Message from the RDs: Packing Lunch 101 by Mark LeVine

2016-08-31

As your kids head back to school and you get back into the routine of making them lunches each day, why not consider the many benefits and options of making and bringing your own lunch to work?

Maybe you have already contemplated doing so, or even have tried. What generally happens, though, is you start your week with the best intentions, but by the end of the week you succumb to all your responsibilities and making your lunch is a distant memory. Well, with some simple planning and easy strategies, you can reap the benefits of bringing your lunch to work each day!

Buy yourself an “adult lunchbox” and proper food storage containers.

If you are constantly looking for random plastic containers and lids, you probably won’t want to use them for your lunch. Invest in a good quality plastic, glass or even metal container that has divided sections for each component of your meal.

Utilize leftovers.

Last night’s dinner works as a great lunch and takes little to no prep time. When making dinner, plan on doubling the portion, then pack your lunch right then and there. Pop it in the fridge and in the morning you are good to go!

Keep easily accessible go-to foods at work.

Whether its keeping nuts and fruit at your desk or Greek yogurt and hard-boiled eggs in the office fridge, having foods on hand that you can have as a snack or with your lunch will make bringing your lunch that much more convenient.

Form a “lunch club” with your co-workers.

Try encouraging your colleagues to bring their lunch as well. You can share ideas, recipes, or even food. Make an event out of it and you can all support each other in the effort to creating healthier lunchtime habits.

Designate one day a week to eat out.

Choose one day each week where you go out for lunch. Come up with a short list of restaurants that you know the menu and that serves healthier fare so you don’t sabotage your week.

Leave yourself a note!

It’s a horrible feeling when you are halfway to work and then realize you forgot your delicious lunch that you packed! Remind yourself by putting a note on the bathroom mirror, the coffee maker, or the refrigerator. You can even set a reminder or alarm on your phone. Do whatever what it takes!

Conclusion

You may not realize it, but very few sandwich shops and restaurants have healthy options. When we eat out, we are generally served larger portions that are higher in calories, fat, and sodium that can derail our health and nutrition goals. On the other hand, when you prepare your own lunch you know exactly what is going into your food, and that alone can make all the difference!!