How to Pack Easy and Healthy Lunch: Checklist for Heart-Friendly Meals
Are you always in a hurry but still want to eat a delicious yet healthy lunch? Don’t worry, all of us do. That moment of joy when you open your lunch box and all you see are tasty and good-for-the-health foods.
Yet, it’s not always easy, especially when you’re always in a hurry and have so many things to do. And not just that, you have to keep thinking about what meals to prepare for the next day. That’s why there are days that you just settle for fried or instant foods, since they are the easiest or quickest to prepare.
However, oily foods, trans fats, unsaturated fats, and processed foods are not good for the heart. You are what you eat. And if you keep feeding your body with these foods, you’ll risk encountering heart issues and other diseases in the future.
You can still enjoy your lunch in a heart-healthy way through careful planning. And these two words are your best friend — easy and checklist. You need easy meals that can be prepared quickly, even if you’re in a rush. Having a checklist is handy too so you don’t have to spend a lot of time wondering where the ingredients are or what to prepare.
Before we proceed with the meals, here are items you need in your grocery shopping list. Having a checklist before you go to the grocery store will not just save you time, but it will also save you money since you don’t have to keep grabbing all the edibles that you think are healthy.
- Gluten-free bread (your preference for sandwich)
- Cheese (healthy cheese like mozzarella, goat cheese, feta, cottage, Swiss, ricotta, and blue cheese)
- Balsamic vinegar / vinaigrette
- Healthy oils (olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, peanut oil, almond oil, and sunflower oil)
- Buttermilk (low fat or non-fat)
- Yogurt (Greek or any plain, unsweetened yogurt)
- Milk (low fat or non-fat)
When choosing veggies and fruits, always touch them to prevent buying ones that are too riped or mature and will easily rot. You can also choose seasonal fruits and vegetables since they are fresher, more delicious, and cheaper.
Lemon, garlic, and healthy oils are versatile. You can promptly use them for dressings and sauces. As well as nuts and beans that you can easily incorporate into any meal. You can have them crushed, ground, or simply sliced into smaller pieces.
For meats (like chicken), you can pre-cook them then store them in the fridge and just reheat or pop them in the microwave the next day for easier and quicker cooking.
Here is your heart-friendly meals checklist
- Grilled vegetables with goat cheese
- Broccoli salad
- Oven roasted salmon with charred lemon
- Shrimp & edamame bowl
- Cheesy veggie burrito
- Stuffed bell pepper
- Saucy eggplant
- Tomato soup and grilled cheese
- Cauliflower fried rice
- Superfood grain bowl
- Egg sandwich with feta cheese
- Pineapple, grilled fish tacos
- Lettuce wrap with peanut sauce
- Steamed and stuffed tilapia
- Sweet potatoes with shredded red cabbage and goat cheese dip
- Grilled vegetables with goat cheese: Grill all your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, potato, tomato, etc. Then side it with goat cheese.
- Broccoli salad: mix your washed broccoli salad, your cooked chicken breast, and gluten-free croutons. Add balsamic vinegar and squeeze a lemon for dressing.
- Oven roasted salmon: Roast your salmon first and juice charred some lemon into half. Mix the juice with mustard, then drizzle over the salmon. Eat with brown rice and your preferred grilled veggies of choice.
- Shrimp & edamame bowl: In a bowl, mix the cabbage, avocado, high-protein edamame, and cooked shrimp. Sprinkle with chili flakes, a dash of lemon juice (or vinaigrette), and olive oil.
- Cheesy veggie burrito: Wrap your scrambled egg, tomato, avocado, and melted mozzarella cheese inside your gluten-free burrito.
- Stuffed bell pepper: Choose the biggest bell peppers you have, carefully remove the seeds inside, then place the ground turkey or beef and mozzarella cheese. Put in the microwave or oven to cook.
- Saucy eggplant: Grill, bake, or fry the eggplant. On a separate pan, cook the bell peppers and tomato. Then prepare the Worcestershire sauce, mix with honey and garlic cloves. Put everything in a pan, then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.
- Tomato soup and grilled cheese: Grind the tomatoes, pour in a pan and add non-fat milk, stir to avoid burning. In a pan, toast your gluten-free bread, topped with mozzarella cheese.
- Cauliflower fried rice: Grind the cauliflower. In a pan, using a healthy oil, fry the cauliflower alongside chopped green peas, carrots, tomato, and leftover chicken (optional), Drizzle with lemon juice.
- Superfood grain bowl: In a bowl, mix your cooked quinoa, pre-washed baby kale, and avocado. Drizzle with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar and pop in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
- Egg sandwich with feta cheese: In a gluten-free honey oat bread, stuff it with boiled egg, tomato, and spinach. Instead of using mayo, use feta cheese instead.
- Pineapple, grilled fish tacos: Instead of the usual ground beef or pork, replace it with tuna flakes. Top it with parsley and in guacamole or salsa.
- Lettuce wrap with peanut sauce: Wrap the chicken breast and cucumber in a lettuce, then drizzle with peanut sauce.
- Steamed and stuffed tilapia: Stuff the tilapia first with garlic, tomato, onion, green chili, and mozzarella cheese before steaming. While waiting, roast some cherry tomatoes.
- Sweet potatoes with shredded red cabbage and goat cheese dip: Bake the sweet potatoes first. While waiting, wash and shred the cabbage and prepare the goat cheese dip. Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, transfer to a plate and top with red cabbage. Don’t forget the goat cheese dip.
The ingredients required in each recipe are heart-friendly and contain no unhealthy fats.
When preparing for your lunch, always make sure that you have the right balance of heart-healthy protein, veggies, and fruits. In addition, it’s best to make your own dip to make sure no excess sodium is added. And don’t forget to hydrate!
Enjoy your heart-healthy lunch!
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