Pack A Healthy Lunch

Pack A Healthy Lunch

Pepare, portion and pack your own lunch so you can enjoy a healthy midday meal at work or school.

Do you often feel pressured to order the same type of food as your friends or co-workers? Try to make your own food choices. If you pack your own lunch, then you can decide what’s on your midday menu. If you buy lunch, you might be restricted to local restaurants with limited menus or vending machines. Think about how much money you could save if you bring your lunch. You’ll also be in control of your carbohydrate and calorie budget. In addition, packing a healthy lunch can help you lose weight, reduce midday fatigue and control your blood glucose levels.


1 Use a padded (insulated) bag.
Put a frozen ice pack on the bottom. A reusable padded bag will help keep your food at the right temperature.

2 Plan your lunch menus.
Write down your shopping list before you go to the market. When you plan your menus, don’t forget to include lean protein (such as chicken, turkey or fish) and plenty of vegetables. Choose colorful, low-calorie vegetables, which have plenty of fiber. This will help fill you up so you won’t eat too many calories.

3 Be creative.
Don’t settle for a dry turkey sandwich on boring, low-fiber white bread. Bring a thermos of hearty vegetable soup with turkey meatballs for lunch on a cold winter day. You can cook the soup over the weekend and freeze it in portions. Or try some crunchy whole grain crackers with last night’s leftover salmon and sliced cucumber.

4 Prepare your lunch the night before.
Store your padded bag near the fridge. That way you’ll never forget to bring your lunch, and you will save time in the morning.

5 Bring a plastic or metal water bottle to work or school.
Refill your bottle every few hours. Then take it home to reuse again. For extra flavor, add a sugar-free, calorie-free powder mix, or squeeze a little lemon or lime into your water. You’ll quench your thirst without adding calories or carbohydrates.

6 Use your leftovers.
Prepare a little extra for dinner, and bring the leftovers for lunch. Here’s one idea: cook an extra portion of grilled chicken with quinoa over steamed broccoli and bring it for lunch.

7 Measure your food in advance.
This helps save time and may help you control your weight and blood glucose levels.

Keep an honest food journal. Write down what you spend on food purchases. Soon you’ll see how much money you save when you bring your own healthy lunch from home.

8 Bring your salad or left overs in a bag or reusable container.
You’ll save money and help protect the environment at the same time.

9 Savor your salads.
Prepare enough salad for two days. Use lots of veggies. Here’s a great salad idea: Mix romaine lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, mushrooms, red cabbage and a few grape tomatoes. Add some diced grilled chicken or turkey breast and toss in some chick peas. Top your salad off with a few chopped walnuts. Pack a small side of olive oil and vinegar to add when you’re ready for lunch. Finish off your meal with some fresh berries or a crisp apple.

10 Pat yourself on the back.
When you pack your lunch, you make it easier for yourself to avoid unhealthy fast food choices, such as hamburgers and fries or fried chicken and creamy mashed potatoes that are loaded with carbohydrates, unhealthy fat, sodium and calories.


By Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN

Share This