Prevea Health

Lunch tips: brown bagging it


What is your present schedule when it comes to packing lunches? Answer these questions to complete an important step towards packing a healthy lunch:
  • How many days a week do you pack a lunch?
  • Does someone else pack it for you?
  • Do you take mostly cold items or hot?

How often do you pack a lunch? The benefits of packing a lunch are insurmountable. You have choices you can make in advance so spontaneous eating is at an all-time low. Second, cold lunches usually help you to be more frugal. You can pack at least three lunches for the price of one lunch at a restaurant. Third, planning is key for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While weight loss wasn’t mentioned as a benefit of this eating pattern, planning meals/snacks (including and especially those outside of the home) will help with the numbers on the scale.
What are you packing? Is it the same cold sandwich and piece of fruit every day? While there is nothing wrong with a sandwich and fruit, variety is not only the key to life, but the key to gaining valuable nutrients and antioxidants. If you are following a pattern of sandwich and fruit, try these simple tips:
  • Change your protein every other day. Try chicken breast, tuna, canned salmon or nut butters for your protein sources. Make a turkey breast in the oven and use it for sandwiches during the week.
  • Choose whole wheat bread.
  • Switch up your fruit daily, or at the very least, every other day with different colored choices.
  • The spread on your sandwich can change from an olive oil based spread to a variety of hummus or avocado.
When are you packing your lunch? This matters because if you take the time to put some energy and thought into it, chances are it will be much healthier. If you start packing five minutes before you run out the door, chaotic choices usually are not the healthiest ones. Good rule of thumb: pack your lunch with or after your supper meal. As you are putting away leftovers, put some in small containers ready for lunch the next day. Also, when making a dinner salad, prepare two or three salads for yourself or others that need a packed lunch. You have all the ingredients out anyway so making multiple salads at once will cut down on time.
Don’t let packing lunches become a chore. You can make “around the world” lunches. Have you ever attended a party or holiday that had an “all around the world” theme? Choose a country, a region, a state, etc. and choose cuisine from that area for the week, the day or the month. Eating can become mundane if you don’t give it a little spark or change it now and then.