Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Packing Lunch in 6 Easy Steps!

You survived back-to-school or back to work time. Either way, bringing your lunch to school or work takes some . . . well work. But this planning can provide economical and health benefits. Here are some tips for making packing healthy lunches easy.

Stock your pantry and refrigerator
Keep your favorite food stocked in your home. Here are some examples to add to your favorite lunchtime staples.

·      Lean protein (tuna fish, peanut butter, nuts, and lean, low sodium lunch meats)
o   Add protein and a savory component to your meal.

·      Whole grains:  whole grain breads, tortillas, crackers, or rice
o   Add fiber and B vitamins.

·      Diary: low fat cheese, yogurt, and milk
o   Help you meet your vitamin D and calcium needs.

·      Fruit: fresh, frozen, pre-portioned, canned (in it’s own juice)
o   Add color, micronutrients like folic acid and vitamin C, fiber, and can help satisfy a sweet tooth.

·      Vegetables: bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber,
o   Add color, micronutrients, fiber, and crunch.

Keep it Simple

Pack a variety of food groups by following these six steps to help you build a balanced meal:

1) Choose a grain
2) Add a source of protein
3) Add a dairy
4) Choose a fruit 
5) Add a veggie 
6) Add a healthy fat

The goal is to include as many food groups as possible. This will help you build a better plate by add a variety of flavors and nutrients to your diet.

If time and energy are willing, make it fun! Try containers with multiple compartments and make your own Lunchables. Cut sandwiches into fun shapes. Or, leave a note of encouragement for your child or spouse.

Here are a couple of my real life examples.

From top left: 
1) Grilled garlic pepper chicken, steamed broccoli, crackers, and cheese. (fruit was a snack and is not pictured).
2) Spinach wrap with turkey, hummus, lettuce, and cucumbers. Grapes
3) Light chicken salad on a croissant with tomato and lettuce, cucumber, reduced fat ranch, peaches.
4) Turkey, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and provolone sandwich with fruit salad (pineapples, strawberries, and blueberries)

For more lunch tips and tricks. Follow RDtipoftheday on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Enjoy!

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