Healthy Portable Lunch Ideas

July 8, 2018

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes from a tasty homemade meal. Whether it’s happiness on the faces of friends and family when they sink their teeth into the first crunchy bite, or the satisfaction that you planned ahead and pulled off a healthy lunch while out and about, putting in that extra TLC in the kitchen beforehand saves you time and money.  

Here’s some healthy ideas to fuel yourself and the family so you can keep your mind on the task at hand, whether that’s driving, coaching little league or heading for the park.

Small Bites Stave Off Hunger 
Having healthy snacks is key to avoiding that ‘hangry’ feeling. Easy do-it-yourself bites can be as simple as cutting carrots or celery into sticks, then pack small containers of peanut butter or dip for dipping. Sprinkle dried coconut, sunflower, chia seeds, or raisins in for some extra taste and protein and you have a versatile, healthy snack.

energy ballsRoll Up Some Energy Balls
Dates, coconut, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and almonds make fantastic energy balls! Rich in nutrients and also very portable, energy balls are fun and delicious. Pop them into a plastic container and carry them with you wherever you go. They don’t need much in the way of refrigeration, they taste great and they can be a perfect mid-afternoon pick me up, or a great breakfast substitute. This no-bake option is as simple as they get.

Making Drinking Water Tasty and Fun
We should all drink more water, but sometimes that can be boring, especially when confronted with readily available juices and sodas. While those beverages have their place, you can encourage the family to sip more water by giving it a twist.

Add natural flavour to your water by slipping things like mint leaves, passionfruit, cucumber, blueberries, strawberries, or sliced lemon or lime into large to-go bottles or pitchers filled with cold water. 

You can also freeze these into ice cubes and drop them into your favourite to-go drink. 

Pack a Pita Pocket Sandwich
Pita pockets are versatile and highly portable. All you have to do is slice off an opening in one side then stuff your pita with healthy fillings. Keep it interesting with fun ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, artichokes, or just add sliced deli meat, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Wrap it in foil and store it in a cooler bag until the hunger pains hit.

Bring a Bowl: Mexican Avocado  
This can be as fun or as simple as you want it to be. Take a ripe avocado, cut it in half and remove the seed. Cut horizontal lines into the flesh, then vertical ones, taking care not to pierce the skin. Then turn the avocado inside out and push out the pieces. Add things like sautéed mushrooms, cooked Mexican-seasoned ground beef, peppers, or green onions, and follow it up with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese. Crumble some tortilla chips on top and you’ve got tacos to go—with no shells to splinter all over the car seats.

kale saladMix up Kale Salad with Sliced Apples and Grapes
Salads can be an easy option if you have to skip lunch to see the kids through soccer practice. 

Take three or four bright, bushy kale leaves and shred them with your hands or a knife into small bite size pieces. Use a grater to shred a carrot into small pieces and do the same with some fresh red cabbage. After that, add whatever you wish. Options include sliced apples, grapes, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. Mix a bit of local honey into some balsamic vinegar and drizzle on top for a quick and tasty dressing. 

Tip: Store your dressing in a small Mason jar with a new lid for a tight, no-leak seal.

Create a Lunch or ‘Bento’ Box 
Have you ever seen those lunch boxes they sell at some cafes? A few nuggets of cheese, a couple crackers and a hardboiled egg can really take a bite out of your wallet. These box-style lunches (known as Bento in Japan where they are a common on-the-go way of eating) are ultra-easy to prep the night before. Hard boil some eggs, pre-slice some cheese wedges, select some crackers or pretzels and maybe pre-pluck a few grapes or cherry tomatoes. Zip them into individual sandwich or snack size bags, a container, or invest in a compartmentalized Bento-style box that keeps everything separate.

Sometimes just a few minutes of prep the night before can save you from having to make a drive-thru run. If you’re looking for more fast and healthy lunch-on-the-go ideas, pop into Co-op and check out the ready foods area near the front of the store. There’s everything from sandwiches to sushi to keep you and the family fueled up and moving this summer.

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