Save Money & Eat Healthier By Packing a Lunch

Do you grab some carryout at noon or rush to the local food vendor? That can get expensive for both your health and your pocketbook. There’s a lot of reasons to eat healthier, but often people think that’s too expensive. They’re wrong, you can save money by packing a lunch and making that food healthy. When you pack a lunch, you have control over the food you take and the ingredients in it. Whether you’re creating a sack lunch for children or taking your lunch to work, there are healthy options.

Include healthy fat as part of your lunch.

Those fries or other deep fried foods aren’t part of the healthy fat group. However, whole eggs, cheese, avocado, salmon or sardines and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds contain healthy fat. Without including healthy fat, you can’t absorb fat soluble vitamins, like A, E, K and D. You’ll feel fuller longer, too. Make a nut butter and apple sandwiches, a bag of raw nuts, which include walnuts, almonds and pecans.

Include a high quality protein in your lunch.

Having a lunch that’s easy to grab in the morning and takes little time or effort is also important. You can do that with salads. Use leftover meat or protein to create the salad. If you have chicken, it’s ideal for an Asian wrap. Use your favorite vegetables and fruits. Chop celery, shred carrots, finely chop cabbage, green onions and sliver almonds. You can add other ingredients, too. For instance, Mandarin oranges in their own juice is a delicious addition. Mix with salt and pepper and Asian salad dressing, which you can make with rice vinegar, soy, sesame seeds, brown sugar, fresh grated ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Use low sodium soy if you want it to be healthier. Put the mix in a jar and when you’re ready to use, put a few Bibb lettuce leaves on a tortilla shell and fill the lettuce with the Asian salad and wrap. Serve with an apple, applesauce, other fresh fruit or vegetable.

You need complex carbohydrates in your lunch.

Whole grains, beans, whole fruits, vegetables and pasta are a few complex carbs that digest more slowly to keep your blood sugar level and you feeling fuller. Make a black bean, corn and salsa salad to serve with berries, bananas, fresh veggies and dip and a hard boiled egg. Stuff an avocado with chicken salad or grind the chicken and ingredients smooth and use the “salad” as a dip for crackers or rolled in a large leaf of lettuce and made into a wrap.

  • Reinvent your leftovers. Chop lean beef, chicken or use shrimp or other seafood to create new salads like the Asian salad. Mix cherry tomatoes, cubed avocados, leftover corn, grated feta, and a mixture of your favorite dressing, such as basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin.
  • Your brown bag lunch should have at least two servings of vegetables. Side salads, such as pea or bean salad, veggies and dip, even homemade vegetable soup in a thermos or readable container can be great additions.
  • Don’t let that rice from the night before go to waste. It’s a great starter for a salad and you can add any type of vegetable and it’s good. Just toss it with dressing.
  • Get creative when it comes to ease and sneaking in a few more vegetables. Consider broccoli nuggets or veggie muffins or mini veggie quiche. Mini veggie muffins are a good addition to all meals and a large batch can be made at once.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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