As far as meals go, lunch is generally low on the priority list. Unless you like fasting, or are already pretty dialed in your nutrition, what to eat for lunch isn’t generally the first thing on your mind as you’re getting ready for the day—especially if you’re trying to get your kids ready. Who has time to fix a sandwich if the bus is around the corner and Sally can’t find her damn shoes and won’t brush her teeth?
We’ve all been there: You get to work, get dialed in, and the next thing you know it’s lunchtime. If you were together during the weekend, or thought about lunch before you left your house, you may have brought it with you. If, however, you had a busy morning or aren’t in the habit of prepping food, well, you’re probably left to scrounge the office for snacks, make a stop at a fast-food joint, or beg your coworkers to share.
As fun as it might be to have a lunchtime adventure every day, it’s healthier if you can build some time in your day or week to prepare lunch for yourself. Moreover, if you can prepare lunch that includes at least 20 grams of protein, you’ll set yourself up for a much more productive afternoon.
Benefits of a High Protein Lunch
Although it might take a little bit of preparation, eating a healthy, high-protein lunch is the right call for most people. Eating protein in the middle of the day will help you:
- Build and maintain muscle
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Feel sated so you’re less likely to overeat at dinner
Most of us could do with eating more vegetables and more protein. Your goal for just about every meal should be to get somewhere between 20-35 grams of protein and one cup of vegetables.
How to Add Low-Fat, High Protein Foods to My Meal
If you have the ability to store food at your workplace, stock up with some of these low-fat, high-protein food options:
- Cans/ containers of tuna fish
- Lunch meat such as uncured ham, sliced turkey, roast beef
- Low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Protein shake, bites, or bars
Keeping easy, high-protein foods on hand is a great way to add protein to your lunch, especially if you haven’t had a lot of time to meal prep. Throw these in the fridge or in your desk drawer and you’ll always have something healthy you can count on.
High protein lunch idea #1: Adult Lunchable
Lunchables were great when we were kids. Make an adult version that will bring you the same joy without the, uh, gross factor. Choose a protein and a couple of sides. We suggest a dipping sauce made from high-protein Greek yogurt.
- 2-3 hard boiled eggs or your favorite jerky (18g P)
- Fresh veggies with Greek yogurt dip (10 g P)
Mix Up Your Meals
One way to maintain the habit of meal prep is to mix up what you make and what you eat. If you find yourself eating the same thing over and over, it’s likely you’ll get bored and tired. Bored and tired are not the emotions you want when you’re developing new habits. Make food you’re excited about eating because you know it’s tasty and good for you.