The idea of living a healthy lifestyle sounds great. The key word there is “idea.” The truth is, making healthy choices requires an investment of time and resources, which often seems impossible amidst all of the things you have on your plate. But don’t worry, we have your backs. We’ve rounded up our top tips for packing a filling lunch that will make you feel healthier, stronger, and more energized. Oh, and it will save you some serious cash on going out for lunch.
Plan Your Lunches On Sundays
Meal planning can be tricky, especially when your schedule changes throughout the week. However, your midday routine is a great step into meal planning because your lunch plans are likely pretty consistent. When you are planning out your week–I do it on Sundays–take the time to plan out your lunches. This way, you can run to the grocery store or farmer’s market if you need to grab any last minute items. Now you won’t be stressing that you don’t have what you need to make healthy choices during the week!
Pro tip: if you are going to the grocery store or farmer’s market on the weekend, the earlier in the day the better. You’re busy. You don’t need to be stuck in food shopping traffic.
Make Your Meal Well-Rounded
You have a lot to accomplish in a day so you need your lunch to pack a punch. Make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. Your lunch should have a protein, a carb, a fruit and/or vegetable, and if possible, a fat. This probably sounds like a lot for one meal, but remember to practice portion control. Your protein doesn’t have to be an entire 16oz steak. It can be a small amount of almonds or some crab meat on your salad. They key is checking off all of the nutrients that will help you power through your day.
When You Can, Choose Organic
Ask anyone who eats mostly organic and they’ll tell you that nine times out of ten, organic food, especially produce, tastes much better than it’s processed cousins and it makes you feel more satisfied after your meal. While organic food can sometimes come at a higher cost, you can often find options equitable to processed foods, especially when shopping at farmer’s markets. Choosing organic food may leave you feeling more energized and fuller. Plus, it’s much healthier.
Pro tip: There is a difference between “natural” and “organic.” The use of the word “natural” on products is not regulated by the government, while “organic” is. Keep that in mind when purchasing.
Prep, Prep, Prep!
When you are planning out your meals, see what you can prep ahead of time. If you are planning on having some cut up peppers with hummus, put the peppers in a baggy and the hummus in a small container at the beginning of the week. That way, you can grab and go.
Pack Your Lunch At Night
Unless you are one of those morning superwomen, chances are, your best bet to sticking to packing healthy lunches is packing it the night before. If all you have to do in the morning is grab it out of your refrigerator and go, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll stick with this new habit.
Invest In Container Options
One of the easiest ways to get out of sync packing lunch is when you simply don’t have the necessary items to package your food. Invest in a small selection of containers that range in size (and if possible, are not drenched in threatening chemicals). And in case you ever have left overs that you want to heat up for lunch, make sure your containers are microwave safe. Try to have lunch containers that are not disposable because that’s one more thing you have to remember to repurchase.
Eat A Big Lunch
Lots of nutritionists right now are saying that having a larger lunch and a smaller dinner leads to better sleep and a healthier lifestyle. But let’s think about this logically. Your breakfast powers you through your morning. Your lunch powers you through your afternoon and evening. How much of your day is your dinner powering you through? That answer is different for everyone, so make your own choices accordingly.
Creating a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy, but even by changing your habits for one meal will up your confidence in terms of living a wellness focused life. Just invest in this practice for one week and see the difference it has for you, physically and mentally.