Lunch. There was a time in my life where I just ate a bar and called it a day but the more I learn about my health, the more I realize how important it is to have a balanced meal midday. This is, of course, easier said than done seeing as lunch either falls in the middle of my workday where I’m running around and hustling to get it all done before school pickup OR I’m homeschooling and the kids are underfoot asking for their own lunch as well. Here are the tips I’ve implemented over the past years of motherhood to make sure lunch happens and that it’s simple, easy to grab-and-go and delicious every time.
1. Don’t skip lunch on the meal plan. I know it’s tempting- it’s already enough to come up with dinner for the week and by the time that’s over with we’re usually pretty maxed out as far as recipe planning goes. Stay with me, though. When we jot down our plans for lunch over the span of an entire week we’re much better prepared to make healthy choices, to save time and to lower the chances of us being left with nothing but the kids leftovers for our mid-day meal. I have found in the past that I wound up eating something I wouldn’t have wanted to eat for lunch out of desperation.
2. Make it a no brainer. Once you’ve planned out your lunches, make it easy for yourself. Please take my advice and don’t choose some 12 step culinary delight to start in the middle of the day. Keep it simple. A salad with a protein- prep the greens and protein on the weekend. A smoothie- have all the ingredients ready to go. Hard boil your eggs on the weekend, chop your veggies ahead of time…you get the idea. Lunch time should be a quick and delicious recharge rather than a long and drawn-out strain.
3. Keep a running list of lunches you’ve enjoyed. We all get meal amnesia. I’m not sure why or how but somehow I can always fall in a rut of not knowing what to have for lunch and feeling completely powerless to come up with an idea. I love my ‘df/gf meals’ and ‘paleo meals’ highlights on as well as my Saved folders on Instagram for this very reason. After tapping through old meals I’m often filled to the brim with excitement for what to make that week. It takes no time at all so tuck away lunch ideas you think you’ll want to come back to later.
4. Pack a lunch. I’ve talked about this time and time again but friends, do not be stuck empty-handed and hungry. Grab a lunchbox, (my long-time favorite here) some non-toxic tupperware, (this is my go-to brand) pack an ice pack and set yourself up for success.
Now, since I get the question, “what do you put in your kale salad?” every single time I share a photo of it, let me share just how simple it is. I clean my kale in this salad spinner which, you guys, you MUST use. Kale holds on to so much dirt and grime that the salad spinner is the only way to truly get it clean. Once it’s all sparkling clean I like to massage it with something-lemon is best but sometimes I just use a bit of olive oil. if you’ve ever felt like your kale was too tough or hard to break down, you likely aren’t massaging it. This tip is a game-changer, trust me! From there, I add literally whatever sounds good to me.
Some versions I eat time and time again are:
-sliced radish, cucumber, grated carrot, nutritional yeast sunflower seeds, pepitas and pecans or sliced almonds with this delicious dressing.
-pear, vegan parmesan, pecans, dried cranberries and this clean and delicious vegan ranch dressing
-most commonly it’s a ton of veggies, seeds and nuts tossed in with my salmon (you can find the recipe in this post) and a dressing O makes with maple syrup, olive oil, honey mustard and pepper or just good ol’ fashioned olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So good. Don’t make this complicated, guys, whatever sounds good will taste even better!