Packing a healthy lunch is a great idea not only for kids, but also, for the whole family! Often healthy cafeteria options can be limited and even the “healthy” food can be loaded in sugar and sodium. Save money and boost your nutritional intake with healthy choices that you have control over.
If you are ready to live healthier by brown bagging it, then check out these 5 strategies for packing a healthier lunch!
1- Prep Ahead
Planning ahead for lunch can be key to your success. Don’t just rush out the door in the morning and throw 2 things in a baggie. Take 10-15-minutes to pack up your lunch the night before so you can just grab and go in the morning. Packing can be as simple as just bringing leftovers from dinner. You can also prep components of your lunch in the beginning of the week (i.e. peel oranges, baggie up baby carrots, portion out yogurt, batch-cook quinoa).
2- Buy Reusable Containers/Lunch Bag
When you start bringing a lunch, you want to make sure you have the right containers/bag. Invest in some good containers that suit your needs. I use Mason jars for overnight oats, salads, and fruit (keeps from spilling), collapsible containers for fresh veggies (easier storage in my kitchen), and glassware for heating up large leftovers. I would suggest getting out your favorite containers first, then buying a lunch bag that will fit everything.
3- Keep it Well Balanced
To keep yourself full and satisfied, make sure to balance out your lunch components. This means incorporating a lean protein, high-fiber carbohydrate, and a vegetable. Some examples could include:
-Tossed salad with chickpeas, broccoli, carrots, chopped walnuts, and fruit on the side
-Stir-fry with brown rice, tofu/tempeh, and steamable veggies with whole fruit on the side
4- Plan for Your Moods Think about packing snacks or lunch sides that vary in texture and taste. I like roasted chickpeas for a salty crunch or peanut butter and apple for sweet/savory. If you plan ahead for moods, you are less likely to purchase vending items that are high in calories but low in beneficial nutrients.
5- Pack Unsweetened Beverages
Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day and especially while eating your meals. I would highly suggest a reusable water-bottle to keep your beverages cool and encourage you to drink more. If you don’t have easy access to water, try getting a larger water-bottle (I have a 52-ounce one) to make it last all day!
Your action goal for this week is to make a plan for how you will pack a healthy lunch. Post what you plan to work on in the comments below for some accountability!