What Should I Pack for a Nutritious and Healthy Lunch?

What should you pack for a healthy lunch?

Having a healthy lunch each day is part of successful weight management. Have you ever been kicked to the curb by hunger when lunch hour appeared, and ended up skipping your meal or splurging on something less than nutritious? Having a plan in place for lunch before your day begins can help you stay on-track with your goals!

Is Lunch Important?

For years, experts have gone back and forth about whether or not we need to eat three meals a day. Though advice is controversial, everyone can agree that having some form of food in the afternoon (whether it’s for lunch or a midday snack) is helpful for maintaining energy levels, warding off hunger and feeding your body.

What happens when we skip lunch or eat something with little to no nutritional value? It’s likely that hunger will strike and cue our brains to look for food that is high in fat, sugar and calories. This does not help with weight management! To prevent severe cravings from derailing our progress, it is helpful to have whole, nutritious foods on-hand and ready to go before you are “starving.”

What Goes in a Healthy Lunch?

The answer to this question is different for everyone because everyone has different nutritional needs and preferences. Some people choose to eat low-carb, high-fat diets while other people are strictly vegetarian or prefer low-fat diets.

However, we know that deciding what to pack for lunch can be a little bit overwhelming. To help you offset some of the confusion and stress, we offer a couple helpful tips that should, for the most part, apply to everyone!

Incorporate Protein

Our bodies need protein and it helps to keep us feeling full. Some great sources of lunchtime proteins included grilled chicken breast, turkey meat, hard boiled eggs, hummus, deli roll-ups and Greek yogurt. Some of these proteins you can eat as-is, while others you can easily throw into a sandwich or salad.

Eat Your Vegetables

Veggies should be a staple in every single diet because they are high in vitamins, minerals, potassium, fiber and other key health benefits. Not sure what to pack? Many stores offer lunch-sized containers of carrots, zucchini slices and snacking peppers. If you enjoy having salad at lunch, opt for darker greens such as spinach and romaine as those hold more nutritional value. If you have some time, also consider cooking veggies like squash, asparagus and cauliflower to add to your plate.

Diversify with Dairy

Lots of people have dairy restrictions or choose to omit dairy from their diet, but if this doesn’t apply to you, dairy items can offer plenty of nutritional value such as protein, calcium and healthy fats. What should you aim for? Yogurts and cheeses make great lunchtime additions. Try to aim for full fat or slightly reduced fat items, as those advertising “no fat” or “no sugar” are often replaced with other unwanted components.

Pack Some Fruit

Just like veggies, fruits offer a variety of amazing health benefits such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. Because of their high sugar content, however, you probably don’t want to load up on them. Consider fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries to start. Avocados are an excellent super fruit that you can eat with salads or just as a side with some seasoning! The same thing goes with tomatoes. If you’re looking for other fruit options, try sliced apples, oranges or peaches.


The above list is only a general guideline to help you pack food for lunch that is healthy and nutritious. The opportunities are truly endless! Make sure you get food items with a lot of nutritional value that are lean on calories, carbs and sugars. However, the key is to plan ahead. Try to pack your lunch the night before or in the morning to avoid temptation or confusion during the day. Research your plan, create your plan and put it into action!

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