Planning Your Lunch With Minimal Effort

So, what’s for lunch?

Who knows, right? Most of us just kind of “wing it.” I mean, it’s only lunch.

The purpose of lunch is to get you from breakfast (if you ate it) to dinner without interrupting your busy day of checking things off your very important to-do list.

You think, “Oh, I’ll just grab fast food or get whatever they have in the office cafeteria. Maybe I’ll just eat a Snickers and call it a day.”

But why? Just because you can get a cheap, quick, semi-edible lunch doesn’t mean you should.

If you’re like most women, you probably put everyone else first. But taking care of your needs and keeping yourself healthy is the only way you can be fully present and helpful to those around you.

Eating a nutritious lunch can help you power through the rest of your day and ensure that you won’t feel so deprived that you binge at dinner time.

And you can do this with minimal effort. No excuses!

When you’re rushed in the morning or still half asleep, packing a healthy lunch for yourself is the last thing on your mind (believe me, I know).

That’s why you’re going to plan your lunches on the weekend so you can save time in the morning without sacrificing your health. Stay with me here. I promise it’ll be easy.

Take 15 minutes today to brainstorm 3 easy lunch ideas such as soup and a sandwich, pasta with a small salad, or leftovers with a side of steamed veggies.

Consider whether you’ll have access to a refrigerator, microwave, or anything else you might need to cook your food and plan accordingly. There’s no need to get fancy. Save the complicated recipes and celebrity cookbooks for your next dinner party. (And invite me.)

Choose nutritious food with a mix of protein, fat, and carbs to give you energy to survive the afternoon without napping on your desk. I don’t think drooling on your laptop is a good idea. No junk food, sugary drinks, or anything from a fast food place. Double bonus: You’ll save money and feel loads better.

Next, head to the grocery store with your list of lunch ideas. Buy enough ingredients to make 3 servings of each meal. This will get you through the work week plus have a few extras for the weekend or when you don’t have the motivation to cook dinner.

Block off 1-2 hours on the weekend to make all your lunches. Really, ALL of them. Make the prep work easy on yourself by using pre-cut or frozen veggies. You could also cook slightly larger dinners and portion out an extra serving for the next day’s lunch.

Invest in some reusable containers that are safe for both the microwave and freezer (BPA free, please) or buy a cute bento box. Smaller containers will help you keep the portion sizes in check.

Every night, take 2 minutes to grab one of your pre-made lunches and pack it up so it’s ready to rock and roll in the morning (even if you work from home).

See, that wasn’t so bad! And I guarantee after a week of eating healthy lunches, your body and mind won’t feel so bad either.

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” Orson Welles. Tweet this!

What’s your best tip for eating a healthy lunch?


  1. Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista on April 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Great tips Sage! I completely agree. It is amazing how easily all self control goes out the window when I am hungry and I will grab just about anything. Planning ahead makes the day so much easier…and healthier! That soup looks delish!

  2. Diana on April 10, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great post! Once you get into the routine of packing lunches, it gets so much easier. I usually make mine while I’m working on dinner prep, since I’m already in the kitchen. I do have a habit of packing similar things most days, but I try to make it fun with lots of color and new combinations.

  3. Tinfoil Tiaras on April 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I try to make it a Sunday ritual to make some meals/lunches for the day (soups got me through the winter) because otherwise I have an unhealthy lunch. Tonight I made curried lentil, apple & sqyash stew so guess what’s for lunch tomorrow (and probably the next day as well!) I love feeling prepared and ready for my work week of lunches!

    • Sage Grayson on April 10, 2013 at 6:00 am

      Yum! I ate a ton of soup during the winter too. It’s so easy and I get a lot of servings out of it. When are you going to share your vegan recipes on your blog, Emily? 🙂

  4. Cara on April 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Our lunches get made as we clean up from supper, usually using leftovers (we always make too much for this reason!). It makes the morning so much smoother. Scott is working from home most afternoons, but still makes his at that time, too, so he stays in the habit! The best part is that people walk by my desk as I’m eating, or see it in the office fridge, and always comment how I consistently have the best lunches.
    That being said, my work cafeteria makes 90% of the food they sell from scratch, using local ingredients where ever possible, and that remaining 10% is made by local business, is fair trade and/or organic, and generally is considered “health food”. We’re surrounded by burger joints, so I love that the HEALTHY choice is also the EASY choice!

    • Sage Grayson on April 10, 2013 at 5:58 am

      Perfect! Using your dinner leftovers for your lunches is so smart, and you’re saving yourself tons of time. When I worked in a corporate office, the cafeteria food was OK, but I wouldn’t have called it super healthy. At least you have more choices in your building–just say no to fast food! 🙂

  5. Molly on April 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Such great advice, Sage! I always plan what I’m bringing for lunch all week. It makes such a huge difference! I come home at lunch, too, which definitely gives me more options (and lets me spend more time with the girls). 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on April 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

      That’s awesome that you live close enough to come home for lunch. I’m sure you eat healthier that way. And who wouldn’t want snuggle time in the middle of the day? 🙂

  6. Sarah @ This Is What I Eat on April 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Yes!!! Planning makes life so much easier. I notice a huge difference when I take the time to plan and prepare ahead of time. I eat healthier, I spend less time in the morning on a work day making meals and it actually is relaxing for me to spend a nice chunk of time in the kitchen cooking 🙂

    • Sage Grayson on April 10, 2013 at 5:55 am

      I feel relaxed chopping up veggies, cooking rice, and putting together all my lunches. It really doesn’t take that much time, but it makes a huge difference in my week.