Whole foods are practically designed to be packed into delicious healthy lunches. Here's how to start packing better lunches today. Fall is a great time to ditch the boxes and cans to create lunches with fresh, whole foods. With a little prep work, you can have healthy options for a full week. Packing bento boxes, or sectional containers, for lunch is easy and takes only minutes to prepare.
The key to making quick, easy lunches with whole foods is to prepare your basic ingredients ahead of time. Chop and store fruits and vegetables, cook a couple chicken breasts or fish filets. Make a green salad or pasta salad at the beginning of the week. Homemade whole-grain muffins are also a good option for lunches.
Salads are one of the best ways to enjoy whole foods, and you can easily build your own with produce available to you. Build a green salad by tossing together lettuce, a leafy green such as spinach or kale, chopped chicken, and some of the vegetables you chopped. To add flavor and texture, add in grapes or mandarin oranges, avocado, seeds or nuts. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in place of prepared salad dressing. If a leafy salad isn't appealing to you, make a pasta salad with fresh, whole foods. Start with a whole-grain pasta cooked according to the package, then add in carrots, summer squash, grape tomatoes, and any other of your favorite vegetables. Use chopped chicken, chickpeas, or even a few tablespoons of crumbled bacon or prosciutto. Toss it all together with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar. For sandwich lovers, try a new spin on peanut butter and jelly. Core an apple and slice width-wise, then spread peanut butter between the slices. You can also make wraps by rolling up your chopped vegetables, lettuce, greens, cheese, and a dab of avocado or hummus in a whole-wheat tortilla.
Fill Your Lunchbox
You can get a bento lunchbox or use any sectional plastic containers you may have. Choose from your prepped vegetables, fruits, salads and meat to fill the sections and create a new combination every day. It's also easy to liven up sliced fruits and vegetables with dips. Use plain yogurt sweetened with honey for fruit or a spoonful of hummus for vegetables. Whole foods add variety, nutrition and simplicity to your lunches. Start packing whole lunches this week to start enjoying the benefits of a healthy, diverse lunch.