The best lunch you can make is the one you will enjoy eating. It’s important to find nutritious foods that will energize you for the afternoon. Some foods high in refined carbohydrates can actually slow you down and make you feel tired. Here are five tips that help lay the foundation for healthy lunch preparation. Let’s be honest, it’s difficult to stay motivated when it comes to packing a lunch or preparing one at home.
- Be sure your lunch has protein and fiber. Lean protein and fiber help you stay full and satisfied. The best source of fiber comes from fruit and vegetables, which are also loaded with nutrients that slow digestion. An example of a protein and fiber based lunch would be slices of deli meat with cheese on sprouted grain bread, cucumber and hummus with a side of fresh berries.
- Add a healthy side. The usual sides for lunch are typically chips, pretzels or crackers. We all love a good crunchy texture with a sandwich or salad but consider trading the processed carbs for nuts, seeds, apple slices, cucumber, pepper slices or even a few pieces of cheese.
- Focus on the healthy foods you and your family enjoy. Consider making a list of the fruit and veggies you like eating. This will make shopping for those items easier, so you can establish a consistent routine of healthy eating at lunch.
- Make your meal colorful. Everyone is attracted to bright colors especially children. A variety of fruit or a colorful mix of roasted veggies can be made in advance easing the burden of meal preparation.
- Leftovers make for an easy lunch. Try making more grilled chicken, an extra hamburger or more pork chops at an evening meal, saving the leftovers for lunch. If you can prepare extra vegetables and lean meat twice a week it will provide plenty of healthy options for lunch throughout the week.