Busy Schedule: Healthy Meals

cc2As you begin a summer job, an internship, or a career, it is easy to find yourself eating convenient meals at fast food restaurants or vending machines. You’re going to need to eat homemade meals, or you’ll end up spending a good portion of your income on eating out, and you probably won’t be very fond of the pounds you’ll gain as a result. Plus, the time you would have spent going to a restaurant and ordering food can now be spent doing what breaks are meant for: taking a break.

We’ve recently had a couple of articles about healthy alternatives to favorite foods, including what to order in fast food restaurants if you do occasionally need to eat out, and tips for packing healthy lunches, so be sure to check those out for more information and ideas.

Quick food prep tips

Break it down yourself. Stay away from pre-packaged meals, which tend to be packed with unhealthy preservatives and have a higher price per ounce. Instead, buy a large jar of applesauce and fill small re-usable containers at home, or put pretzels into sandwich baggies instead of purchasing the food already split into serving-size portions.

Keep cold foods cold. Wrap cold food in aluminum foil to keep it cold on hot days. Once you receive a paycheck, consider purchasing an insulated lunch box. This will save time (no need for foil wrapping), money (no foil costs), and will help the environment (less waste).

Pack the night before. If you don’t like to spend time packing a lunch in the morning, just pack it the night before and keep it in the fridge so it’ll be ready for you in the possible rush of morning.


Breakfast (add fresh fruit and a glass of milk to the side of any of these for a well-balanced meal that will keep you full until lunch):

Toast. Whole grain toast with peanut butter is a great way to pack the grains and protein in before leaving the house.cc1

Eggs. If you hard-boil them in advance, you won’t have to cook while you’re getting ready for work.

Oatmeal. This will keep you full for hours. Make with milk instead of water for a richer texture, and add mashed fruit to it for natural flavor.

Cereal. Skip the sugary Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs, and opt for something healthier, like Cheerios or Raisin Bran.

Fruit. If all else fails, and you’re running behind, at least grab a banana or an apple and a bottle of water on the way out the door. The water will help you stay hydrated throughout the morning, and the fruit will keep you from getting so hungry before lunch that you end up wasting money and calories at the vending machine.

Lunch (add fresh fruit, raw veggies, and milk to the side of these):

Peanut butter and jelly. Again, use whole grain bread, and try using a fruit preserve instead of a jelly. The flavor is amazing, and fruit is actually the main ingredient!

Lunch meat. Use a whole grain sub or hamburger bun, or a pita pocket, then fill with your favorite veggies and white lunch meats. Use mustard as a healthy alternative to mayonnaise.

Left-overs. If you are lucky enough to have a microwave available at work, take some of last night’s dinner with you and heat it up!


As you work, strive to glorify God with your attitude, and trust in Him with your future.

Proverbs 28:19, 25: “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.”

By Davonne Parks

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