It’s August already. How in the heck did that happen? While many of us are trying to squeeze the last precious moments out of summer, others are already dreading that ritual of packing a lunch. Eating healthy should be everyone’s priority. But the flesh is weak, especially around foods we ought to limit eating. If you think this is a post about packing a child’s lunch, you’re only half right. Many adults also pack a lunch. Sadly, 50% of American adults skip lunch altogether. They opt to snack, instead. In fact, 44% confess to having a snack-drawer at work. And snacking usually leads to unhealthy habits, difficulty maintaining or losing weight, exhaustion, even premature aging. For those young and old, who live with a Chronic illness, fast-food and snacking can make managing your disease much harder. Who needs that? So, let’s talk healthy lunches that are easy to make and delicious too!
Starting with the kids … if you feel your child’s school offers healthy choices, then the cafeteria may not be a bad idea. But before you make any assumptions, remember that you know your child best. You know what he or she will eat. You know what temptations they easily fall for. And you probably have a general idea of the school’s menu. Now, ask yourself a couple of questions: Are there healthy options for my child? Will he/she make those choices? If you respond emphatically with a “No!” to either question, it’s probably best to pack a lunch from home. It’s also important that your child understands why you are doing it. Think of this as a life lesson that will help them for years to come.
Some great lunchbox choices for kids are:
- Fresh or Dried Fruit
- Crunchy Veggies
- A Meat or protein food, i.e. sliced meat, a chicken-leg, hard-boiled egg, etc.
- Remember dairy, i.e. cheese, yogurt and milk.
- A starchy food like, i.e. bread, roll, pita, fruit breads, or crackers.
- A bottle of water is always appreciated.
If you are packing a lunch for yourself or your spouse/partner consider these:
- The cold cut sandwich that always hits the spot.
- Your favorite salad (Like kids we benefit from fruit & veggies).
- A quesadilla.
- Maybe, a rice bowl.
- Hummus with a few pita chips.
- Cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
- Some rotisserie chicken and vegetables.
- Soup (Remember that canned is high in sodium).
- A bottle water works for you, too.
I know. I know. It sounds hard. You’ve already got a zillion things to do. But if you just think about it, packing these lunches can get a lot easier. For example, left-overs can easily be used in a lunch. Recruiting the kids to help you “shop” for ideas is teaching them and encouraging good choices. And a well-stocked pantry takes a lot of frustration and time out of packing. If the healthy side of it doesn’t appeal to your spouse/partner, try the more practical angle. How much do you spend on lunch at a restaurant? Now, multiply that amount by five days a week. Then, 52 weeks in the year. Wow! It adds up. Packed lunches are less expensive and that savings can be used for other things. In other words, you can eat healthier and have a reward for doing it! Now, that’s what I call living well!
*Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash