Let’s face it. The workweek is hectic and packing a healthy lunch every day is probably not high on your to-do list. That is why an astounding 70% of the workforce find themselves relying on restaurant food and vending machines to get through the day. Unfortunately, this midday outing is wreaking havoc on our bank accounts and our waistlines. Don’t fall victim to the fast food cycle. Packing a healthy lunch and snack requires just a little planning. And if you just can’t pack a lunch, you can make better choices when dining out. With just a little bit of planning you can create a great tasting, healthy lunch that will have your co-workers seeing the brown bag lunch in a whole new light.
- Make a plan. The weekend is a great time to plan your lunch menu for the week. A few hours shopping, cooking, and packing will ensure easy grab and go meals all week long.
- Don’t forget snacks. Fresh fruit is an easy addition to the brown bag. Veggies can be chopped on the weekend and put in grab and go containers. The key is making it as easy to grab healthy snacks as it is to hit the vending machine. Consider starting an office fruit bowl, where your co-workers can sign up to bring in fresh fruit each week.
- Keep a stash. You should always have protein bars, nuts, protein shakes in case of emergency. Use a desk drawer to store nonperishable items. Then, should temptation strike, healthy options will be at your fingertips.
- Pack at night. Assemble your lunch the night before so all you have to do in the morning is grab and go. This takes the stress out of having to make lunch during the morning rush.
- Break the chains. If you find yourself without lunch, don’t hit the nearest fast food chain. Instead, find a local grocery with a salad bar. Just steer clear of the dressing, croutons, and creamy salads full of unwanted calories and fat.
- Don’t forget the protein. A brown bag lunch won’t help you if you’re hungry before 3 PM. Make sure your lunch includes a protein to help keep you satisfied and help prevent the afternoon munchies. Consider tofu, nuts, nut butters, and lean meats, such as turkey, fish, or chicken.
- Stay hydrated. It is easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If you aren’t drinking at least 64 oz of water a day, chances are you’re dehydrated. Keep a water bottle at your desk and try to drink at least 8 oz every hour.
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This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be an exhaustive examination of the subject matter nor a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise program.