucumber to it. This might be a tough change at first, but after a while you will start craving your water.

Tips and tricks

  • A good way of making your lunch makeover even easier is to prepare and pack your lunches the evening before.
  • One option is to pack your lunch right after dinner. Bring your lunch container to the dinner table, and grab your three ingredients. That way you don’t need to spend any extra time cooking, and you will also start eating healthy dinners, since you will need the leftovers for lunch.
  • Another option is to prep your lunches on Sundays. Grill a chicken and slice it up so that it is ready for a salad. Chop all the veggies so that it’s easy to throw together a salad or sauté them. Keep all ingredients in glass containers in the fridge for easy access every day.

Your lunch makeover will be a win-win all around: healthy lunch, healthy dinner and saving money on eating out!