Last week, the Today Show did a segment on creative and healthy lunch ideas for children’s lunch boxes as kids return to school. It’s obvious that a well-rounded lunch is important for growing children; yet we often fail to pack a healthy lunch for ourselves. Our lunches consist of whatever is in arm’s reach as we run out the door. In fact, if we are busy enough, it might be 3 p.m. before we realize that we forgot to eat lunch.
This week’s Be Better Challenge is simple: Pack a lunch every day this week. A healthy packed lunch helps keep our bodies fueled for the rest of the day. And remember that every Be Better Challenge is aimed at improving your mental as well as physical health. So how does packing a lunch improve your mental health? Well, more and more evidence indicates that foods affect our mental health. So here are out Be Better healthy lunch tips:
Use Leftovers: Get in the habit of cooking a little extra food and taking the leftovers to work. Pair them with a fresh salad and fruit.
Control Portions: When eating out, I always feel obliged to eat everything on the plate – after all, I paid for it. The problem is that portions at restaurants are larger than they used to be, and therefore are unhealthy. When you pack lunch you have the ability to control your portions and only pack what you are going to eat. If you do have to eat out, pack half of the meal to go, and take it to work the next day.
Healthy Choices: In general, my pantry at home has healthier food choices than a restaurant does. When you pack your own lunch, you control what goes into your food. In most restaurants, you don’t have that control.
Less Trash: Packing your own lunch allows you to use reusable bags and containers. We found a really cool website, Waste Free Lunches, which shows the difference between a typical American lunch and a waste-free lunch. It also highlights the fact that a waste-free lunch costs less: $2.65 versus $4.02. Trust us: Waste-free lunches offer you an excuse to order these stylish Reusable Snack Bags by Itzy Ritzy. If you are looking for Waste Free Kits, check out these awesome items from WasteFreeLunches.org.
Budget Friendly: Yes, packing your own lunch is less expensive than going out for lunch. But how much? According to How Stuff Works, packing your lunch is up to 60 percent cheaper. Become resourceful by buying bulk items and eating leftovers. It is satisfying when you are saving money in addition to reducing food waste.
OK, Be Better. Pack your lunch. Become part of the Be Better Movement by posting pictures showing your commitment to the Be Better Challenges of the week. When you do, make sure to hashtag #bebettermovement