Happy Monday! Today, I just wanted to share a few tips for packing a healthy lunch. Regularly packing a lunch can do a lot for your figure (hello, bikini season!) and for your wallet. Here are a few of the reasons I would encourage anyone to consider packing their lunch most days of the week.
1. If you know how to pack smart, it will likely be healthier. I don’t know about you, but I am much more likely to get at least 2 servings of fruits or vegetables when I pack my own lunch than when I buy at the cafeteria! Plus, many of the options available in the cafeteria aren’t the healthiest, ie.: pizza, chicken tenders, fries, burgers, etc.
2. The options for what to pack are endless! If you google “packed lunch ideas” you will come up with 3,000,000 hits. There’s no end to the different combinations of foods you can pack to keep you lunch interesting! That’s a lot more options than what you will find in your work/school cafeteria.
3. It’s cheaper. Let’s say your typical cafeteria lunch costs about $6-$7 if not more. Here is a break down of the cost of a lunch I usually pack.
- 3 oz. Salad Mix ($1.59), 1/2 cup Beans ($0.20), Assorted Vegetables ($0.10), 1 oz. Cheese ($0.62) and 1 oz. Salad Dressing ($0.37): $2.88
- Apple + Peanut Butter: $0.65 (apple) + $0.38 (peanut butter)
- Almonds: $0.50
- Total = $4.41
4. You have more time to eat your lunch. When you don’t have to stand in line to buy your lunch, you have more time to eat and enjoy it!
5. You are less likely to be tempted by unhealthy foods in the canteen if purchasing your lunch. When you pack your lunch, you won’t be tempted by the unhealthy options at the cafeteria. If you are buying your lunch, it can be hard to always turn down the junk.
6. It’s a great way to decrease waste at home by using up leftovers. Prepare a little extra each night to make packing a lunch even easier. Invest in a few good tupperware containers (glass is best!) so you can easily reheat your lunch at work.
7. You can pack the food you really like, rather than settle for whatever is available at the cafeteria that day. That’s right! Too many times, I have heard people complain about the lack of variety or quality of the food available at work. If you are bringing from home, you can make sure you have the food you really want to eat for lunch.
When I pack a lunch, I usually build a hearty salad as my main course, toss in a fruit (usually an apple with peanut butter), and pair it with a snack item like a yogurt or almonds. If I have leftovers from dinner that are easy to transport, I am happy to pack those for lunch the next day! Some foods I have packed in the past include: chili, curry, lentils, or cooked vegetables and a vegetarian protein.
Want some more packed lunch inspiration? Check out some of these great resources:
- Lunch in a Box from Kath of Kath Eats Real Food: provides a ton of great tips on how to assemble a healthy lunch to go as well as provides some tasty recipes.
- 50 Packable Lunch Ideas from Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean: I love all these easy-to-prepare lunch components.
- 90 Healthy No-Heat Lunches for Work from Kalyn’s Kitchen: Love all these great ideas! Especially the cold grain salads. Yum.
Do you pack your lunch for work most days of the week? What are some of your favorite foods to include in your lunch?