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Health and Fitness News

What’s in Your Lunchbox?

Tips for packing healthy lunches.

If you’re like many people, the mornings are a hurried rush, and packing a lunch isn’t a priority. As a result, eating out for lunch is a big temptation you face every day. After all, it’s a lot easier to join your coworkers at a nearby restaurant or pick something up to eat on the go than to spend an extra minute or two packing a lunch. Besides, you’re tired of your typical packed lunch options and eating out offers such a variety of flavors.

Whatever your reasons are for eating out, the habit is likely hurting your weight-loss efforts. Restaurant food is known for offer huge proportions that are high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Eat it often and you won’t be surprised that you’re struggling with weight.

To protect you good health and your good waistline, it may be time to start packing your lunch. Here are a few diet-friendly ideas of healthy, yet filling, foods you should use to fill your lunchbox.

The Protein

For lasting energy and fullness, you need a substantial amount of protein in your lunch. Leftovers from your dinner the night before make preparing lunch the next day quick and simple. As you make dinner in the evening, whether it’s soup, a casserole, grilled chicken, or pasta, plan to make extra to save for lunch. Just divide your leftovers into portable containers and store them in the refrigerate overnight. When it’s time to pack your lunch the next morning, tossing in a portable container of leftovers takes practically no extra effort.

When leftovers aren’t available, don’t lose heart. It doesn’t take long to make a packed lunch. Just be sure to include a source of protein. Salads, sandwiches, and wraps are easy to prepare. Always make your wrap or sandwich using whole-grain tortillas or bread. Whether you prefer your favorite deli meat with cheese, lettuce, and tomato or peanut butter and jelly, sandwiches can be an easy and quick way to pack a healthy lunch. You can also whip up some tuna fish, egg salad, or chicken salad made with low-fat mayonnaise or avocado. Fill a wrap with deli meat, cheese, and lettuce or your favorite salad. Throw together a green salad with lots of vegetables and hard-boiled eggs or ham cubes.

Other simple packed lunch ideas include a can of low-sodium soup to warm up in the microwave or a cup of Greek yogurt mixed with fruit and granola.

Fruits and Vegetables

Try to include a fruit and a vegetable in every lunch. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for good health. Keep fresh produce on hand in your kitchen to make packing lunch a quick process. A handful of blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries; apple slices; a banana, green or red grapes; or a peach, orange, or kiwi are simple options for a healthy lunch. Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, or cranberries can also be a healthy addition in moderation.

When it comes to vegetables, there are plenty of choices. Baby carrots, bell pepper slices, or celery sticks are easy to pack, as are grape tomatoes, radishes, or broccoli florets. Include a small container of hummus or Ranch dressing for dipping, and you’re good to go!

Sides

It’s fun to include a variety of foods in your meal. A few pretzels, wedge of cheese, yogurt cup, hard-boiled egg, pickle, or a pack of whole-grain crackers with peanut butter are all yummy sides to add to your lunchbox.