Posted 06/09/2017 2:03:13 PM by Sarah Miller

Does anyone really like packing a lunch? The answer is probably no, but the health and financial benefits are enough motivation for many to keep doing it! Buying your lunch can be pricey and the fast food options available during a typical lunch hour are not always the healthiest choice. Coming up with quick and healthy options can be quite challenging.

Breakfast often gets the limelight, but lunch is just as important. We need adequate fuel to get us through busy work or school days and it’s important to eat healthy and nutritious foods. A little preparation can go a long way:

Can you say leftovers? Make a bit extra for dinners so that you have enough to take for lunch the next day. Warning: the smell of delicious leftovers may make your colleagues drool or scowl in envy.

Don’t mess with mornings. We all like our sleep, so realistically, packing a lunch in the morning while trying to get ready may not happen. Pack your lunch the night before so you’re not rushed or reaching for unhealthy, convenient options.

Rethink Sundays. If possible, take a few minutes to plan your week of dinners and/or lunches. Do you have enough ingredients? Do you need inspiration? Sunday is a great day to meal prep for the week. Thinking about meal planning on a weekly basis may take some of the stress away from the week itself.

Did somebody say unhealthy, convenient options? That can often be synonymous with packable lunch options or snacks that many products claim on their packaging. Here’s a quick list of healthy packable options:

  • Fruit or veggie packs. Just wash and cut! It’s really that easy. Too much to do every day? Prepare enough for a few days.                  
  • Yogurt parfait. Yogurt is not only tasty and healthy, but single yogurt containers are easy to grab and go. Remember that fruit you cut up? Throw it into your yogurt for something special. Feel like getting even more creative? Add other healthy toppings like nuts or granola to make it a special treat. Some flavoured yogurts have a lot of sugar, so check the label before you buy.
  • Go nuts. Almonds and walnuts are a great go-to snack. Add a few more items, like dried fruits or seeds, and you’ll have homemade trail mix. Note: this one is for the grown ups only! Most schools and child care centres do not allow nuts due to allergies. 
  • Cheese and crackers. Tried and true—you can’t go wrong here!
  • Apple slices with peanut butter. A healthy protein-packed sweet and salty snack. If you're packing a lunch to send to school, skip the peanut butter and try apples and cheese slices! 
  • Don’t forget about those leftovers! Extra meat or vegetables from last night’s dinner can jazz up a salad! Try boiling some eggs and make your own Cobb salad.
  • Tired of that same old sandwich? Make it a bit more interesting by throwing in some fresh veggies or experimenting with new condiments.

Have more ideas to share? Leave a comment below or visit our facebook page and comment with your favourite packable lunch and snack options!

Sarah Miller

About Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller is the Manager of Digital and Internal Communications at the YMCA. When she's not busy at the Y, she likes to play piano and daydream about her next trip to a new place. Her favourite colour is purple.

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