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Life in Motion

Nutritious Ways to Brown Bag Your Lunch

Health & Prevention

Have you considered bringing your lunch to work or school? Purchasing your lunch can encourage poor food choices like eating unhealthy fast-food. When eating out you are often given larger portion sizes with unhealthy sides such as chips or French fries. However, when you brown bag your lunch you can have more control over your meal. You can choose healthier ingredients and have influence over your portions. Not sure what to pack? Here are a few tips on what to bring for a nutritious meal.

Pack items from each food group
An ideal lunch can include a serving of fruit, vegetable, protein and whole grains. If you are concerned about a lack of variety and don’t want to eat the same thing every day, try a variation of your favorite food. For example if you like sandwiches, you could try lean meats, tuna, or cheese with mixture of assorted greens and fillings. You could also try different sandwich breads, wraps or pitas. Include a fruit or vegetable and you will have fueled your body with food to make you full until dinner.

Mix it up
You don’t have to eat traditional lunch food. Your lunch could be your leftovers from last night’s dinner. If you plan ahead you can even make extra food for dinner so you have leftovers to bring in the next day. For a substantial and filling lunch, include a side such as a piece of fruit or side salad.  Any meal should be balanced and nutritious.

Plan ahead
Maybe you think you don’t have time to pack your own lunch.  If you can, on a weekend cook your favorite foods to freeze into individual portions. You could try this with soup or chili. Convenient foods like frozen meals or canned soups could also make for a quick and easy lunch. Choose foods that are not high in calories or sodium.  Add a side to help you feel full. By planning ahead, packing a lunch will become part of your routine. If you’re worried you won’t have time to even eat lunch on busy days, try bringing easy to eat snacks. You don’t want to skip eating or make an unhealthy food choice, so pack foods such as, whole fruits, nuts, low-sugar drinkable yogurts, homemade granola bites, or high protein granola bars.

Be creative
If you are looking for a different lunch to brown bag, try a Mason Jar Salad. Salads can be made in quart sized canning jars. Items are compiled together in layers. Dressing goes on the bottom and vegetables and other salad ingredients go on top.  This is another item that you can make ahead of time. Salads can last a few days in the fridge.

Packing a homemade lunch to work or school is a simple step toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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