March 8, 2019
By: Danny Osias, Fitness Center Assistant Director
The average lunch costs around $10 a day – that’s about $200 a month if you buy lunch every day during a 5-day work week. The “easy” options that are available today usually include fast food, pre-packaged sandwiches and/or processed salads that tend to be high in fat, salt, sugar and chemicals. These convenient options rarely meet all of your nutrient requirements and often leave you feeling hungry. By packing your own lunch, you can cut costs by more than 50%. In honor of National Pack Your Lunch Day, which is March 10, keep reading to learn how to pack a healthy lunch.
Lunch is an opportunity to refuel your brain and body with everything it needs to keep your day going.
One of the simplest ways to refuel is to stick to quality, whole-food ingredients. Always include a protein, a complex carbohydrate, a healthy fat, and fruits/vegetables in your lunch.
- Proteins help keep you satisfied longer, so they are very important to incorporate. Healthy protein options include lean meats such as chicken breast, salmon and ground turkey.
- Vegetarian options include hard-boiled egg, beans, tofu or nuts.
- Carbohydrates that have dietary fiber will provide a steady supply of energy and keep you feeling full for hours. Some options include whole-grain breads, sweet potatoes, quinoa, pasta and brown rice.
- Healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are needed to help the body synthesize vitamins like Vitamin D and support the regulation of hormones. Healthy choices include walnuts, olives, avocados, fish and seeds.
- Lastly, fruits and vegetables (which are vital for the immune system) along with minerals and vitamins must always be included.
A simple way for you to pack all this into your lunch is by making a homemade quinoa bowl! It takes minimal cooking and preparation. Just mix in some steamed quinoa and lean chicken. Add sliced eggs on top of some fresh romaine lettuce or arugula, and top it off with some tomatoes and an olive oil based dressing. You can also add some avocado slices for extra calories, if needed. This can be eaten anywhere, anytime in some Tupperware or glassware!