Are you stuck in a bad habit of buying your lunch everyday? Or maybe you pack your lunch, but have a hard time with the “healthy” part. Maybe you’re trying to practice new healthy habits and eating well is one of them. Let me give you a few tips on packing a healthy lunch that work for me.
1. Be realistic about how much you’re ACTUALLY going to eat- I used to pack WAY too much food. I would over estimate how much I was going to eat throughout the day and if it was in my lunch box, I would eat it. It didn’t matter if I was hungry or not. So in order to prevent eating out of boredom I just try to think super realistically about the foods I pack. How much food do I really need to keep myself satisfied and not hungry all day? This may take a little bit of experimenting to figure out how much food is enough for you.
2. Pack foods that will keep you full for longer- Almonds and boiled eggs are two favorites of mine that fill me up for a while. High fiber and high protein foods will keep you full for longer. Thus, you’ll eat less throughout the day overall. Look up other foods that can help keep you satisfied, so you’ll eat more of those and less of the junky ones!
3. Try to balance your carbs, proteins and fats between meals and snacks- Although I did say to pack high fiber/high protein foods, its important to try to keep a balance between carbs, fat and protein as well. For example, maybe pack a salad with lots of veggies for your main meal and add grilled chicken for some protein, a small side of whole grain pasta salad for carbs (you can eat this as a snack), celery with peanut butter for fat and a veggie, almonds for protein and fat, whole grain crackers for carbs, and an apple for a fruit serving. Try to keep your food as relatively balanced as best you can. This will keep your energy levels up and keep you full for longer.
4. Don’t pack a HUGE meal for lunch- pack a light main meal and a lot of snacks. If you bring something heavy and only eat that one meal your whole day at work, you’ll probably crash and find yourself wanting to take a nap in the afternoon since your body is spending so much energy digesting your big meal. Instead, pack lots of snacks and a lighter main course so you can keep your energy levels more stable throughout the day.
5. Portion appropriately- READ NUTRITION LABELS. These labels will tell you what makes up one serving and how many calories/macronutrients are in that one serving. For example, one serving of almonds is MUCH smaller than you think. One small handful or 23 nuts is the average portion size for one serving of almonds and equals about 160 calories. Calories add up, so making sure you’re portioning according to the nutrition labels will help you avoid eating too many calories, thus, prevent weight gain.
I hope this helps!