How To Pack a Healthy Lunch

How often do you eat your lunch and immediately wish you could take a nap? If this happens often, your meals may lack essential vitamins –  such as magnesium, iron, protein or B vitamins – that keep your body energized. Those types of vitamins are mostly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Let’s get real though. Eating healthy can be such a chore. The salads, the kale, the quinoa – honestly, who has the time or the taste buds to put up with it? Regardless of this aversion, it’s important to eat your meals with a purpose. Here are five steps to mastering the art of healthy, energy-boosting lunches on the go.

1 Eat what you like.

Diets are commonly associated with cravings and hunger. But you don’t have to be on a diet to learn better eating habits. The first step is to think honestly about the foods you know are healthy and that you actually enjoy. Does the sound of a fruit bowl make your mouth water? Do you like sunflower seeds? Do you enjoy beans in your chili? Once you figure that out, it will be much easier to create diverse dishes filled with delicious and nutritious ingredients.

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2 Recreate recipes with your favorite foods.

Say, for instance, that you start your quest to healthier eating with strawberries. Knowing that you like these berries, you should figure out how to incorporate them into other recipes. Maybe you can try making a spinach and kale salad topped with strawberries and raspberries. Strawberries are a source of antioxidants, magnesium and vitamin B6, which boosts energy. Kale and spinach have similar nutritional benefits.

There are many food bloggers online who share their recipes with corresponding instructional videos. Once you find one you are itching to try, go for it! You might be surprised by how much you enjoy the meal.

3 Experiment with different ingredients.

Sandwiches are a quick and convenient lunch and you can get every single element in that sandwich to work for you. For example, a chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread with cranberries and celery on the side is one of the easiest lunches you can make. Chicken is high in protein, vitamin B6 and low in sodium. Celery is a negative caloric food since it takes more calories to chew than it actually contains. Cranberries are a source of vitamins E and K and whole grain bread is a source of fiber and protein.

Livestrong recommends substituting yogurt dressing instead of mayonnaise dressing to reduce fat. It also wouldn’t hurt to go heavier on the vegetables rather than the chicken.

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4 Snacks, snacks, snacks.

Don’t be afraid to snack between your meals to keep your metabolism going and stay energized. “If you get too hungry between meals, that can deplete your willpower and make you consume more calories overall. The trick to snacking for health? Choose nutrient-rich foods and filling combos of protein and fiber,” advises Reader’s Digest.

Raw, unsalted nuts – which are full of protein and healthy oils – are a great snack you could easily incorporate into your day. Another great snack is lightly salted popcorn. Both are low calorie snacks that will help boost energy.

5 Mind what you drink.

What you drink is just as important as what you eat. It’s perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged, to drink some of your meals instead of eating them. Are you having a hard time incorporating vegetables into your diet? You can always throw them into a fruit smoothie for maximum vitamin intake and little effort.

Also, it’s important that you drink lots of water throughout the day. When you are hydrated, you flush toxins out of your body faster, which help make your hair and skin look and feel healthier.

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