Monday, October 13, 2014

The No-Prep Lunch

Remember Lunchables? That was one of my favorite things as a kid. I loved having a Lunchables pizza meal; using a miniature spatula to spread marinara sauce onto a miniature pizza bread, sprinkling on a pinch of shredded cheese before finally topping the whole thing off with a single disk of pepperoni--what's not to love? Admittedly, I probably just enjoyed how everything was miniature more than how it actually tasted, but when you are a 10-year-old, you have very different requirements for what makes a "good" meal.

I still see Lunchables in the grocery stores now, though they no longer hold the same appeal--because I am an adult now, I eat real food with vegetables and fiber, and a "good" meal to me these days usually involves bacon or beer, preferably both. But, I digress.

What I do still envy is the convenience of a prepackaged lunch. So with that in mind, and along with a little inspiration from small-plates snacking, I've become quite the fan of what I call the no-prep lunch--kind of like the adult version of a Lunchables.

No exaggerations here, this really is a zero-prep-needed lunch; no mixing, cooking, or blending here. It's also pretty balanced and healthy, as well as easily packable, which makes it a perfect weekday lunch for work.  Here are my go-to portions:

1. Hummus. I love Sabra's single-serving size hummus, it's convenient and adorable and gives me a nutrient-dense serving of carbs, fiber, and protein.

2. Pita Bread. Some people prefer pita chips, but I like the soft chewiness of a pita bread. For those who don't have the time and effort to even cut up some pita, Trader Joe's has these awesome mini pita pockets.

3. Carrots. Good old baby carrot sticks. Ready to go straight out of the bag with a serving of fiber and vitamins.

4. Roasted Turkey. Pick your choice of protein. Mine is usually turkey, lean and tasty.

5. Cheese. A good meal needs a little fat. I don't always eat cheese, but when I do, it's gotta be spicy. Fiery habanero cheddar is a favorite.

6. Grapes. I love fruit and grapes are so easy, no cutting or peeling necessary. It's always nice to have a sweet and refreshing note as a part of your meal.

I also like these other options that require little to no prep, such as: Cherry Tomatoes, Mixed Nuts, Celery, Cucumber, Hard Boiled Egg, Apples, Peanut Butter, Strawberries, Blue Berries, Edamame

What's something you gotta have in your easy packable lunch?