by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director
It is the return of the brown bag! As many of us return to school and routine coming up with a packed lunch every day can be tough. How do we pack a lunch that is both healthy and versatile? Here are some tips for making a nutritious lunch that is an effortless part of your daily routine.
- Make enough dinner for leftovers.
One of the most obvious tips, but one we heard over and over, is to make dinnertime work for lunch too.
- Put leftovers in the lunchbox right after dinner.
Great way to save time, put your dinner leftovers in the lunchbox or lunch container right after dinner, before you clean up.
- Cook a big batch for lunch on Sunday.
Spending a lazy weekend day is a great time to prepare for the week. Package right into the single-serving containers that go into the freezer. In the morning, grab and go! Make sure to pre-package healthy snacks like vegetables, berries and nuts that are ready to grab anytime during the week.
- Keep your kitchen stocked with essentials.
Stock it up with plastic ware, napkins, seasoning and condiment packets which are easily tossed into a lunchbox to spice things up!
5. Make a Smarter Sandwich
- Use different breads like 100% whole-wheat tortilla wraps (choose wraps low in saturated fat and made with no hydrogenated oils) or 100% whole-wheat pita pockets.
- In addition to lettuce and tomato, try shredded carrot or zucchini and sliced apple or pear with a turkey sandwich.
- Try avocado or hummus as a swap for cheese or mayo.
- Try a leftover grilled chicken in your sandwich as a switch for lunch meat.
- Let Them Dunk
Sometimes it’s OK to let your kids play with their food, especially when they are getting extra nutrition. Try packing one of these fun dunks with dippers:
- Apple and pear slices to dip into low-fat plain yogurt or peanut butter.
- Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
- Get Them Involved
When kids help pack their lunch, they’re more likely to eat that lunch! On nights you have a bit more time, like a Sunday night, have them choose which piece of fruit or what type of whole grain bread they want and let them assemble their lunch. Make this a weekly routine – it’s another great way to spend family time together and make an influence on nutritious choices.