Do you bring a lunch with you during the day? Do you tend to eat out instead? There are many benefits to packing a lunch including control over portion sizes and ingredients. Not to mention bringing a lunch from home versus eating out should help to save money. Whether packing a lunch for yourself or a loved one, here are some tips to stay satisfied and energized all day long!
Include lean proteins, fiber, complex carbs and healthy fats.
Every part of the human body uses protein to help it grow and function, making it an essential staple in a healthy diet. Eating enough protein throughout the day has been associated with increased energy, weight management, and improved concentration and focus. Learn about healthy plant-based protein options here!
Including plenty of fiber will keep you feeling full all afternoon and help stabilize blood sugar levels preventing an afternoon crash. To up your fiber intake add fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and/or oats to your lunchbox.
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet. They provide energy to the body and brain to boost both your memory and happiness. Focus on including complex carbs that take longer for your body to break down like whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables and legumes.
Not all fats are bad! Unsaturated fats, when consumed in the correct portions, assist with weight management, a stronger immune system, improved mood and healthy skin and eyes. Additionally, these fats are thought to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. Find healthy unsaturated fats in oils, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.
Load up on vegetables and brain foods.
We recommend that at least 50% of your lunch be composed of non-starchy vegetables. Bring on the greens! Not big on salad? Try these fun ideas for sneaking more vegetables into your diet.
Adding brain foods to your lunch box can be a great way to keep your mental game on point during long days. Some of our favorite brain boosting foods include:
- Red peppers
- Pumpkin seeds
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard)
- Coconut oil
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
- Extra virgin olive oil
Avoid fatty foods, highly caffeinated drinks and added sugar.
Foods high in fat and artificial ingredients take the body longer to digest which may lead to bloating and discomfort. Pass on red meats, greasy fried foods and anything highly processed — your gut will thank you!
You might want to think twice before reaching for that triple shot espresso boost! Drinks high in caffeine don’t mix well with stress. Caffeine consumption can more than double the blood levels of stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
Sugary sweets might seem like just the pick-me-up you need, but consuming too much sugar can lead to an energy crash. Opt for items with little to no added sugars. If you need to indulge your sweet tooth try one of these naturally sweet recipes!
Pack extra snacks and eat when hungry.
Do you find yourself counting down the minutes until lunch every day? You shouldn’t be starving yourself between meals. Make sure you pack plenty of snacks to munch on throughout the day if needed. Eating regularly helps boost your metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels, keeping you feeling energized and mentally strong.
Prepare ahead of time and DIY when possible.
It is not easy to put together nutritious meal options when you are not prepared. Plan meals and healthy snacks ahead of time. Prep dishes beforehand when possible and embrace leftovers. Purposefully make extra of your healthy dinner and pack it for lunch in the coming days.
When possible you should try to prepare things yourself versus buying pre-made. Try making your own sauces and dressings to reduce added sugars and unwanted preservatives in your diet!
Crunched on time? Keep Svelte® organic protein shakes on hand! In five yummy flavors, our plant-based shakes provide 11g vegan protein, 20% of your daily-recommended fiber and only 6g of sugar.
Don’t forget to hydrate!
Humans are composed of roughly 60% water, making it a crucial part of any diet. The body uses water in its cells, organs and tissues to regulate temperature and maintain bodily functions. It is more important to our bodies than food! Make sure you drink water with lunch and throughout the day to maintain optimal performance.
No matter what you have packed you should ALWAYS look forward to your lunch! Don’t pack items just because they are healthy and force yourself to eat things you don’t like.
Need some healthy inspiration? Check out our Pinterest page for recipes and ideas!