Whether you’re packing a lunch to enjoy at work or preparing your kids’ midday meal, a healthy lunch gives you the necessary energy to get through the day. However, with a super busy schedule, bringing a healthy lunch is much easier said than done. We all know processed and prepackaged meals can save time and energy when our lives get hectic, but they aren’t doing our bodies any favors. To look out for your health and your wallet, implement a few of the suggestions mentioned below and get into the routine of bringing a healthy lunch every day.
Find Reusable Containers
Invest in a lunch box or lunch containers that you really love. Bento boxes or other containers with compartments help you plan each part of your lunch and result in you using fewer single-use plastic bags as a bonus! Breaking your lunch up into distinct parts can make planning and preparing your lunch easier.
Incorporate Whole Grains
Give your lunch a healthy boost by replacing white, refined grains with complex carbohydrates and whole grains. If you don’t like the taste of whole grains, start slowly by making a sandwich with half white bread and half whole wheat bread, or mix in a portion of whole grain pasta to white pasta. This gradual shift to whole grains will give you a more complex form of energy that will last all day long.
Packing your lunch doesn’t have to be another boring chore! Include at least one part of your meal that you are excited about. Having a part of your lunch to look forward to can make your day go by faster and may prevent you from ditching your home-made lunch and eating out. If you are addicted to a burrito bowl from your favorite Mexican restaurant or a specialty sandwich from your favorite deli, try to replicate this meal at home! Grab the ingredients on your next grocery run and duplicate your favorite lunch!
Include Fresh Produce
The more fresh produce you include in your lunch, the better. Stock up on fruits and veggies that will last you through the week like oranges, apples, bell peppers, and carrots. These nutritious fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote immunity, prevent iron deficiency, and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases. Your new rule-of-thumb when packing your lunch? Be sure you can see at least two or three different colored foods, as a colorful meal usually means it contains sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Meal Prep or Pack the Night Before
If you struggle to get out the door on time in the mornings, you can ease your routine by preparing your lunch the night before or meal prepping at the beginning of each week. By cooking a big batch of yummy food on Sunday and packaging it properly, you can enjoy a full week of lunches with no morning-of prep required. If you’re not interested in meal prepping at the start of your week, you can also make a little extra food for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch the next day. Work smarter, not harder when it comes to packing your lunch every day!
Tips for the Kids
If you are packing lunches for your kids as well as yourself, you can still incorporate these tips for delicious and healthy lunches–even for picky young eaters. Be sure to replace refined grains with whole grains whenever possible, and include dipping sauces along with produce, such as salad dressing with carrot sticks or peanut butter for apple slices. The key to packing lunches for the kids is the same for adults–get them excited! Be sure to include your child’s favorite food in their lunch a couple of times each week. You can also encourage your kids to get involved in packing their own lunches by giving them choices of fruits and vegetables, so they feel in control of their meals and stay excited about healthy eating.
For you and your kids, it’s important to balance your healthy lunch with consistent physical activity to maximize your health benefits. In addition to a homemade lunch, you can also boost your health during the day by stretching, moving around the office, and perfecting your posture if you sit for most of the day. These simple steps can go a long way in decreasing your chances of developing a chronic disease, experiencing unhealthy weight gain, and suffering from back pain.
All American Healthcare is invested in every element of your well-being. If you want to learn more about healthy eating, physical activity, or treatment for chronic pain, come visit us! Our experienced and caring staff of medical professionals includes physical therapists, chiropractors, physicians, and more that are ready to help you explore your options to live your best life. For more information on our medical weight loss, chiropractic, or pain management treatments, come visit us at All American Healthcare today!