They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what about lunch?

Eating a healthy lunch helps sustain you through the rest of the day and sets you up for eating a healthy dinner, yet often we choose something quick and easy over something nourishing (if we remember to eat lunch at all!)

Packing your own lunch can help you avoid the lure of fast food or junky snacks, even on the busiest days.

So, whether you’re back-to-school or just looking to eat healthier (and even save a little money), here are six tips for packing a lunch that will keep your body happy all afternoon long.

Plan Ahead

Packing a healthy lunch, like any lifestyle change, requires a bit of planning.

If the idea of meal planning sounds intimidating, remember it doesn’t have to look like a strict schedule of daily menus or a whole day spent carefully preparing every meal for the week.

Having some kind of a plan can help ensure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked with nutritious and delicious food to add to your lunchbox.

Also, setting aside time in your day to pack a healthy lunch will help make sure the task gets done and keep it from becoming a stressor. Consider packing your lunch the night before (or give yourself plenty of time in the morning).

Waiting until the last minute to get your lunch together is sure to end with choosing convenience over health.

Love your leftovers

One easy way to prepare a healthy lunch is to make extra food for dinner the night before and packing the leftovers right in your lunchbox. It makes preparing good food a breeze and makes sure nothing goes to waste.

Worried you’ll get bored eating the same thing for several meals? Get creative and use your leftovers to create a brand new dish for you to enjoy. Soups, salads, or stir-fries are a few easy and delicious ways to use up some of your already prepared ingredients.

Invest in a good lunch box

Brown paper bags won’t cut it! You need something that is going to keep your lunch fresh and crisp until your lunch break comes around. (Who wants to eat a wilted salad or a soggy sandwich?)/

Buying a lunchbox that will keep your food appetizing and safe to eat is worth the investment and will help you solidify the habit of packing a healthy lunch.

Stay hydrated

Along with your lunch, make sure you’re drinking enough water during the day. Drinking water during or after a meal aids digestion to help your body better absorb the nutrients.1

Staying hydrated plays a major role in making sure your body’s systems stay healthy and functioning, and will help you be better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way.

Eat the rainbow

We’re not talking about Skittles here. “Eating the rainbow” means eating fruits and vegetables of different colors to get a variety of important vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy and alert.

Did you know that fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate at any given meal, including lunch?

You might not get the whole rainbow into your lunchbox every day but challenge yourself to add colorful foods to your plate at lunch.

Buddy up

Having a friend or coworker to join you in eating a homemade lunch even just once or twice a week can really help curb the temptation to eat out. Make it fun! Try going to a nearby park or museum to eat or take turns packing a special treat to enjoy together.

You can also help one another remember to grab your packed lunch on the way out the door in the morning and encourage one another in making healthy lifestyle choices.


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