Nowadays it seems like each season can receive the stamp of “busy”. Fall: back to school craziness! Winter: holiday craziness! Spring: graduation/end of school craziness! Layer in sports and work and social obligations..and I’m tired just typing this. Summer feels like a different kind of busy with its long, hazy days. Although days may stretch out with a little less rush, when you’re a mom there’s always some degree of chaos (right?!). With all the to and fro action, mama food consideration might take a backseat. I often see moms skip right over their midday meal! This usually leaves you starving late afternoon, scavenging for snacks or picking at kids’ plates. No longer! Here are 8 easy & healthy lunches you can eat when you’re on the fly!
These are recipes I make on the reg – I am NEVER the person to say “I’m too busy to eat”. Maybe that’s because as a nutritionist I’m conscientious of my blood sugar and nutrient intake. Maybe it’s because I just really like food. Or maybe it’s because I’m really not a fan of the “busy”. It was the “busy” that took me down at the knees with an illness, so I work hard to strike that word from my vocabulary and excuse bank. Having said that, I’m still a mom and business owner. So…you do the math. I have to make a concerted effort to take breaks, say no, schedule downtime, and EAT. I tuck into this discussion a bit more in my blog ‘6 Tips For Moms Who Don’t Have Time To Eat’. If this is something you struggle with, it’s worth a read…if you’re not too busy (wink!).
I broke these healthy & easy lunches down into two types of recipes – those you can make ahead and eat all week, and those you can whip up on the fly.
Make Ahead Easy & Healthy Lunches
These will all hold up well in a cooler for the days at the beach or pool (or work – boooo). These recipes won’t get soggy, weird or gross. And you get to cook once, then eat a bunch of times.
You can make this even easier by using a rotisserie chicken, or using an Instant Pot to cook chicken breasts. I throw in frozen (yes, frozen) chicken breasts and they are done in 20 minutes. This is revolutionary for moms! Check out the recipe for the exact model I use – it’s worth every penny!
I love this recipe because you can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge – you cannot mess this up! It holds up well and lasts a long time. Top with beans, hard boiled eggs, or one of the protein options below.
These two recipes are delicious staples in my house, and they make a perfect salad topper. I prefer both heated up in a skillet, but you can eat them cold if you’re out and about.
This recipe is an oldie (I posted it to my blog 4 years ago) but a goodie! I used to make it for all family parties, but it was such a hit that I had to publicly post the recipe so I could stop writing it out for everyone!
Grains + Pesto
If you tolerate grains, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Make a big pot of quinoa, rice, millet, etc. Make a batch of this (dairy-free) Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Refrigerate for up to a week. BOOM. When it comes time to pack up or eat lunch, throw on a bed of greens, add in some leftover roasted veggies, or eat as is. This is also tasty over rice rotini for a cold pasta salad.
On the Fly Easy & Healthy Lunches
If you’re home and hungry, you can whip the following lunches up in less than 10 minutes.
What’s easier than tuna salad on a hot summer day? Switch it up by using canned wild caught salmon. (If you like canned tuna, you’ll like canned salmon.) Buy it with the bones in and the skin on for extra nutrient power: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D in the bones and fatty acids in the skin. You just mash it all together with a fork and don’t know the difference anyway.
This one is a special shoutout to my breastfeeding mamas because…TADA…you can eat it with ONE HAND. I’m basically a genius. You have to make a few of these puppies for it to qualify as a meal, but there’s no problem there because the nut pate is delicious.
Acai Bowl or Smoothie Bowl
Check out my last Seacoast Moms Blog for a how-to guide on these beautiful bad boys. Thick smoothie bowls are one of my lunch staples in the summertime! I pack them up in a mason jar and eat with a spoon. Remember, if you’re eating a smoothie as a meal, you want to be sure it contains substantial calories. I love adding fat to keep me satiated – avocado and full fat canned coconut milk are two of my favorite ways to do this!
When all else fails, there’s always leftovers!
Make a little extra of these 5 Simple Suppers, and you’ll have lunch on hand for the following day!
If you found these ideas helpful, check out my Batch Cooking, Meal Prep & Kitchen Hacks E-Book! Full of inspiration, tips and healthy recipes for busy moms!