It's that time of year again. Back to school (or back to work, teachers). This CAN mean back to boring, rushed lunch ideas, but it doesn't have to.

The number one tip for ensuring that every day's lunch is healthy and non-boring: PLANNING. Just a little bit of planning ahead will really benefit you. On your day, (or weekend) off in between work/school days (and/or on grocery day), take some time to plan out each day of the week's lunch. Having all of the necessary ingredients in house and prepped is KEY to not being pressed for time and resorting to maybe not-so-healthy lunch choices.

Without any further suspense, here are some next-level lunch ideas that will kick your bologna sandwich to the curb.

1. Healthy "Lunchables"

Don't like straight up meals and want to go for a mix and match style? All you need is a lunch bento and some meal components. Choose a protein, a complex carb, and some veggies for a fun and colorful lunch. Fun for kids and adults alike.

2. Tortilla Roll-ups

Wrap up your favorite sandwich fillings into a whole wheat tortilla, roll it up, and cut into little "pinwheels" for a funner way to eat wraps. Kids love these! You can even do it PB&J or PB & banana style!

3. Bean Salads

Looking for a non-meat option that's protein packed? Beans pack a punch, containing both protein and fiber to keep you full all throughout the afternoon. If you don't have a way of keeping your lunch cold and don't want to pack food that can spoil at room temp (meat/fish), beans are a perfect go-to.

4. Burrito Bowl in a mason jar

Who said burrito bowls couldn't be packed for lunch? They don't even need to be heated up. Layer all of your burrito bowl components into a mason jar (brown rice, beans, lettuce, salsa, meat (optional), and other burrito essentials). When it's time for lunch, dump the mason jar out onto a plate, mix it all together, and enjoy.

5. Waffle Sandwiches

Tired of your boring sandwich? Try making your favorite sandwich on whole grain waffles to switch it up. Works for anything from PB&J to turkey club


Healthy Snacks!

More exciting than carrots and hummus:

Roasted chickpeas:

If you like a crunchy snack, roasted chickpeas are the ultimate chip replacement. Simply pre-heat oven to 450, Season canned chickpeas with salt, pepper, and desired spices to taste. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden! Play around with different flavors like cinnamon, garlic parmesan, spicy chili

Sweet potato chips:

Slice sweet potatoes into very thin "chips", season to your liking and toss in a little olive oil. Bake at 450 until the chips become crispy.

No-bake Energy Bites:

You will need:
-1 cup rolled oats or quick oats
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-2 tbsp honey
-stevia to taste
-water or almond milk to reach "Cookie dough" consistency
-optional toss ins: ground flax, protein powder, cocoa powder, chia seeds, dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, coconut flour, shredded carrot, raisins, etc.

Mix all ingredients together, customize and flavor up how you want them, and roll into balls. A few of these are a perfect energy packed snack for the mid-day slump!


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