By Dave Mowat, Clinic Manager, Mississauga
Now that summer has come to an end, it is time to get back on a regular schedule. For those that are unable to eat lunch at home, your regular schedule should include packing healthy lunches to enjoy throughout the workweek. Packing your lunch instead of purchasing ones is an important healthy lifestyle changes, not to mention the money you will save! When you pack your own lunch, you can manage your portion sizes and pack healthy items that will keep your body running efficiently for the rest of the day.
Check out these great tips so that you can pack lunches that will drive continued health success:
- Schedule it in. If you have never packed your lunch, it is important to make packing lunches a habit. The best way to get into this routine would be to schedule time in your day to pack your lunch. If you make it a ritual, it becomes a regular part of your day. Choose a time to pack your lunch that works best for your schedule, whether it’s the night before or each morning before you head out. You could even pack all your lunches at the beginning of the week.
- Know your lunch environment. Knowing this is an essential piece in packing healthy lunches. Knowing the type of resources, you have at lunch time will dictate the food items you bring. Does your work environment have a fridge, a microwave, or a toaster? Does your company provide healthy food for employees?
- Aim for balance. Try to balance your lunch meals by bringing different food groups, like a protein and a starch along with a vegetable or fruit. When you have a balance between different food groups it will help you to feel satisfied along with keeping you feeling full until the next time you eat.
- Change it up. Try to change up your lunches throughout the week. Eating the same sandwich for lunch everyday can become repetitive and boring for your taste buds, which may lead to the temptation of heading out for lunch instead. Make changes by bringing a variety of options each day that could include different types of sandwiches, salads, and vegetables or fruits.
- Be prepared. Make yourself a list at the beginning of the week that is made up of all the lunch items you plan to enjoy. Having everything on hand will allow for easy packing. If the items are within reach, it eliminates the chance of going out for lunch instead. A few lunch staples that you might want to have available include brown rice, low-fat cheese, lean deli slices, cooked fish fillets and chicken breasts, cans of tuna, whole grain tortillas, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and a variety of yogurts.
- Take advantage of leftovers. Leftovers are always great to bring for lunch the next day. If you are already making a healthy dish for dinner, then why not make an extra serving as it will save you on prep time.
- Get your kids involved. If you have children, make packing your lunches together an everyday routine. This way, both you and your children will have a healthy lunch that will nourish your bodies. Ask your kids to help you prepare lunch, as this will instill healthy habits in them for years to come. Your kids will begin to look forward to this time where you get to put together a creative, yet healthy and satisfying, lunch.
- Don’t skip lunch! If you don’t eat lunch, you may become ravenous and eat twice the amount at your next meal. Packing lunches is not only good for your waistline, but it is also very beneficial for your wallet. Paying for lunch may seem like a small expense, but it can quickly add up. Of course, there will be times where packing a lunch will not be possible because of everyday life and daily tasks, so be sure to make the best choice possible.
What may seem like a daunting task to do almost every day will be worthwhile as it will benefit your waistline, overall health, and your wallet.