POPSUGAR FitnessSource: Brown-Bag Basics: 10 Lessons For a Healthy Lunch
Enjoying a quality lunch is one of the best ways to stay satisfied throughout the day, especially if you pack it yourself. It also saves time, money, and calories. Get a head start on Fall with this refresher on lunch lessons!
- Rethink Your Favorites: Checking out nutritional labels will help you get a whole new perspective of what constitutes a healthy food choice. Learning the tricks behind misleading food labels and the best and worst foods to pack will give you the insight to create a healthier lunch today.
- Love Your Leftovers: For a healthy and budget-friendly meal plan during the week, packing leftovers is a great option. Having something delicious waiting in the fridge feels like a treat, but bringing something you're not excited about can be the worst. If you're not trying to slave over the stove twice in one night, consider one of these recipes that make a great dinner, but are even better for lunch the next day.
- Stay Satisfied: Being conscious of portion control will help keep lunch light, but if you don't think lunch choices through you may be starving and ready for a second course - or unhealthy snack! Adding a salad or supplementing what you bring are easy ways to keep things on the right track.
- Keep It Quick: No need to spend all your free time hanging in the kitchen! Having healthy pantry staples on hand will help alleviate the stress of figuring out what to pack or pick up. If you're short on time, doubling up on cooking grains or protein is a time-saving tip that will make packing a lunch the next day a breeze.
- Cut Out Calories: A sandwich is a classic lunch choice, but picking something up from the local deli or creating a big meat-laden monster isn't the best way to go. Quick substitutions - like turkey for ham - can help cut sandwich calories without sacrificing the flavor factor and giving up thick bread for a healthy wrap option will also lighten things up.
- Pack It Safely: With so much attention on what to pack for lunch, it's easy to not think about the healthiest ways to store it. Choosing one of these cute BPA-free storage containers will help your lunch stay healthy and steer clear of the potential health risks.
- Sneak in Veggies: Amping up your veggie intake during lunch doesn't have to be a struggle. There are plenty of easy ways to sneak vegetables into lunch. Putting them in a favorite sauce recipe or layering them on a sandwich are easy ways to go.
- Make a Move: With such busy schedules, leaving the office may feel like just another task. But taking the intiative to leave your desk for lunch helps keep you active and gives the brain a break. Giving yourself this time will have you back in the afternoon feeling refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way!
- Help Your Belly: Certain foods like beans and dairy are known for wreaking havoc on the digestive system. Save yourself from uncomfortable belly bloat, or even worse, the embarrassment that comes from bad gas! Wise up about foods that are hard to digest and plan your lunch menu accordingly.
- Go Big: Portion control is always necessary, but research suggests making lunch your largest meal of the day can aid in weight loss. Consuming more calories midday, rather than at dinner, ensures that you have time to burn all the calories. Also, when you eat lunch later in the day, you're less likely to reach for a huge dinner or unhealthy snacks.