Come lunch time, many people find themselves heading to the nearest fast food joint for a hurried meal—and often load up with carb- or salt-heavy foods that make them sleepy or bloat the body. If you are trying to eat healthy, don’t let your midday meal sabotage your best intentions. May be its time for a lunch makeover. It all starts by packing healthy, energy-filled foods. Below are some lunch suggestions to get you started:

  • Be creative! Try not to make the same thing every day. If you have a sandwich on Monday, bring a salad on Tuesday. Variety is the key to not getting stuck in a rut.
  • Skip the processed foods (like single serving packs of chips) and opt for fresh ingredients, like sandwiches and salads that are made with in-season herbs, greens, fruit, vegetables, and cheese. Nuts, sliced carrots, and popcorn are great for snacking.
  • A sandwich may be a fast and convenient lunch option, but what goes into your sandwich should be carefully planned. Load up on veggies, swap mayo for hummus or a different lower-calorie spread, and use whole-grain bread.
  • Turn last night’s leftovers into a whole new dish. If you had steak and potatoes for dinner, throw slices of steak and chopped potato into a pita with mint, tomatoes, and store-bought hummus. Have chicken and veggies? Toss leftover chicken and veggies with cooked pasta, herbs to make a hearty pasta salad.
  • You may think that your can of thin soup is a healthy move, but if your lunch leaves you starving just minutes later, you can become susceptible to chowing down on a less-healthy afternoon snack. Make sure your lunch contains a good balance of protein and fiber to help you feel satisfied for longer. Throw in a piece of fruit with your lunch for added fiber and add a cup of yogurt for protein.

Some more tips:

  • Instead of deli meat , pack sliced tofu, roasted meat, or grilled chicken : They’ll offer protein without added sodium and fat.
  • Instead of regular chicken salad, pack low-cal chicken salad:  Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo for extra protein.
  • Instead of one whole-wheat wrap, use two slices of whole-wheat bread: A wrap might offer fewer calories, but the whole-wheat bread is a great source of protein and fiber.
  • Instead of mayonnaise, use avocado: To save on saturated fat and increase the fiber, spread avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo.
  • Instead of croutons, use sunflower seeds : The sunflower seeds will add the crunch you’re after in your salad as well as protein and healthy fats.
  • Instead of wheat thins, use triscuits : Triscuits are made with whole-wheat flour instead of enriched flour, so they offer more fiber per serving, plus fewer calories.
  • Instead of cream cheese on a bagel, use natural peanut butter on a bagel: The nut butter might offer more calories, but it’s also higher in fiber, lower in saturated fat, and higher in protein.
  • Instead of orange juice, pack a whole orange: Opt for the actual fruit to increase your lunch’s fiber content and save you liquid calories.
  • Instead of regular pasta, use whole-wheat pasta: Whether it’s your kid’s mac ‘n’ cheese or lasagna for yourself, always opt for whole-wheat pasta for added fiber.

What’s your secret to packing the perfect lunch?