Between meetings, deadlines, and an inbox full of emails, you might feel too overwhelmed with your work schedule to even think about packing your lunch every day. Alexis Eggleton is a development officer for a New York college and brand ambassador for Gympass and WW. She often brings her lunch from home and has a few lunch ideas for work that are all about making the best use of your time and ensuring you stay energized all day.

Eat on a real plate

Eggleton is “a fundraiser by trade,” so when she’s not meeting with donors she packs her lunch at home. At lunchtime, she prefers to ditch her on-the-go food containers in favor of eating “on a real plate, with real silverware.” 

“It makes me more conscious of what I’m eating,” she told Gympass.

Prep for success

“When I was a kid my dad instilled the ‘prep for success’ motto in me,” Eggleton said, “so on Sunday I spend an hour setting up myself — and my kitchen — for the week ahead.”

Her version of a Spanish Tortilla Bake includes egg whites, turkey Canadian bacon, chives, and frozen shredded hash browns. In addition to preparing and packing her lunch, she washes and individually bags healthy snacks (think bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, apples, bananas, and raw almonds) for when she needs some extra nourishment. Eggleton applies this “prep for success” state of mind to more than just her lunch ideas for work.

“If I’m being honest, I also lay out my gym clothes and my outfit for work — right down to the earrings!” she said. “It makes a less stressful morning for me.”

Remind yourself you don’t have to eat the same thing all week

Eggleton prefers to work out in the morning, so you’ll usually catch her fueling up at lunch on lean protein and vegetables. To make sure she’s not eating the same food all week while cutting down on prep time, she makes similar meals, but turns to different sauces and sides to switch it up.

“I’ll grill or bake a few chicken breasts and use different sauces like Korean barbecue, lemon pepper, and buffalo on each one, so there’s variety in my meals,” she said. “I’ll also roast a couple kinds of veggies (I’m obsessed with fennel lately), and then mix and match.”

Don’t overthink it

For anyone exploring lunch ideas for work and wanting to try to pack their lunch more often, Eggleton stressed that it doesn’t have to be complicated.

“It can be as simple as making an extra portion of what you’re having for dinner and bringing that for lunch the next day,” she said. “When I changed my relationship with food, I started treating my lunches as fuel for my body, and that mindset shift reduced the pressure I felt that my lunches needed to be complicated.”

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