Quick + Healthy Lunch Options in Between Classes

 

I’ve seen a slew of horrific lunch options out there. But hey, what can you do when you’re in a cafe and all they’ve got are giant pastries and maybe some beetroot and brie on a baguette?

I’ll tell you what you do—you give these shitty options a nice salute, say “I’m outta here,” and go find something substantial, fulfilling, and healthy for lunch.

This took me awhile to figure out, but I’ve got it down to a science now. The aim of the game is to eat something high in protein and low in sugar and fats.


In the cafeteria

salad bar

Assuming your cafeteria has a salad bar, make a salad and find a protein to add on top of it. I suggest roasted chicken breast or turkey breast because it is very low in fat and high in protein. Take it easy on the dressing. Dressing has a lot of calories in it. I’d stick to balsamic vinegar.

plate of food

A plate of roasted or grilled chicken breast or white turkey meat with a side of broccoli, spinach, or another green vegetable. Add baked sweet potato or white potato, but stay away from burgers and fries.

Grab an apple or a bowl of berries to curb your sweet tooth.

sandwiches

Get a wrap or whole wheat bread with grilled/roasted chicken, turkey, or ham. Avoid fried chicken, bacon, and cheese because these are very fatty.


in the university cafe / shop

pre-made sandwiches

Look at the nutrition label before you get your sandwich and try to aim for something less than 10-12 grams of fat and more than 15 grams of protein per sandwich.

Some cheese is okay, but make sure there’s a balance in the ratio of cheese:veggies:meat:bread.

For example: thin bread, lots of meat and veggies, and 1 slice of cheese.

protein bars

Find the protein bars that have less than 15 fat and more than 20 protein, and no more than 300 calories.

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It might be difficult. There are loads of nut bars claiming to be “protein bars” because there’s protein in nuts, but there’s also a lot of fat. A nut bar can have the same amount of calories and ingredients as a bar marketed as a candy/chocolate bar.

See Snickers verses Eat Natural Protein Bar

If you are vegan or dairy-free, finding a good protein bar with lots of protein and low calorie is difficult. I try to stay away from whey (dairy) protein bars but I’ve not had much luck with the vegan bar options. I do like Trek bars but I consider that a dessert, not a meal replacement.


At the grocery store

pre-made sandwiches

The store will have pre-made sandwiches, so follow the same rules as above.

protein bars

The store will have protein bars, so follow the same rules as above.

salads

Either the store will have pre-made salads with chicken, or you can do this: Buy a small salad box and cooked meat or hard boiled eggs. shops will have Meal Deals with single-serve dressing, salad, and packages of chicken or hard boiled eggs. It’s been a life saver!

 
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Side snacks

Apples, bananas, and berries are your friends. For chips, Popchips or popcorn are the best options.


at fast food restaurants

Same rules apply—find something with leafy greens and lean meat (chicken, turkey, ham) and stay away from creamy dressings and cheese.

Sushi is also a great option. Stick to sashimi and nigiri because sushi rolls are very high in calories. Salmon and tuna sashimi is high in protein and then some rice will hold you over, making you full and satisfied but not sleepy.

 
 

See, eating healthy at lunchtime is possible as long as you know what to look for!

Be sure to comment below with your own suggestions. I’d love to add more lunch options to my plate… pun intended.