Let’s face it – packing a lunch isn’t always easy. Whether it’s for your child or for yourself, it takes planning, effort and time.
But the benefits of packing a healthy lunch are tremendous. Not only are you likely to save money, you’re better able to control your – or your child’s – eating habits.
The first step to packing healthy lunches isn’t on sale at the grocery; it’s motivation. Commit to and prioritize your good health.
Remember, when you control the menu, you control the fat, calories and nutrients.
Here are some more tips to help you pack (and eat!) a healthy lunch each day:
Make enough dinner for leftovers for lunch the next day.
Don’t like making sandwiches? Don’t stress! Take your healthy dinner leftovers and immediately package them for lunch for the next day. You have to put leftovers away anyway, why not simply pack them into your lunch so you can grab and go the next morning? The key here is to make sure you have a healthy dinner in the first place.
Do your lunch prep on Sunday.
Feel like you don’t have time to pack lunches during the busy work/school week? Do most of the work on Sunday. Try to get as much of the prep work out of the way as possible. Clean, cut and package vegetables and fruits. Make healthy wraps. Cook a big batch of healthy soup and freeze it in individual servings. Think salads with individually-wrapped ingredients and pre-measured dressing cups.
Invest in some good food containers.
Look for containers that are BPA-free and resist food odors.
Try to keep healthy lunch staples on hand.
Maybe you normally take leftovers but suddenly find yourself without any. Try to keep cooked chicken breast on hand. (You can cook it yourself or buy packaged strips.) Hard boil eggs. Make sure your refrigerator is stocked with plenty of fruits, vegetables, yogurt (try Greek yogurt!) and cheese. Packaged raw or roasted nuts (almonds, for example) can add nice protein to your lunches.
Don’t forget your lunch!
Do whatever you need to do to make sure you remember to actually grab your lunch from the refrigerator. There’s nothing worse than arriving at work or school and remembering your carefully packed lunch is at home in the refrigerator! Write a post-it note and put it on the door, or set an alarm on your phone.
Find some company to eat lunch with you.
Part of the fun of eating out is the social aspect. Find some coworkers who are also willing to bring a healthy lunch and get together outside if the weather allows.