Hi, I'm Erika.

I'm a Minneapolis-based writer. Click around to learn more about what I do.

What I Bring For Lunch: A Look at How to Stay Healthy at Work

What I Bring For Lunch: A Look at How to Stay Healthy at Work

The start of the new year always brings about plenty of new changes. For me, 2017 brought forth more changes than usual: I went from a confused, lazy college student to a college graduate who is now employed full time, who purchased a vehicle, and who––believe it or not––is sort of a health nut!

I am extremely grateful that my life has become what it is, and everyday I am becoming healthier–both mentally and physically. I’ve started to really look forward to packing my meals and snacks for the day and heading to work to enjoy them in our fun, collaborative studio.

Writing and eating, hands down, are my first two loves.

I hope the following ideas and tips will help you feel confident about your ability to pack quick, easy, healthy meals for your busy day. Read on to discover what I eat at work.

 

BREAKFAST

Most days, I try to eat breakfast at home before I head out on my commute, but let’s be realistic. Sometimes that’s just not possible. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For that reason (and because I just couldn’t survive the morning without some sustenance), I like eating protein packed, grab-and-go breakfasts like:

  • Hardboiled Eggs

    • I try to hard-boil a few eggs over the weekend and keep them in my fridge throughout the week so I can grab one or two on my way out the door.

  • Luna Bars

    • Or any protein bar, really. Protein-packed breakfasts will fill you up and keep you full until mid-morning or lunchtime. I love the Peppermint Stick Luna Bar, but there are tons of other flavors to choose from, too.

  • Overnight Oats

    • You’ve seen these sweeping Pinterest, haven’t you? Overnight oats are super easy to make. Put some oatmeal (regular and/or steel-cut) in a small tupperware or glass jar (with a lid), add a splash of almond or coconut milk, some fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds, or even yogurt or protein powder (the possibilities are honestly endless!) Refrigerate overnight, and in the morning, stick in the microwave for a minute and a half and enjoy.

 

MID-MORNING SNACK

I am a big believer in snacks. My advice: Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you’re counting down the minutes until your lunch break. Keep your body happy and nourished throughout the morning with some yummy snacks, such as:

  • Almonds

    • Good. For. You. And Blue Diamond makes a ton of different flavors. ‘Nuff said.

  • Chobani Greek Yogurt

    • I’m actually lactose intolerant, so I can’t eat most yogurts, but Chobani Greek is one yogurt I CAN eat, because it contains less than 5% lactose. (Pro tip: Chobani is almost always on sale via Target’s Cartwheel app!)

  • Apples and Bananas

    • Apples and Bananas are both easy to grab on your way out the door, and they require little to no prep. (All you have to worry about with the banana is throwing away the peel). In my opinion, fresh fruit is a guilt-free snack to indulge in at my desk (and reminds me of summer!)

 

LUNCH

All hail lunch! Be honest. You look forward to your lunch break all day. We all do! But for many of us, if we don’t pack a lunch, we wind up ordering pizza, Jimmy John’s, or stopping by the restaurant down the street for something a bit more indulgent. That’s fine every once in awhile, but my body and my wallet can’t afford to do that all the time. Instead, I like to plan ahead and bring EASY-TO-MAKE lunches, like:

  • Salad

    • I know a lot of people don’t like salads, and to be honest, I don’t like all types of salad myself. What I’ve discovered is I’ll only eat healthy foods if I like the way they taste, and my favorite is a Chicken Caesar salad! Fresh Express make Caesar Salad kits, so you literally just have to pour all the provided toppings onto the provided lettuce. (I think you can handle that.)

  • Rice, veggies, + protein

    • One of my go-to meals: Minute brown rice (literally, stick it in the microwave for one minute and it’s done) with chicken (or a protein of your choice, prepped at home the night before) and veggies of your choice (chopped at home the night before, if necessary). I like to top this with a homemade peanut sauce: equal parts peanut butter, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, with a dash of ginger. All together, putting this lunch together in the breakroom takes, like, 3 minutes.

  • Tuna + Quinoa

 

AFTERNOON SNACK

A simple fact I think we all forget is that it’s really difficult to make it from noon to 5:00PM without another snack to tide us over in between. Snacks are awesome, so consider packing these:

  • Veggies

    • Snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes… whatever you like, throw them in a Ziploc bag or a small tupperware and dive in later in the day to give yourself a little boost of energy and make it through that midday slump.

  • Cheese Sticks + Deli Meat

    • For those of you who eat cheese and/or meat, a simple snack idea is rolling a cheese stick in a slice or two of deli meat. Roll up one or two for an afternoon boost of protein.

  • Crackers + Hummus

    • There are so many varieties of crackers and hummus, so I recommend trying out a few brands that sound good and discovering your favorite, then packing it up for an afternoon treat. If you don’t like hummus, substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or some cheese! (Who doesn’t love cheese and crackers?)

 

There you have it. Some tasty, healthy ideas to get you through the day.

And while this may all sound good in theory, you may be thinking to yourself: Yea, that’ll never happen. My biggest piece of advice is to plan ahead. I literally create a Google Doc every week and write out what food I plan to bring to work with me. That way, I just open the Docs app on my phone in the morning, look at what I wrote down, grab all the individual pieces and shove them in my lunchbox, and I’m out the door.

If you’re passionate about health and wellness, spend some time scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram. There are tons of pages dedicated to meal prep, recipes, and workout ideas.

You can follow my personal health and wellness journey on Instagram at @healthyapolis.

Thanks for reading!

Recap: MPLS MadWomen "Growing Pains"

Recap: MPLS MadWomen "Growing Pains"

What Does a Copywriter Do, Anyway?

What Does a Copywriter Do, Anyway?