Pack A Healthy Lunch

Packing a healthy lunch includes the 4 P’s of good nutrition: purchasing, preparation, portions, and planning.  You need to have the correct types of foods on hand in your refrigerator and pantry, prepare them in a low-fat, low-calorie manner, select reasonably sized portions and plan a healthy menu mix.  Pack your lunch the night before and make sure it includes at least 4 out of the 5 key food groups (grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy).  Use the following list of lunch suggestions to help improve the nutrition of your brown bag contents. 

Sandwiches breads:             

  • Omega 3, fiber rich tortillas
  • Whole grain English muffins or bagels
  • Whole grain pita
  • Whole grain bread or flat breads (Arnold’s or Flatout)

 Sandwich fillings: 

  • Store or home roasted lunch meats tend to be less processed than packaged deli meats.  Try thinly slicing chicken, sirloin, pork tenderloin or ham
  • Lean cold cuts
  • Homemade Turkey meatloaf
  • Stir fried beef or chicken strips with peppers, onions, salsa & fresh cilantro
  • Cold Teriyaki or Italian Chicken breast
  • BLT
  • Water packed tuna
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Peanut Butter & banana, PB & honey
  • Cheese & tomato
  • Tomato, avocado, bacon
  • Humus based chicken or turkey salad Sandwich

 Sides: 

  • Precut celery, baby carrots, cucumber, pepper strips, cherry or grape tomatoes with humus dip
  • V8 vegetable juice blends
  • Grapes, Clementine’s, peaches, pears, melon, apple slices, berries, banana
  • Nuts
  • Trail Mix
  • Dried Fruit
  • Granola
  • Baked tortilla chips & salsa
  • Cheese cubes or sticks (not a fan of packaging)
  • Cliff, Bumblebee or Luna bars
  • 95% Fat Free Popcorn

 

Sides Continued: 

  • Cliff, Bumblebee or Luna bars
  • 95% Fat Free Popcorn

 Sandwich Alternatives: 

  • Homemade fruited muffin & cottage cheese
  • Black bean, brown rice & salsa topped with cheddar cheese
  • Homemade chili, stew or soup
  • Salad with balsamic vinaigrette
  • Cold cereal or packets of Oatmeal
  • Pre made brushetta toppings stored separate from crusty bread
  • Healthy choice soup
  • Chilled black bean & chicken quesadilla
  • Chilled cheese pizza
  • Cold pasta salad: 8 oz pasta, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, olive oil, fresh basil, garlic, olives, pine nuts, salt & pepper to taste or 8 oz pasta, sliced sausage, sliced peppers, onion, fresh oregano, salt & pepper to taste or rotini, pepperoni, broccoli, green pepper, broccoli, olives, mushrooms & Italian salad dressing or kidney beans, tomatoes, cider vinegar, olive oil, chopped green pepper, corn, brown rice mixed with yogurt, dash of lemon juice & paprika or quinoa, diced potatoes, onions, garlic, asparagus, chopped nuts, garlic, olive oil and salt to taste.
  • Start in the deli section, write down the ingredients of salads & deli combinations that look appetizing and then purchase the raw ingredients to make them at home. 

 Beverages: 

  • Smoothies, Fortified 100% juices, water, low-fat milk, V8 vegetable juice blends, tea

 

Since most people do not consume enough calcium, I do encourage you to consciously include 1 good calcium source at lunch such as low-fat yogurt, calcium fortified 100% orange juice, low-fat sliced cheese, cottage cheese or milk, cheese pizza, spinach, salmon, smoothie or cereal.  Some of these items can be frozen so that they are more portable and food safe by lunch time such as the yogurt, smoothie & orange juice.  They can also act as an ice pack.

If you are headed out to lunch this week, check out my previous post “Out to Lunch”.



Categories: Nutrition & Wellness

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