I Forgot My Lunch. Now What?

I Forgot My Lunch. Now What?

Planning ahead is an important key to success, but sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions. You may be halfway to work before you realize that you left your lunch on the kitchen counter. Maybe you had a crazy weekend and didn’t have the chance to get to the grocery store to stock up on your healthy staples. When your plan is thrown off, it’s tempting to just abandon your meal plan and find something fast, cheap, and not necessarily healthy. If you find yourself in a pinch, here are some great options for staying on track.

(Not This.)


If you’re stopping for coffee anyway, Starbucks has some great options for staying on track.
The Spinach Feta and Cage Free Egg White Wrap is a tasty wrap filled with flavor and protein. At 290 calories, it is a reasonable choice to start your day and includes 19 grams of protein to keep your hunger at bay.

Chinese Takeout

My coworkers order from a local Chinese/Japanese restaurant once every week or so. It is often tempting, but I try to pack my lunch every day to avoid the indulgence. If this happens to be the day that lunch was left at home, there are healthy options.

Start with soup. From the Chinese menu, a small serving of wonton soup offers about 180 calories, while a serving of miso soup from the Japanese menu is only about 85 calories. Sip slowly on a cup of warm, filling broth and allow yourself the time it takes for your brain to register your stomach’s signals that you are getting full. Stay away from the lunch combos that often include fried eggrolls and a brick of white rice, and choose a protein/veggie combo like Chicken with Snow Peas or Shrimp and Vegetables. Request sauces on the side so you can use them sparingly to avoid excessive sugar and sodium. Visit this post from Shape magazine for more ideas at Chinese restaurants.

The Grocery Store

If restaurant options are extremely limited, you may find the only option to find lunch is the closest grocery stores. Most grocery stores have a salad bar option. You know the drill. Load up on veggies, add some protein, and go easy on the dressing. Choose vinaigrettes over creamy dressings and skip the croutons. You can also find some frozen meals if you need to hurry back to your desk. Be mindful of the sodium in these processed meals. Drink more water than you usually do and cut back on sodium at dinner if you choose to go this route.

The Vending Machine

In the worst case scenario, you can’t leave your office (or hospital waiting room, or wherever you find yourself without your planned lunch). There is a vending machine in the lobby and you have a stash of quarters in your desk drawer. If you’re lucky, your vendor stocks your machine with healthier options like protein bars or packs of nuts. If you don’t have these obvious choices in your machine, what do you do? You could skip the snack altogether, but then you run the risk of overeating at dinner, ravenous from a day of inadvertent fasting. Instead, choose something that offers a fair amount of protein or fiber. Fiber-filled popcorn or a granola bar that may have more sugar than you would ordinarily accept may be a Sad Desk Lunch, but it’s something that will tie you over until healthier options are available.

Don’t Leave It!

If you are constantly forgetting your lunch, water bottle, gym bag, or any other item essential to your healthy life, try downloading the Don’t Leave It app. This app is designed to help you remember whatever item you choose. Once you begin to walk away from home or work, you will be alerted to remember your item(s).

Your personal trainer is always around to give you the best nutritional advice suited for your personal needs. Louben Repke is a certified personal trainer and nurse. He has the knowledge to help you meet your goals and he wants to share this knowledge with you today! Call Repke Fitness at 410-656-2121 to schedule your free initial personal training session/consultation.

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