As you all know, I typically wake up starving, so avoiding the oatmeal is usually out of the question. But for busy girls, mornings can be totally hectic. Your bus comes at a certain time, your ride swings by at 7 AM sharp, or you might even have to drop the kids off at school before heading out. Truth be told, time can be a factor, but that’s no reason to skip the morning protein. Moreover, being impassible about lunch is not a good practice for the fitness girls. Check out these quick and easy tips to get some breakfast and lunch ideas so you can better enjoy your days.
Take it To-Go:
A healthy homemade breakfast wrap is a totally portable solution to the hectic morning. Eggs take only a couple of minutes to cook; scramble a pair and roll it up in a whole wheat wrap or pita with some low fat cheese and some chopped veggies. This, you can eat easily on the bus or even in the car as you’re paused at lights. If not, save it for the office and chow down at your desk. The idea is to at least fuel before lunchtime, so if eating at home is out of the question, take your food with you.
Make A Smoothie:
A smoothie is probably one of the fastest healthy breakfasts you can make. Throw in a scoop of protein powder with your water, add some fruit and maybe even some Greek Yogurt, and in about a minute or less, you’ll have a thick, rich, nutritious breakfast. Bonus: it’s 100% portable, so pour it into a shaker or a water bottle and take it with you as you go, or sip on it as you’re doing your hair.
Always find yourself running around in a panic every morning? No wonder there never seems to be any time to eat that oatmeal! Help staying organized and on schedule by making sure there’s a clock in all major rooms. Sure, this sounds a little OCD, but the more time keepers there are, the better you can ensure that you’re never running later that you should be.
I make sure there’s a clock in every room that counts— one in my bedroom, one in the living room/ kitchen, and yes, a small one in the bathroom. The bathroom clock is actually the most important one in my apartment. When you’re busy primping in front of the mirror, it can be easy to lose track of the time, especially if you have to redo your eyeliner a couple times. Keep time, so you can make time for breakfast.
Put The Alarm Away:
Getting up an extra 5-10 minutes earlier to have a good breakfast seems like a reasonable idea. However, if you’re like me and prone to sleeping through your alarm, then your efforts to get in a hearty breakfast might be going to waste. A simple solution is to move your alarm clock out of arm’s reach— preferably across the room.
I picked up this tip in university from one heavy sleeper. Move the alarm clock clear across the room, and you’ll be forced to actually get up and out of bed to make that annoying beeping sound stop. This takes the snooze option out of the equation, and as such, you’ll actually be able to make use of those extra 10 minutes to eat some yogurt and granola.
Lean Lunch Ideas – Stay Healthy and Satisfied:
After having a healthy breakfast, it’s now time to take care of our next meal. So, what’s on your lunch menu today? For some of us, food is always on the brain. My friends joke about my never ending eating patterns; there always seems to be an endless array of snacks on my desk at work.
In the lunchroom, however, I’ve noticed quite the difference between our appetites. One friend— long and lean— never seems to eat more than a soup, moreso because the appetite isn’t really there. Another friend goes the distance with a long sub and some yogurt. Whatever your eating habits, make sure you’re still fueling for fitness success, no matter what your lunch looks like.
 Keep It Balanced:
To help you avoid the dreaded afternoon lull, see that you nosh on a well-balanced lunch that boasts its share of protein and veggies, in addition to those comfort-inducing carbs. Keeping the sugar levels low and the protein levels high during lunch can boost your metabolism and help you stay satisfied longer, which means less unnecessary snacking soon afterwards.
 Save a Snack For Later:
The super size option at the cafeteria is hard to beat. However, if you’re still looking for the most bang for your buck, at least opt to cut it in half. Grabbing a foot long sub can be more economical in the long run, but just make sure you don’t overdo it in one sitting. I like to order a lean 12-inch turkey sub, loaded with veggies. Coupled with a bottle of water, half of that sandwich should be a perfect lunch, so save half of your lunch for later. You’ll have a ready-made snack for the afternoon and prevent pigging out in one sitting. Win-win!
 Eat Away From Your Desk:
Those stacks of files can make the idea of even taking lunch pretty laughable. However, a girl’s gotta eat, so take a break and step away from the computer. Getting up (and going “out”) for lunch gives you a quick change of scenery, burns calories, and can also boost your mood and concentration for later. I’m a big advocate of brown-bagging it, but that doesn’t stop me from going “out” for lunch. Opt to bring your lunch box with you to the park benches near your work, or even downstairs to the lunchroom or cafeteria. Other people might be buying McDonald’s, but you can still benefit from both a healthy homemade lunch and the upside of getting out of your workplace for awhile.
 Bring a Healthy Side:
Sometimes, a sandwich just isn’t enough. If you’ve ever noshed with friends and had extended conversation over lunch, you’ll know that a simple sandwich often doesn’t cut it. Fight the urge to order something from the fast-food cart by bringing your own healthy side. Veggies have minimal calories and tons of vitamins, so if you’re already done your wrap and still feel like you need a little something more, dip into your bag of raw veggies. I like baby carrots, celery, or cucumbers; you can even opt to bring fresh fruit slices as a nice dessert post-lunch.
 Brew Some Tea:
Feeling the need for some sugar soon after lunch? Instead of heading for the vending machine, brew up some green tea. Not only will you get a little caffeine boost, but you’ll also get the benefits of all those crazy antioxidants with none of the crash post-sugar. I find a mug of hot liquid pretty comforting; it also helps my stomach settle. However, if you don’t mind to check out a few more ideas on lunch box, then feel free to scroll down your mouse.
In the Bag – Lunchbox Meals Made Easier:
Have (Last Night’s) Dinner:
I’m a huge fan of a hot, home cooked meal, so it’s no surprise that some of the tastiest lunches are really last night’s dinner in disguise. Leftovers might get a bad rep in name, but if your suppers are as delectable as mine, then you really won’t mind the repeat performance. The best part is that your lunch becomes totally preparation free.
Simply spoon your extra meatloaf and potatoes into a portable container, slip it in your lunchbox, and go! To make things easier, be sure to cook up an extra portion as you’re preparing dinner the night before. This way, you’ll be sure to have some extras for lunch. Casseroles are great for this, since you nearly always end up with more food than you can eat in one sitting.
Buy One, Bring One:
Sometimes even the tastiest home meals can have you screaming for some variety. If you’re still looking to pack something from home, try a combining some snacks from home with a little extra from the caf. If you’re partial to getting some lasagna from the cafeteria or food court, see if you can bring some chopped veggies as a healthy side.
Likewise, if you’re looking to supplement your turkey sandwich from home, you can always grab a quinoa salad from the food court. Either way, any time you utilize food from your healthy fridge, whether it’s on its own or in tandem with something from the caf, you’ll save yourself some cash and some weight off your waistline. Tip: precut your sides the night before so you can save yourself the rush in the morning.
Bored with the same old sandwich? Just like switching up your cardio machine at the gym, changing mediums can be a subtle but surprisingly effective way of adding a little spice to your lunchtime routine. A whole-wheat tortilla wrap is not only a refreshing break from sandwich bread, but it also makes once-messy food compact, convenient, and easy to bring to work.
Sandwiches might fall apart, but a wrap keeps things tight and tidy. Similarly, you can salad-ize sloppy leftovers and make them healthier and more workplace-friendly. Make use of odds and ends from last night’s dinner by throwing them together with some kale, spinach, and other crisp greens.
Portion It Out:
As you know, bringing your lunch from home can be a lot less expensive than taking your wallet to the cafeteria every noon hour. Lucky for us, there are many healthy solutions available at your local grocery store. I like to grab a pack of portion-sized Greek yogurt cups for the week, or single-serve low-fat cheese strings.
The same healthy food you’re used to now comes in clean, easy-to-consume containers, so all you really need to do is throw it in your lunch bag. If not, many mini Rubbermaid lunch containers are available to help you simplify your lunch life. No need to bring the entire tub of yogurt. You know, as I dive into my homemade confection, I’m curious to know: how many of you bring your own lunch to work?
Too Cool For School:
In high school, I remember the initial shame in toting a bag lunch to school. When you’re in the moment, kitsch isn’t yet cool, so my early-80s Barbie lunch box and thermos was out of the question. The trend was all about getting off campus during lunch, so we’d head out for lunch, usually to the mall or across the street to the local supermarket for wedge fries and the like. While I always had the option of making lunch at home (my mom always reminded me to get it prepped the night before), somehow, I ended up buying lunch or grabbing some treats from the vending machine. Sound familiar?
Eat ‘N Go:
When university came around, I was usually on campus at weird hours for class— either after meals or just before supper. Since classes took place outside of my normal snacking hours, I’d usually bring a granola bar or something similar to eat discretely in the back of the room. On the days that I could, I had supper at home.
Campus eating was an interesting part if uncomfortable experience. If I brought food from home, it was always a little awkward finding a good spot to chow down without outside temptations from other food outlets. I often took my meal to the tables in the caf, which was always dangerous since pizza, French fries, and the like were always just a stone’s throw away. Other than that, I managed to find benches and window sills around campus to eat in peace— not always the comfiest, but far enough away from the chatter so that I could cram in a quick pre-midterm study bout.
Snacking On the Job:
As it stands, I eat and eat and eat. It happens mostly at my desk, but at least whatever snacks I bring are from home. I do try to take my lunch breaks out of the office with my friends, but these days, I’m not so embarrassed to bring the brown bag. If anything, a store-bought lunch comes around when I’m going out of town right after work and don’t want to deal with the hassle of empty containers and other cleaning.
I’m curious to know how your breakfast and lunchtime routine stacks up. Do you usually brown bag it, or do you find the convenience of the food court a better overall deal? If the latter, does your caf offer a lot of tasty and healthy dishes? Don’t mind to share your meal plans, so that it may help others to lead a healthy and happy life.