There are good reasons why pizza day is the day to buy lunch in elementary school. A good lunch can make your day a whole lot better. If that can be said about a cardboard crust and canned peaches imagine how good your day could be if you packed a decent lunch? Packing a healthy lunch does not need to be difficult. Below are 4 easy steps to help you quickly put together a healthy lunch for yourself, your children, spouse, etc.
Step #1 – Choose a fruit.
Oh I love fruit! So delicious, so portable, so good for you. Start by putting a serving of fruit in your lunchbag. Fruit is a great choice for a quick morning or afternoon snack. Some of my favorites include strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges, apples, and bananas (just kidding about the bananas). I like the idea of liking bananas, but I don’t really like bananas.
Step #2 – Choose a veggie.
If you are not already in the habit of bringing vegetable(s) with your lunch let me encourage you to start bringing some. Having a serving or two of vegetables with your lunch really helps to fill you up and takes the pressure off having to squeeze in 2-3 servings in the evening. Some of my favorites include: cucumbers, carrots, snow peas and ranch dip, cherry tomatoes, and sliced red, orange, and yellow peppers.
Step #3 – Choose an entree.
…preferably one with protein and whole grains. In general, protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, etc.) and whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) will keep you feeling full much longer than refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta, etc.). Below are some of my lunch favorites: hummus and pita, veggie & bean soup with whole wheat bread, ham, turkey and cheese roll-ups, 1/2 egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread with sliced avocado, and leftovers from last night’s dinner.
Step #4 – Choose a snack (optional).
This part is really optional. If you have already had enough to eat you may not need an extra snack. Personally, I like to throw in a little something extra to have as a late afternoon snack. In general, I try to keep this extra snack between 100-150 calories. Some of my favorite snacks include chocolate pudding cups, vanilla Greek yogurt, popcorn, pretzels, and cookies!