Tips to Pack a Healthy Lunch


by Angela Zapien

Packing a Healthy LunchI am often asked about the foods I eat or how I prepare meals for the week. Today, I’d like to answer some of your questions regarding packing a lunch. It’s simple, healthy and affordable. Preparing food or packing lunches doesn’t have to be time consuming or boring and it’s easier than you think.

What kind of bag should I use? The type of cooler (lunch) bag you should use is one that is insulated to keep cold food cold and warm food warm. You can find cute inexpensive ones at Target, TJ Maxx or Wal-Mart.

How do I keep it cool at my desk? If you are unable to keep your cooler bag in the fridge at the office, you can simply leave on your desk. Keep it closed. It might even encourage you to eat since your food is visible. The frozen ice packs really help keep your food cool. The Ziploc containers work well for holding your meals and pre-packaging your meals for the day/week. 

What key items should be included to make it healthy and balanced? Examples of key items to be included should be water, fruit, veggies, a green salad topped with lean protein (chicken, canned tuna or fish), greek yogurt, raw almonds (Trader Joes has pre-packaged raw almonds) brown rice, oatmeal mixed with raw nuts or fruit, hummus, protein bars (Luna Bars are great).  NO SODA, FRUIT JUICES, CANDY, CHIPS just to name a few. Make sure that you have breakfast, AM Snack, Lunch, PM Snack and maybe dinner if you are working late at the office.

I have a sweet tooth, what’s a healthy alternative to cookies? If you have a sweet tooth and you don’t want to gorge on candy, you can have fruit such as strawberries, grapes or watermelon mixed with greek yogurt, fruit with a dash of Splenda sprinkled on or a smoothie. Almond Milk with fresh or frozen fruit, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt! This is actually one of my favorites!

Packing a Healthy LunchI love salt, what are healthier choices that will satisfy my craving? If you love salt, the healthiest alternatives would be any type of raw nuts. These can be found prepackaged and inexpensively at Trader Joes. You can also have veggies with hummus dip. Sweet potatoes make a great salty snack as well.

Do you have any time saving tips for packing and preparing lunches? Your best bet in saving time is allowing one day out of the weekend to make a list of your meals/snacks for the week – look online for clean recipes ( go to the grocery store (stick to the list) and cook/prep your meals. That way, come Monday you are ready to go. You avoid eating out, not eating healthy and starving yourself. You can go to Costco and pick up all your chicken, salad, fruits/veggies, milk, yogurts, oatmeal and so forth. You can also get the whole family involve and make it quality family time. Prepping your meals does not have to be draining, it can be fun, and you help each other and work as a team. 

Have you done the math? How much could I save a month by packing lunch? I’ve never done the math in regards to the cost savings associated with packing your lunch. But I do know that you will save money in the long run. I suggest going to Costco for most of your foods since they come in bulk and last longer. In addition, you become healthier, more conscious of what you are putting in your mouth (Eating Out) and you can spend your lunch hour reading a book or going for a walk. 

I also recommend the Eat Clean Diet book, it’s a great staple to have in the kitchen. It explains everything you should know about clean eating. It’s my food bible. So there you have it. Packing a lunch is easy, affordable and healthier for you. You can reach me at!/ThePinkLadiesBootCamp if you would like more health and fitness tips

Angela Zapien was born and raised in San Jose, CA. She currently resides in South San Jose with her husband Alex and their dog, Latte. She is the Fitness Coach for The Pink Ladies Boot Camp and is both TRX Certified and CPR Certified. Her hobbies include running, scrapbooking, reading, helping others and going to church.