Despite our best intentions, lunch can be a problematic meal — even for the savviest of health gurus! If you consistently spend lunch time at work or school, you need a plan to stay on-track.
Lunch is Important
Breakfast is often touted as the most important meal of the day, but don’t overlook your midday hunger. Whether you’re always on-the-go with an active lifestyle or your routine is more sedentary, you need energy from food to stay sharp, focused and fueled.
Ever feel sluggish, irritable or disoriented between noon – 3:00 pm? Eating midday re-energizes your body and hits the “reset” button. Eating a balanced, healthy lunch can:
- Stabilize your blood sugar levels
- Give you an extra boost of energy
- Keep your metabolism active
- Bring a new burst of mental clarity
How to Pack a Healthy Lunch
What makes a lunch healthy? How do you pack a nutritious lunch with time and convenience in mind? Consider these smart tips for anytime, anywhere:
If you’re making a nutritious dinner for you and/or your family, make it in bulk. Take advantage of any leftovers by packing them in a lunchbox the night before. If you don’t want to eat your leftovers right away, that’s okay! Freeze it and store it for a future time.
Pack Some Protein
Your body needs protein for many different physical processes. Strive for lean choices like grilled or sauteed chicken breast, sliced turkey breast or salmon fillets. No-meat choices can include hard boiled eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt or a handful of unsalted nuts.
Pack Some Produce
Fruits and veggies are rich with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Popular veggie choices include cooked broccoli, baby carrots, mixed greens tossed into a flavorful salad, baked asparagus or cooked sweet potatoes. Popular fruit choices include apples, pears, oranges, grapes, mixed berries or watermelon. Pay attention to sugar content and watch your portion control!
Prep Your Lunchbox in Advance
Try to avoid packing your lunch just before you race out the door for the day. If you can meal prep on one specified day of the week, like a Sunday morning, it can save you time and worry. If you choose to take it day by day, at least try packing your lunch the night before.
Eat What You Truly Enjoy
Many of us fall off the wagon when we force ourselves to eat food we’re not excited about. Combat those last minute temptations by packing food you actually like eating. If you’re a “junk food” aficionado, take a challenge by coming up with healthy, tasty alternatives.
Invest in Smart Containers
Portion control is an underutilized but necessary skill. Don’t just stuff whopping containers of food items into your lunchbox. Many stories carry portion-savvy Ziploc bags or Tupperware to help you keep your packed meals balanced and calorie-conscious.
Build a Routine
Finally, make packing a healthy lunch part of your routine. Consistency is key to health and longevity! Strive to build healthy habits that you can stick to day in and day out to alleviate stress and stay on top of your game. You’ll notice that by packing healthy lunches and mastering meal prep, you’ll not only benefit your body — you’ll also save big bucks in your wallet!