5 easy ways to pack a healthy lunch
Packing a lunch for work every day can get tiring. The planning. The prepping. Sometimes the same thing every day.
Here are some healthy options and strategies that might help.
1. Try some veggie strips, such as carrots or celery, and peanut butter for dip. This combines a healthy vegetable and something fun to eat it with. You also can bring sliced apples or strawberries with peanut butter or yogurt. Dana Artinyan, a dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, also suggests sunflower seed butter.
“Sunflower seed butter is a great allergen-free alternative to peanut butter,” she says. “Or try hummus, guacamole or a Greek yogurt ranch dip (mix ranch seasoning into plain Greek yogurt) with vegetables such as cucumber, baby carrots or bell peppers.”
2. Get a thermal container to carry hot or cold soups. This is a great alternative to a sandwich.
3. If you decide to go the sandwich route, always check the ingredient list on your bread.
“The best options will list ‘whole’ as the first word in the ingredient list,” Artinyan explains. “For example, ‘whole wheat’ or ‘whole grain.'”
For a fun sandwich idea, try a classic grilled cheese with tomato for an added vegetable bonus.
4. If you want to switch up your meals, try breakfast for lunch. Artinyan finds bringing two small pancakes, yogurt for dipping, fruit such as berries and a hard-boiled egg to be a great alternative to a sandwich.
5. Pizzas with naan or pita, tomato sauce, shredded cheese and toppings such as chopped chicken and bell peppers is another great option.
Some of the same tips go for sending kids of to school. Artinyan says it can all be as simple as the presentation.
“Use a bento-style lunch box to give kids more options and allow them to pick and choose what they’d like to eat,” she says.
She also recommends to try “color-coordinated lunches; for example, a ‘yellow’ lunch with cheddar cheese cubes, a hard-boiled egg, yellow bell peppers and pineapple or banana. Include foods that you know your child likes along with 1-2 new items.”
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