Lunch can be one of the hardest meals to eat healthfully since it’s often eaten outside the home. There are many temping fast-food options that are mostly empty calories. The solution is to pack your own lunch – but don’t forget to make it interesting. Packing the same thing every day can make it easy to stray from your lunch and eat something unhealthy instead. When you pack your own lunch you have control over what goes in it and how it’s prepared. You also control the portion sizes and the balance of your lunch.
Tips for portioning lunches:
- Half of your lunch should be fruits and veggies. Potato chips don’t count as a vegetable.
- It’s easier to see the portions of different foods when they are separate.
- If you are eating a casserole or single dish like soup, try to visualize the different foods in their respective amounts to keep your lunch balanced.
- If a food comes in a multi-serving package, only take what you need with you. You’re more likely to end up eating more if you can’t clearly see portions.
- Exclude highly processed foods such as hotdogs, white bread and fried food from your plate; they take up space and calories you could fill with nutritious foods.
- If you have a sandwich or burger, take a look at your bread or bun to make sure that it’s not taking up most of your plate.
If you’re stumped for what to make for lunch try this one:
Portioned southwestern lunch
- Black beans, about half a cup
- 4 tablespoons fresh salsa
- 1/2 an avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1 ounce blue corn tortilla chips, which is about 12 large chips
- 1/2 a mango, sliced
Pack up all your ingredients in containers or a bento box. You can even pack it the night before so it’s easier to grab-and-go for a busy morning.
Eat your lunch at a table, not a desk, if you have the option. Be present while you eat, enjoy the flavors and listen to your body. If there is still food left on your plate but you’re not hungry, don’t eat the rest of the food – use the leftovers for another meal.