Learn how to love your lunch! Packing well guarantees good food not only nutritious, but also energy-boosting and enjoyable. How to pack? How much? What do I need? What food? When?
Here, I’ll break it all down for you in three steps.
- Learning Portions: ChooseMyPlate
People learn best with visual aids. Above is an example of what a typical meal should look like, created by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Some meals might contain more protein than others. Others may contain more fruit than vegetables. That’s okay! What is important is to make sure we try to create balanced meals throughout the day. Research has proved that eating a variety of foods of different temperature and color creates a balanced palate. For more on the different types of food groups and the amount of each food group need a day, check out one of my recent blogs on this: Overview of Food Groups & Classifications.
When we design our lunch, we should refer to this for a good variety and balance in our lunch. Often times, several foods contain both grains or protein. For example, a sandwich can contain both protein, grains, and vegetables.
Eating a little dessert during lunch is okay! Just make sure that your portion size is not too much. A piece of chocolate or a piece of candy is easy to stash in a lunchbox.
2. Choosing Foods
Now that we have the ChooseMyPlate example, we can begin to choose what we would like to pack. Below are examples of each good group that are easy to pack and that you may have around the house.
* Check serving sizes on container for amount to pack
- Whole grain or pita chips*
- Fig bars
- Lunch meat like ham and turkey (can be put in sandwich)
- Nut mixes (like trail mix)
- Humus (often eaten with vegetables or chips)
- 1/2 Pineapple
- Salad (often times contains vareity of food groups)
- Sliced Cucumber
- Yogurt (See Simply 100 Chobani)
- Cheese (sliced or put into sandwich)
3. Packing Food
Once you have looked in your fridge or took a visit to the grocery store, it is now time to start packing and portion sizing.
For processed foods, the serving size is often put on the back of the container. This is the quantity manufacturers put to eat. To maintain a healthy lunch, it is best to follow these portion sizes to avoid overeating a food group.
For homeade meals, consider purchasing a few food containers. They are found at grocery stores and stores like Target, Walmart, etc.
Here are some recommened food containers:
- Pack meals ahead of time! Try making lunch for the week on the weekends. Prepare lunch before going to bed.
- Processed foods are okay to eat! Processed potatos chips and cookies contain high sodium (lots of salt), sugar, simple carbohydrates, and lack protein to keep good energy. This means just be mindful of what you buy. Below are some of my favorite, already packed things:
Congratulations! You, just by clicking this blog, want to already eat healthier or be inspired to begin packing lunch.
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Much love + happy packing!
Photo Credits: blog.vickybarone.com