It can be a real challenge to pack healthy lunches first thing in the morning. There’s no time to slice and dice when we need to get a busy family out the door and on the road.
So to simplify things, we’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that can make it easier to incorporate healthy foods into your day. First prize is if you rope the kids in and get them to help.
Easy tips to add healthy foods into your day
One of the best ways to stay fuller for longer is to add protein to your breakfast. To save time, boil eggs a day or so in advance and include them in your lunch. A couple pieces of rolled ham, or grilled chicken breast will also do the trick.
Protein is considered the “building blocks” of the body. It repairs tissues, is involved in the formation of hormones, skin, bone and muscles.
In terms of satiety, “protein stimulates the production of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that signals satiety, and inhibits the release of a hormone called ghrelin, which sends out the “I’m hungry” message.”
Gone are the days where we shun full-fat foods and opt for fat-free everything. We now know that healthy fats are vital for the creation of hormones, cognitive function and even the absorption of some vitamins.
The easiest way to add healthy fats to your school or work lunch, is to pack some nuts. But not all nuts are created equal! Stick with raw, unsalted almonds. Almonds are bursting with vitamin E, fibre, protein and magnesium.
Another healthy fat to choose is avocados. Avos are not only delicious, but also packed full of potassium, heart-healthy fats, fibre and vitamin K.
To up the health quotient of your lunch, spread mashed avocado on your sandwiches instead of chocolate spread, margarine or mayonnaise.
We’re not saying don’t eat carbs at all, but opt for healthier whole-seed bread and wraps instead of packets of crisps, crackers and white bread.
It’s also tempting to grab a “health” bar to save time in the morning, but these are often loaded with sugar. Check out this blog to see more supposedly healthy foods debunked
Hydration is to keep focused and performing your best. For children at school, who play outside and often have no
Throw in a small fruit juice or superfood smoothie every now and then as a treat, but for the most part, children and adults alike should stick with plain water.
Teenagers doing intense training during the hot summer months might need a electrolyte drink to keep them hydrated.
If water bores you to death, add some freshly chopped strawberries, a sprig of mint or some orange slices to enhance the taste and brighten up your water bottle.
Need something Sweet?
Instead of opting for sweets, pack a whole fruit for a treat. If you don’t have time to pre-slice messy mango or pineapple, stick with the humble apple or banana which can be eaten on the go.
Fruit contains numerous vitamins, such as Vitamin C which boosts the immune system. We caution against eating too much fruit because even though it’s healthier than sweets, it still contains lots of sugar. One or two fruits per day plus loads of veggies (see below) should make up your Five a Day.
There is no excuse not to add veggies to your lunch box. Carrots even come pre-washed and peeled. An excellent addition that also takes no effort at all is a chunk of cucumber or celery sticks with a little tub of hummus.
Upping your vegetable intake has innumerable benefits to your body. Veggies also fill your stomach and help control your blood sugar levels so you are less likely to be tempted by your colleagues birthday cupcakes at work.
For your children, let them see that vegetables are not restricted to suppertime, but can be munched on throughout the day.
Meal prep is not just for body builders
If you are serious about adding healthy food into your diet, it’s going to take bit of planning and effort. You might need to spend an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon boiling, slicing and chopping, but it will be so worth it.
When you grocery shop for lunchtime foods, select items that last well and are to eaten or partitioned.
Stay clear of processed foods, and read the food labels. It’s insane how many processed items are labelled as “healthy” or “zero fat” or “low calorie” yet are packed with additives, preservatives, colourants and flavourants.
There is no need to go crazy and transform your kid’s lunches into something unrecognisable. You might receive serious resistance. Gradually adding healthy snacks into the mix, and after a while remove one unhealthy item. Their health will thank you in the long run.
We are all busy, but there is always time to prioritise your health. We spend most of our day at work or school, so it’s imperative to fuel our bodies with food that promotes energy and concentration.
It’s tempting to buy lunches from fast food
The nutritional quality of what you eat directly affects your mood, energy levels and immune system. It’s importance to your quality of life cannot be overemphasised.
You owe it to yourself and your family to eat the most nutritious food you can find. We hope this blog helps you find creative ways to add them to your daily meals.
Love and respect your body, it’s the only one you have.