A healthy meal is the basis for good nutrition and living a healthy life. The saying “you are what you eat” isn’t just a bunch of words your grandmother liked to say; they should be taken quite literally. What you put in your body determines how well it functions and can prevent the development of a multitude of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Every meal you prepare for yourself should be focused on providing your body the adequate amount of nutrients while avoiding useless calories. When you pack your lunch box for the day, try and focus on low calorie, high nutrient choices.
Make veggies the main
When it comes to eating healthy, it’s important to understand that veggies are absolutely your best friend. They tend to be low in calorie, high in nutrition, and extremely versatile. You should try to sneak some veggies into every one of your meals, and especially your lunches. While you do not have to eat gigantic vegetarian dishes, even adding a few vegetables on the side, or including a few in the dish can go a long way to raising the nutritional value of your meal. Just keeping this idea in mind is all you need to make a healthy lunch box.
Take the classic lunch time sandwich for example. You can easily add some greens and tomatoes to your sandwich to make sure you’re getting an adequate dose of vitamin D, vitamin C, lycopene, and other choice nutrients. You can even include a few pickled vegetables on the side that you can munch on throughout the day. Including vegetables in your lunchbox not only makes it healthier, it also makes it more interesting, as vegetables tend to add color and texture to a meal that you can’t find in other foods.
Inculcate the habit of healthy snacking
While you have been taught to try and section your eating into three square meals a day, the reality tends to be very different. It’s hard to get through the day without munching on something. Unfortunately, the majority of snack food seems to be mostly carbs and empty calories, such as potato chips and sweets. They’re great for giving you a quick boost, but ultimately make you feel sluggish and ruin your nutritional intake. But there are other great healthy snack options that you can consume to help satisfy your snack cravings and keep you healthy at the same time, like nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Fruit is a great source of vitamins, dietary fiber, and hydration. You can pack the fresh or dried fruit variety, and snack to your heart’s content. They also contain a large amount of natural glucose which can give you quick energy if necessary. A single apple has been proven more effective at waking you up than a cup of coffee.
Veggies are another great snack food because they barely have any calories and you can always make use of their nutrients. They also contain some of the rarer vitamins and minerals like vitamin K or potassium. If you eat them raw, you have the added benefit of a crunch factor which is something many people look forward to experiencing when eating chips.
Nuts are crunchy little nuggets of amazingness; they have lots of dietary fiber, healthy fats and protein, which makes them all around the perfect snack food. The only thing you have to watch out for is overindulging on them. It’s easy to underestimate the caloric content of a handful of nuts. Just take your time consuming them and wait a minute to feel appropriately satiated.
Invest in a food container that will keep every meal warm and fresh
No matter what you’re thinking of packing for your healthy lunch, you’re going to want to invest in a great lunch box. All lunch boxes aren’t made equally, and the quality of your lunch box can greatly affect the type of healthy meals that you can pack. A good lunch box should be insulated and designed to properly contain all of your meal while also being as compact as possible. It seems like a lot to ask for from a simple lunch box, but there are lots of good options available. All you have to do is understand what you’re looking for and you will be ready to start packing healthy lunches in no time.
Some features that define a great lunch box are as follows:
An insulated lunch box helps to keep your food at the proper temperature, whether it’s cold, lukewarm, or hot. When utilized properly, your meal will be at the exact same temperature as you packed it – amazing right? You want to make sure that the insulated container is easy to heat up or cool, meaning it can fit in your refrigerator, ice box, or oven easily. If you adjust it to the proper temperature you want to store your food at before placing your food inside, it will maintain the proper temperature for hours.
2.Stainless Steel Lunchboxes are the Best
Lunchboxes come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, which can make picking the right one difficult. But as a general rule of thumb, you want to always go with a stainless-steel lunch box. They tend to be more durable and more prone to staying insulated. They also keep your food clean of unwanted germs and particles. Plastic lunch boxes tend to be porous which makes them prone to supporting germs and bacteria. They’re also notoriously hard to sanitize, and fickle about handling extreme temperatures.
You want to make sure that you’re buying the type of lunch box that will last, because repeatedly buying new lunch boxes is a waste of money. Even though your lunch box may be made of stainless steel, it can still be bent or dented if it’s not designed to be sturdy. Before you settle on a lunch box, give it a little bit of a stress test to make sure that it can hold up to your lifestyle.
A lunch box can be as simple as a sealable space that can hold a sandwich. That’s not enough for most people though. You don’t want your wonderful salad to touch your crispy sandwich and turn it soggy do you? Find a lunch box that gives you the option to pack soups and other liquids. Also, make sure that it has a variety of different compartments, preferably, the adjustable kind so that you can make sure it perfectly contains your meals.
Any insulated lunch box should have a perfect seal as its needed for insulation. That being said, not all insulated lunch boxes have a perfect seal. Make sure they have an O-ring to ensure the seal is working properly.
Sneak in a healthy dessert
A healthy lunch doesn’t need to be all fruits and vegetables; you’re allowed to have a little fun with your meals; that’s what desserts were made for after all. Desserts don’t have to be unhealthy just to be delicious. You can easily find some healthy dessert options that will make it so you can have something sweet and wonderful for lunch while also not ruining your healthy lunch. Here are some healthy dessert options to include in your list of healthy lunch recipes and try making for yourself:
1.Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
That’s right, you can eat cookies for dessert and still tell people that you’re eating a healthy meal. These cookies are whole-grain, vegan, and have a lower content of sugar and fat than traditional chocolate chip cookie options.
2.Superfood Chocolate Bar
There’s nothing to be said about the power of a good chocolate bar for improving your day. This superfood chocolate bar is made with 70% dark chocolate and a plethora of superfoods like, chia seeds and goji berries. You can customize it to include your favorite superfoods so that it tastes exactly the way you want it to.
While it’s not your typical dessert, like cookies and chocolate, it is sweet and tasty nonetheless. You just need to pick your favorite yogurt, and layer it with nuts, seeds, and honey, and you will have a wonderful dessert to enjoy at any time.
Bulk up on proteins while sticking to S’s (soups, sandwiches, salads, and stew)
No healthy lunch is complete without a little bit of protein. Protein is an essential nutrient for the body to function. Some people with meat restricted diets, like vegetarians and vegans risk suffering from a protein deficiency. But there’s an easy way to make sure you’re including protein in your diet other than consuming high protein snacks. Just remember to always include one of the four S’s: soups, sandwiches salads, and stew.
There’s lots of good hot soup options to choose from. There are even a few cold soup options out there, and most of them have some type of protein. Soups like chicken soup have lots of easy to access protein, but if meat is not your thing you should replace the chicken with lentils or legumes.
Most sandwiches have some type of protein, like beef, chicken, tuna, turkey, etc. as the centerpiece combined with a variety of different vegetables. Sandwiches make for great homemade lunch dishes because they’re compact, easy to make, and extremely versatile. Just make sure you’re using some type of whole grain bread to ensure that your sandwich is optimizing its healthiness.
Most people’s idea of a salad is a dish full of greens and vegetables. But you can get protein even in a salad. Try eating a cobb salad which features eggs, chicken, and bacon for maximum protein benefits. You can even include tuna, mushrooms, nuts, and seeds on your salad as other protein alternatives. Salads are fun and great dishes to get creative. You can’t go wrong with a salad, so you should make it to suit your taste, and use it as a vehicle to include protein in your diet.
Stews like clam chowder jambalaya, gumbo, or fish stew are also great ways to pack in the protein. Stews are typically slow cooked with lots of legumes and lentils as well, which makes them powerful sources of protein. You can even make a good tofu or mushroom based stew as a non-meat alternative. There are plenty of options available out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Fill your fridge and food jars with fruits
If you want to make sure you’re packing healthy lunches then you need to stock up on healthy food options. It is important to keep low calorie snacks and other foods on hand at all times so that you make it a permanent part of your life. A great way to do this is to always make sure that you have fruits on hand. You can store dried fruits in jars or fresh fruits in the fridge. That way, you will always have healthy snacks on hand when you feel the need to snack on something. You will also have the perfect ingredients to fill out your lunch box in a pinch. Eventually, you won’t have to think about making complex meals and will just be able to throw a healthy lunch together on the spot.
5 A Day is the way to go!
Keeping fresh fruit on hand will also make it easier to stick to the 5 A Day plan recommended by many nations. Basically, the WHO recommends everyone should consume at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day. Studies have shown that doing so will increase one’s lifespan and increase immunity. When you’re thinking of making healthy lunch recipes, keep the 5 A Day method in mind and your lunches will begin to get healthier and healthier.