05/06/2015 07:37 EDT | Updated 05/06/2016 05:59 EDT

12 Easy Weekday Lunch Ideas to Grab and Go

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With a busy work week, it sometimes feels impossible to squeeze in enough time to pack a healthy lunch. When a jam-packed schedule leaves you crunched for time, the result is often skipping lunch altogether or opting for a fast, but not-so-healthy meal on the go. Eating regularly throughout the day can help with weight management, cravings and increase productivity so you can actually get out of work on time and maybe even make it to that afternoon spin class. Don't be left starving and zonked when the lunch bell rings. With a few simple tricks and some inspiration for nourishing and delicious lunch recipes, healthy eating at work can be a breeze!

The Grab and Go

  • High Fibre Crackers like Wasa or Ryvita + can of flavored tuna + Tomatoes + Hummus + Veggie Sticks on the side

  • Greek Style Wrap: whole wheat pita + tzatziki spread + leftover roasted chicken + choppped bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives + feta cheese

  • Dijon Egg Sandwich: sprouted grain bread+ dijon mustard +hard boiled eggs (smashed) + chopped red+ cucumber side salad (cucumber+ red onion+ feta cheese + olive oil)

The Make Ahead

  • Mediterranean Chickpea and Quinoa Salad: Leftover Quinoa + cucumber, red onion, tomatoes + feta cheese + red wine vinaigrette
  • Asparagus Pasta Salad: Whole Grain Pasta + Leftover Roasted Asparagus + Arugula + Tuna + Pine Nuts + Goat Cheese
  • Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich with Spinach + Cilantro, Green Onions + Veggies on the side
  • Rainbow Chicken Salad: Leftover Chicken with Blueberries, Grapes, Romaine Lettuce + Feta Cheese + Almonds + Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing + High Fibre Crackers
  • Cauliflower Couscous: Pulsed Cauliflower with Cherries + Sliced Leek + Mint, Parsley, Dill + Beans + Leftover Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Healthier Options If You're Eating Out

Sometimes, as well-intentioned as we are, the prepping just doesn't happen. If you end up with an empty lunch kit, all does not have to be lost. Try one of these options to keep you fuelled all afternoon.

  • Sushi: opt for brown rice or quinoa if it's offered. Skip the tempura and creamy sauces and choose a side of gomae or wakame salad to balance it out
  • Salad Bars: Fill up your plate with lots of color from a variety of veggies, lentils, lean protein such as salmon or chicken, and nuts/seeds. Choose vinaigrette or oil and vinegar to finish off
  • Sandwiches: choose whole grain bread, load up with tons of veggies, lean protein, and opt for avocado instead of mayo for a healthier spread
  • Healthy Pizzas: That's right, pizza can be a decent option on the go. Opt for thin crust or whole grain crust, choose chicken or roasted veggie options and avoid the creamy dipping sauces

Tips to Prepare a Healthy Lunch

Even with all the ideas in the world, it won't do you any good unless you do take a bit of time to prep. This means having the groceries in the house, and remembering to use them! Choose one or more of these tips and start getting those lunches in this week!

  • Set an alarm or reminder on your phone to pack your lunch the night before
  • Cook extra servings of dinner so you can use leftovers such as roasted veggies, pasta, and meat for lunch. Pack leftovers right after dinner and incorporate partial leftovers, such as meat, into your sandwiches.
  • Set time aside to plan your meals -- collect recipes, go grocery shopping and stock your fridge and pantry with healthy ingredients!
  • Choose one day of the week to prep your meals or components of your meals, such as chopping up vegetables in advance, cooking lentils/beans/grains to store in the fridge, or make your own dips and spreads like salsa, hummus, or tzatziki.
  • Layer salads in a mason jar to save space in your bag or stock up on Tupperware and get creative with packing!

Now that the weather is heating up, barbecuing is another quick way to cook with little clean up. Check out my healthy grilling guide for tips!

For more healthy eating ideas, find Lindsay on Facebook or twitter!


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