Healthy Lunchbox Ideas for the Whole Family
In a perfect world, you’d have time to eat only home-cooked meals made up of whole, fresh, organic foods every day. However, in the real world most people have to eat away from home regularly – sometimes every day. Instead of surrendering to fast food, try these ideas to keep your lunchbox (or your kids’) interesting, delicious, and healthy. Just remember to keep cold foods cold; if you can’t refrigerate the lunch, then be sure to include an ice pack or two.
1. Leftovers. This is probably the easiest way to eat healthy (and cheap) food for lunch – just bring a little of what you made the night before for dinner. You can even make extra food at dinner for the purpose of having lunches in the day or two to come.
2. Sandwiches. Tried and true lunchbox favourites, sandwiches are easy to make, easy to pack, and with a little effort, are far from boring. Use whole grain bread, wraps, or pitas, and choose your favourite fillings such as sliced eggs, tuna fish, or cheese with lots of veggies such as fresh basil, sprouts, onions, sliced cucumbers, or tomatoes.
3. Frozen meals. Not just any frozen meals, but healthy, portion-controlled choices that can be heated in a microwave (if one is available) can be a much better option than a drive-thru burger and fries. Add a piece of fruit for a balanced, satisfying lunch.
4. Salads. Try tossing together raw spinach, salmon, tomato, carrots, and cucumber; pack an orange for dessert. Or drizzle tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil and vinegar and pair with a tuna salad sandwich on whole-wheat pita bread.
5. Skip the soda or pricey bottled water. Instead, use the office’s water cooler or pack water in a reusable water bottle, and save money and calories. Speaking of saving money, bring your own coffee from home in a travel mug and skip the coffee shop.
6. Add a snack or two. The last thing you want is to get hungry mid-afternoon and have nothing but vending machine options available. Bring fruit, some low-fat vanilla wafers, a few pieces of hard candy – whatever treats will satisfy you and give you the pick-me-up you need without breaking the calorie bank.