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EATSMARTER! Exclusive

A Guide to Eating a Healthy Lunch

By EAT SMARTER

Especially for busy people, it can be challenging to prepare lunch in advance. However, it can save a lot of money, time and is probably more healthy, than eating out at a restaurant. Kids also enjoy homemade lunch a lot more than the food that is provided at school. Those meals are typically full of fat, sugar and do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lunch keeps you and your kids fit during the day and gives you the energy you need to stay focused.

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Why Lunch?

A lunch break is more important than one thinks. Many of us spend it at our desk and keep working. Studies have shown that skipping the lunch break mostly appears to be a problem in white-collar jobs (only 20% of office workers tend to take a break from their desk at lunchtime).1 However, it makes you more productive to take a break from you work. Taking a little walk and getting some fresh air, enjoy lunch outside or even fitting a short workout into your break can improve your productivity. In addition, it is proven that people who regularly skip meals tend to weigh more than people who eat frequently.2 So if you are trying to lose weight it is essential to have regular meals throughout the day.

Remember how much you looked forward to your lunch break at school? One-third of your kid's nutrition comes from their lunch, which is why it is important to pack healthy but delicious meals.

Why make your own lunch?

A delicious and healthy prepared lunch can be something to look forward to. In addition, kids do not have the power over deciding what to eat at the cafeteria. Thus, you know what your kid is eating if you send them to school with a lunch you have prepared for them. Of course, it is important to think about what to pack for lunch and choosing healthy options. Chocolate or sugary drinks do not make a great part of a healthy lunch. Therefore, it is important to pack stuff your kids will like and will be happy to eat.The key to a well-prepared lunch is planning.

Another positive thing about making your own lunch is that it is easier to control the portion size, as you are packing your own box. If you were ordering food, there would probably be more on the plate than you would actually need to be full which may cause you to continue eating even if you are full.3 A packed lunch prevents you from overeating.

Moreover, it saves a lot of money. When eating out, most lunches are not under $10, which is on average $50 a week and $200 a month.
 

How to get started?

  1. Ask yourself, and your kids, what you want to eat during the week. Search for recipes you and your kids would like and that make a great lunch. Spend the time together finding healthy recipes and then preparing them.
  2. The key is cooking bigger amounts. Cooking bigger amounts allows you to cook for a whole week and prevents you from worrying about what to pack for lunch the night before. As a result, you only have to assemble the lunchboxes either the night before, in the morning, or even right after cooking. That way, you only have to pull the container out of the fridge with a healthy lunch in the morning. This is a life saver for busy mornings.
  3. Buy all groceries at once. This prevents you from buying unnecessary items when you have to make a last-minute trip to the store. In addition, write a shopping list to make sure to buy everything you need for a whole week and stick to this list. This saves you a lot of time.
  4. A prepared lunch does not have to be boring. When thinking about what to prepare for lunch, think about food that can either be eaten cold or is easy to reheat. Salads, sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, hard boiled eggs, meat, and soups all make great choices. To give you some inspiration, we have chosen some recipes that make great healthy lunches.

Lunch ideas that you and your kids will enjoy

  1. Millet Salad with Cucumber, Mint, and Tomatoes
  2. Indian Vegetable Curry with Pineapple
  3. Stuffed Turkey Sausage Patties
  4. Red Lentil Soup with Croutons
  5. Provencal Vegetable Omelet with Black Olives
  6. Bistro Salad with Apple and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
  7. Pasta Salad with Green Vegetables
  8. Vegetarian Cannelloni with Spinach and Ricotta

 

  1. Cooper, Belle Beth. "8 Reasons why you Should Definitely take that Lunch Break." Fast Company. Fast Company & Inc., 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 
  2. Schuna, Carly. "Why is Lunch so Important?" Livestrong.com. LIVESTRONG.COM, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 
  3. Fuhr, Lizzie. "The Healthy Habit that has Made my Afternoons Better." Popsugar. Popsugar Inc., 28 Mar. 2016. Web

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