Eating a healthy lunch when you’re at work can be hard. Fast food restaurants have a limited menu choices that work well with post bariatric surgery diets. It’s often best to bring a lunch to work if you want to make sure you are getting the protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats you need without going overboard on calories. But not many people have time to cook a healthy lunch before they even leave the house for work. By planning meals ahead, freezing meals in single serving portions, and always having a selection of quick but healthy meals on hand you can pack your lunchbox in a jiffy, get to work on time, and have a healthy lunch waiting for you in the refrigerator. Many items, like fresh fruit, vegetables, or crackers, can be prepped the night before and packaged in a baggie or small container. If you have an adjustable lap band, avoid the nuts and opt for a more lap band friendly food.
Cottage Cheese and Fresh Fruit
Small cups of cottage cheese are easy to grab out of the refrigerator and stay fresh for weeks after purchasing, making them great to keep on hand to grab and go. Add fresh fruit like strawberries, cantaloupe, or grapes to make it seem more like a meal. Pair with a fresh vegetable, like carrot sticks or pepper rings.
Omelette Muffins or Scrambled Egg and Vegetables
Omelette muffins are eggs mixed with your choice of meat, vegetables, or cheese and baked in a muffin cup. They can be made ahead of time and kept in the frig or frozen. They are already portion controlled and easy to reheat. Another alternative is to mix raw scrambled eggs and vegetables in a microwave safe covered container. At lunchtime, cook the eggs in the microwave for 1-3 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
Chicken Salad with Grapes
Chicken salad is easy to make with canned or fresh chicken, or can be store bought. Homemade chicken salad is good because you can use plain greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise if you choose. Add in celery and green or red grapes for a sweet, satisfying crunch. Walnuts are also a welcomed addition, or eat them on the side. Chicken salad can be made the night before and spooned into a container so it’s easy to grab it and go in the morning.
Turkey and Cheese Roll Ups
If you keep deli meats on hand, this is a quick lunch to pack. Roll up slices of turkey with slices of cheese. It’s that simple. If you like avocado, you can roll a slice up in the middle. Pair it with something crunchy on the side like mixed nuts, fresh vegetables, or apple slices.
Chili with Shredded Cheese
Whether it’s turkey, beef, or vegetarian chili is your choice. Chili is easy to prepare and then freeze in single serving portions, and it reheats well. Adding beans is a great way of adding protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. You can take it out of the freezer at home and reheat it at work. Top with shredded cheese or eat with whole wheat crackers.
Of course, leftover dinner can make an easy workday lunch, too. By taking a few minutes to plan ahead the night before, you can make your morning much smoother and make your lunchtime meals easier, not to mention saving you the expense of eating out. You can keep a list of 5-10 lunches that are easy for you to pack and satisfy you at work. When grocery shopping, keep your lunches in mind and buy your supplies for the week’s meals.
These workday ideas are provided by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified general surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable lap band patients come from all over South Florida, from Miami, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Hialeah, to West Palm Beach, and as far away as Orlando, Jacksonville, and New York. His bariatric surgery patients often ask for meal planning advice to fit their post bariatric surgery diets. Meal planning depends on your stage after surgery and the type of bariatric procedure, as well as any other medical condition that affects your food selection. Use our ideas as inspiration and customize your meal planning to suit your needs.