How to make and pack a healthy lunch in under 20 minutes…

Kate Richardson Greens, Lunch Leave a Comment

Ever wanted to know how a nutritionist eats?

Nadaa Taiyab, BA, BS, MA, NDA, nutritionist and founder of TinySteps, shows us an inside look of her morning routine for making and packing a healthy lunch for herself and her husband…


Here are the simple steps for making + packing a lunch 

Equipment you will need:

  • A sharp knife for chopping lettuce (optional) and vegetables. Ikea sells a great high quality chopping knife for $20.
  • Tupperware: or equivalent for storing the salad and dressing separately.
  • Lunch bag: something nice and insulated, unless you have a fridge at work. Here is a lunch bag similar to Nadaa’s.

Foods you will need: (Pick 1-2 from each category) 

  • Lettuce: spring mix, baby kale, baby spinach, romaine, etc.
  • Vegetables: bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, etc.
  • Nuts/seeds: unsalted and raw walnuts, pecans, pinenuts, almonds, cashews, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds are some favorites.
  • Protein: tofu, beans, chicken breast, etc.
  • Beans: even if you add another type of protein, beans should always be on a salad (if you like them). Cheap and easy! Some great choices are unsalted, drained and rinsed black beans, kidney beans, white beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans.
  • Herbs: (optional) basil, cilantro, and fresh mint are great choices.
  • Fruit: (optional) as desired, fresh pieces or dried (sugar-free)
  • Whole grain: (optional) in order to make the salad even more filling, adding a 1/2 c or so of cooked and cold quinoa, brown rice, or even barley will add a nice texture to the salad and keep you fuller, longer.
  • Snacks: (optional) fresh fruit and/or KIND and Larabar brand food bars are great go to options. See other snack options in our snack series videos, here.

Here are the Steps and what Nadaa used in the video in brackets:

  1. Chop the salad (optional) into smaller pieces to make it easier to eat.  (Organic Baby Kale from Trader Joe’s)
  2. Chop the vegetables you desire in your salad and add them in. (Organic bell pepper, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes)
  • Pro tip: save yourself even more time by cutting ahead of time or purchasing pre cut/chopped veggies or veggies that are bite sized like cherry tomatoes, or easily ripped up, like mushroom. 
  1. Drain and add the beans and/or other protein (Organic white kidney beans.)
  2. Add the nuts/seeds (Pine-nuts and pepitas)
  3. Add some fresh fruit or dried fruit (Raisins and dried cranberries)
  4. Add the whole grain (optional) (Cooked barley)
  5. Pour the desired amount of salad dressing in a to-go, small tupperware container. (Trader Joe’s Peanut Vinaigrette)
  6. Pack desired snacks (Lara Bar + apple)
  7. Pack food into lunch bags
  8. Clean-up as needed

Getting into the habit of making a salad for lunch as opposed to a sandwich, will actually give you more energy so you are more productive thru the late afternoon slump. All of the protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, phytochemicals, and minerals act as a perfect symphony, helping your body perform at it’s optimal level and it tastes great too!

For more on salad preparation ideas, see our video- here.




Kate RichardsonHow to make and pack a healthy lunch in under 20 minutes…