9 Lunch-Packing Tips That Will Establish Healthy Eating Habits

healthy eating habits

Preparing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be a chore. When you put time into planning, you’ll develop healthy eating habits.

9 Lunch-Packing Tips That Will Establish Healthy Eating Habits

1. Prepare Your Lunch the Night Before

Save yourself time in the morning by preparing your lunch in advance. Portion control helps with weight management. Have 3 to 4 healthy lunch options in mind for variety.

Leave a visible note nearby to remind yourself to bring your lunch. Make sure you can see your note on the fridge, coffee maker, bathroom mirror, bedroom door or next to your purse. You can set calendar reminders on your phone.

2. Keep Essential Items at Your Desk

Condiments

Having condiments such as Sriracha and soy sauce at your desk is a great incentive to bring your own lunch. You can be resourceful and add your own desired amounts to your meal. Condiments like hot sauce and soy sauce enhance flavour.

Miscellaneous Items

Keeping a lemon or olive oil near your desk is a good idea. Prepare a batch of whole grains like quinoa and keep it in the office fridge to last you for the week. You will benefit from having something on hand to portion out at work.

It can be hard to know how many condiments are prepared in restaurant meals. Too much butter and oil in prepared meals contributes to weight gain. However, hot sauce improves metabolism due to the spice.

3. Drink Water

Drinking water before a meal helps you feel fuller. You will be less inclined to overeat. Water improves immunity and increases energy. Stay hydrated to boost metabolism and help in digestion. If you drink too much water, you will have to replenish your electrolytes.

Aim to have 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Drink more water to replenish fluids during exercise. Consume water to improve your mood.

4. Stay Focused

Avoid scrolling through your newsfeed during your lunch break. Distractions may led to overeating. Instead, savour every bite and take your time. By slowing down, you can recognize when you are full.

5. Make it Worthwhile

Look forward to your packed lunch by making sure it’s healthy and delicious. Pack a lunch based on your preferences. If you do not like what you packed for lunch, you likely won’t eat it right away. Fiber and protein rich lunch choices will keep you feeling full and reduce cravings.

6. Get your Colleagues Involved

Encourage your colleagues to bring their own lunch to promote healthy choices. There will be less temptation to go out for lunch. Establish a routine by planning meals ahead. You can designate certain days of the week for particular meals.
Create a system to promote sharing or swapping lunches with your coworkers. Even if most people in the office are not on board with idea, having a colleague help you stay on track. You will be motivated to bring your own lunch if you are held accountable.

Incorporate Various Foods

Eat an assortment of foods to receive the most health benefits. You will get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients by consuming an assortment of healthy foods. Consume various foods to help ward off disease and reduce the risk of exposure to toxins or pesticides.

7. Keep Add-Ins in the Fridge and Pantry

Keep cooked meats and roasted vegetables on hand for salads, soups, wraps and sandwiches. Some protein rich options include:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Tuna
  • Salmon

Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a great choice because it is low in calories but it is full of minerals and vitamins. Eat chicken to help control blood pressure. Rich in protein, chicken will keep you feeling full.

Tuna

Eating tuna promotes cell growth. It helps with weight management. Tuna is light in calories and fat but high in protein.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fish contains vitamins and minerals such as potassium and vitamin B. Eating salmon will improve your mood.

Add prepared whole grains such as quinoa and farro to salads, soups and grain bowls. Quinoa and farro are full of fiber and protein. A ¼ cup of dry farro contains more calories, carbohydrates and calcium than the same amount of dry quinoa. Unlike quinoa, farro does not have any fat.

Stock your pantry with other items like vinegars, oils and condiments. In the pantry, you can keep canned fish and other proteins. Nuts and seeds are protein rich choices.

Nuts

Some types of nuts like almonds are rich in protein and fiber. Almonds are healthy because they contain many vitamins. Consume almonds to help with weight loss. Keep a bag of raw almonds in the pantry to portion throughout the week.
Other types of healthy nuts include:

  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts

Pecans are relatively low in calories clocking in just below 200 per serving. These nuts have 3 grams of fiber and more than 19 vitamins and minerals. Pecans are rich in antioxidants.

Pistachios are low in fat and calories. They are full of nutrients. Pistachios promote good heart health, helps manage weight and even lowers mortality rates.

Hazelnuts have 3 grams of fiber and 180 calories for a 1-ounce serving. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals like thiamin, copper, magnesium and vitamin E. Hazelnuts improve cardiac health.

Hemp Seeds

These types of seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to:

  • Healthy hair
  • Clearer skin
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Regulated hormones
  • Improved mood
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Protection for your immune system
  • More energy
  • Quick recovery

Seasonings

Various seasonings such as garlic, turmeric and thyme are popular choices. Some seasonings are great additions because they have polyphenols which is a kind of plant compound. Other types of seasonings help reduce inflammation, which impacts the risk of cardiac disease and cancer. For example, cinnamon contains antioxidants which help lower inflammation and reduce blood glucose levels for diabetics.

You can enjoy the flavours from seasonings without the extra calories. Seasonings add taste to foods and help control weight. You won’t have to add much salt, sugar or fat to your meal if you use seasonings. Reduce your sodium intake to manage blood pressure and prevent heart disease.

Fruits

strawberries in a basketFresh fruit can be chopped or cut for snacks and to add to breakfast options. Incorporate fruit into your diet to improve metabolism and manage weight. Add fruit to smoothies, plain Greek yogurt, whole grain cereal and oatmeal.

Many fruits like guava, raspberries, and persimmon are rich in fiber. Fruits high in fiber aid in digestion and lower blood cholesterol levels. Eat fiber rich fruits to prevent the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Papaya, strawberries and pineapple are rich in vitamin C. Fruits high in vitamin C reduce inflammation and provide energy. Consume vitamin C rich fruits to boost immunity and extend your life.

Be creative and make your own unique combinations for lunch. By making large batches, you will have multiple servings for the week. You will be aware of the exact ingredients in your prepared meal.

8. Buy Proper Containers and Equipment

You will be more likely to bring a lunch if it looks presentable and keeps well. Use mason jars for salads. You can easily toss your mason jar salad by shaking it just before your lunch for optimal freshness.

Tupperware is a great way to preserve your food. You can reuse tupperware as opposed to saran wrap, aluminum foil and brown paper lunch bags. Tupperware is a better choice for the environment.

9. Pack your Leftovers

turkey fillets with vegetablesIf you make too much for dinner, you can always keep the rest for lunch. By packing up your leftover dinner, you won’t be tempted to overeat. Put your leftovers in the fridge right away to keep them fresh.

If you bring a healthy lunch, you will be satisfied. These healthy habits will help you meet your weight loss goals and make you feel better about your choices. Over time, you will save yourself time, money and extra calories.

Samantha Merz

Samantha lives in Vancouver, BC. Samantha is an avid volunteer in the community, enjoys singing and playing badminton.

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