4 all-star staples for easy, filling lunches
With schools back in session and a return to routine, it’s time to start packing lunches again. To set you up for lunchtime success, we’re highlighting four filling, everyday foods that makes pulling together a wholesome meal a breeze.
Even better, they’re all Free Food on Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing, which means you can eat them to satisfy your appetite, without weighing, counting or measuring. Read on for our top picks and a few ways to weave them into your week.
For food safety, aim to keep food in a packed lunch below 40°F. Keep everything cold by packing food with ice packs or a frozen water bottle.
Become a bean fiend
From cannellini and black beans to chickpeas and pintos, few ingredients are more convenient than a can of beans: Simply drain and rinse and you’re well on your way to a satisfying, nutrient-packed lunch. Toss them into a salad, mix with lemon juice and garlic and blitz them into a quick dip for veggies, or briefly simmer them with chicken broth and your favorite veggies, then puree for a filling (and super easy) soup.
Make lunch egg-citing
Requiring only a pot of water and 10 minutes of cooking time, hard-boiled eggs are great go-tos for meals and snacks throughout the week. Add quartered hard-boiled eggs to a salad to make it extra filling, combine chopped eggs, fat-free plain Greek yogurt, and minced chives for an easy egg salad, or just grab an egg for a quick snack. Once cooked, hard-boiled eggs will keep in the fridge for up to one week.
Rely on rotisserie
When it comes to no-fuss protein, it’s hard to beat a store-bought rotisserie chicken—go for the plain varieties to avoid added oils or sugar. After you remove the skin and visible fat, the options for using up your bird are endless: Stir the shredded meat into a soup, make chicken salad by combining the chopped meat with fat-free plain Greek yogurt, onion, and celery, or combine it with cooked penne, chopped vegetables, and fat-free Italian dressing for an easy pasta salad that you can eat warm or cold.
Go for grains
A large handful of any cooked grain is an easy way to bulk up a lunch—in fact, you can combine all of these staples into a filling lunch bowl: mix your favorite grain with beans, hard-boiled eggs or shredded chicken, and add a large handful of salad greens and a splash of vinegar or lemon juice for flavor.
Look for dried grains at the grocery store—par-cooked varieties often have added oil or sugar. Next time you cook up your favorite grain, double the amount, portion it into servings, and use it within three to five days. Or, freeze it in an airtight container for up to two months.
With these staples in the fridge, you won’t need to face an empty lunchbox in the mornings—and you’ll be the envy of the lunch crowd!