Taking a healthy lunch to work is one of the simplest ways to trim your budget. and avoid eating junk food. Most people don't give much thought to spending $10 or so for a restaurant lunch, or lunch in the cafeteria. But over the course of a month -- or a year -- the expense can does add up.
Besides the cost savings, most meals packed at home are healthier than foods at restaurants. When we eat out, we're often faced with massive portions and fattening extras -- like the French fries that routinely come with sandwiches. But when you pack lunch at home, you can control your portions and choose healthier ingredients. Above all, you know what you're eating.
Still, unless you're willing to eat the same ham and cheese sandwich day in and day out, it's easy to run out of ideas and fall back into the spending rut. Especially when we are busy and don't have time to think of creative ways to pack our lunches.
Well we have put together a some healthy eating ideas that you can pack and take to work with you, and know you are eating healthy!
Try to remember to balance your lunches. Meals that include some lean or low-fat protein along with carbs will keep your body fueled well into the afternoon and through dinner time.
Try to combine protein and fiber from whole grains, nuts and beans, vegetables and/or fruit will give you the most satisfying and nutritious combo of foods that will keep you feeling full until dinner,
Variety is key! So, If you love sandwiches, use a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas, and wraps. Choose lean fillings like sliced eggs, tuna fish or lean meats. Then add assorted greens, fresh basil, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, and/or tomatoes, or other vegetables that you love.
There are other great options available for you when you're brown bagging it. Left overs from
last night's dinner, hard boiled eggs, vegetarian wraps, cereal, pretzels, yogurt -- anything you enjoy at home can be packed up and eaten for lunch.
You can always make a little extra dinner so you can take advantage of the left overs. A great idea is to cook a few meals on you day off and freeze individual portions so you can have great lunches that you have made and you know what's in them. Chili, soup, or stew can make great lunches and are easy to prepare and freeze. I have also found frozen fruit to be a great item to take for lunch. Just take some out of the freezer in the morning and put it in a small container. Be sure to bring the sweetener of your choice along with you and by the time lunch rolls around, your fruit is thawed and ready to eat!
Store bought soups and frozen meals can also make easy, quick lunches, if you just don't feel like cooking yourself. Stock up on these items at the store, when they are on sale. You can pair these items with a salad or some fruit to have a healthy balanced meal. One of my favorite lunch ideas is to buy some frozen, cooked chicken breast and some multi-grain flat bread. Cut up some vegetables, like cucumber, onion, lettuce and tomato (wait to cut up the tomato at work , or tends to get soggy). Once you are at work and lunch time rolls around, all you have to do is heat the chicken for a couple of minutes, stick it on the flatbread, add your veggies and voila! You have a great chicken sandwich, with very few calories and low fat.
If you have ideas on what you take for lunch and you tink it may be of help to other busy nurses, then chirp in and add your ideas in the comments box!