Your Health Ben Brown | 3 years ago

Four Easy Steps To Packing A Healthy Lunch

Packing your lunch for work not only saves you money, but it is also a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To make sure your lunch is nutritious and balanced, be sure to include the major food groups. Include grains for energy, lean protein to satisfy your appetite, a rainbow of nutrients from fruit or vegetables and a dairy food to keep your bones and teeth healthy. It is okay to include a small treat, but avoid lunch pitfalls, such as highly processed lunch meals and sugary soda’s.

Grains

First, always include a grain. Grains contain carbohydrates which provide the physical and mental energy you need to fuel your day. Choosing a whole grain, will not only provide energy, but also provides fiber. Fiber contains important nutrients to keeps your colon healthy, and make you feel full longer. If you love sandwiches you can use 100% whole grain breads, tortillas, and pita’s. Make half of your day’s grains whole!

Protein

Second, be sure to include a protein source such as lean meats, tuna fish, beans, nuts or eggs. Protein foods help to repair tissues, fight infections and satisfies hunger.

Fruits and Vegetables

Next, add a rainbow of nutrients. This is where your fruits and vegetables come into play. Choose your favorites or try something new. Be creative and have some fun with this group. Quick ideas for adding fruits and vegetables:
  • Top sandwiches with assorted greens, fresh basil, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, and/or tomatoes.
  • Slice vegetables and fruit salads on Sunday nights to avoid mid-week prepping. Place them in mini containers or zip lock bags. This provides quick, ready to go lunch sides for everyone!
  • Take a couple of fruits such as apples and plums, slice them up and place them together in a zip lock bag.

Dairy

Finally, add a serving of dairy. Choose non-fat/low-fat versions of yogurt or milk. Greek yogurt is a great choice because it packs a large amount of protein. Other good choices include low-fat cheese sticks and cheese cubes.

Bonus Tip!

Get the kids involved in packing their own lunch. Remember, eating habits develop early in life, so your efforts today will lead to a healthier tomorrow.    
Azra_Patricia Pic Profile Tricia Azra, RD, LDN
Tricia Azra is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and has been practicing in the North Carolina region for 18 years. Tricia shares her passion for healthy living in her current role as a community wellness dietitian working for Carolina’s Healthcare System and supporting its partnership with the local YMCA’s.