Packing lunch for health

Reasons you should consider packing a lunch for work.

Unhealthy snacking and eating out are some of the main culprits to weight gain. We spend at least eight hours a day at work so unhealthy snacking and eating out can be detrimental to our waistline and our health.

Not only does eating out and mindless snacking cause unhealthy weight gain, but it is usually associated with increase in sugar and salt (sodium) intake. Increases in sugar and salt intake reap havoc on blood pressure, and increase chances of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. These are some serious health conditions which may be prevented by lowering the amount of sodium consumed. It is easier to control the amount of sodium consumed in a day by cooking your own meals and limiting the amount of food consumed elsewhere.

During the work day it may sometimes be easier to pick up the phone to get take out with co-workers, or run for fast food during a lunch break. Takeout and eating out can exceed your daily requirements of fat, sodium and sugar in one meal for an entire day. I haven’t even mentioned the effect eating out does to your wallet. The calculation of $10 per day (average number) for a work week making your wallet cry for wasted money of $50 then multiply that times the amount of money it would cost in a year being a staggering: $2,600.

All of these downsides to eating out should help persuade you to begin to pack your lunch. It just takes a little planning and strategizing for the week, and hopefully this planning will become a habit and save you from added fat, sodium, and calories. Not to mention all the money you will save from eating the healthy food you brought.

Michigan State University Extension has some great strategies to help you begin or continue bringing lunch to work:

  1. Equipment:
    • Plastic containers: Purchase containers that will be easy to clean or maybe a fun design to motivate you to start taking your lunch. Having containers with tight closures make a difference when traveling with liquids for lunch.
    • Brown bag: This would not be my first choice to take my lunch to work only because I have so many other things to carry, my food would most definitely get smooshed. I like to throw all my food in closable containers and in a larger bag that does not leak.
    • Silverware: I was given a set of bamboo tableware that is perfect for my lunches at work. It came with a handy carrying case that can clip with a carabiner anywhere I go and can be easily washed and reused. I’ve been fortunate that silverware is provided at my office in case I forget my “bamboo-ware”.
  2. What to cook:
    • Pinterest is my go to app for ideas for just about anything but when it comes to ideas and recipes Pinterest take the cake (sugar and fat free that is).
    • Leftovers are the easiest in my book. It is so easy to throw leftovers (casseroles, soups, stews, pastas, or anything that was for dinner) in a container to be warmed during the lunch hour.
    • Other healthy quick goodies: humus, baba ghanoush, olives, whole wheat crackers, and low fat cheeses.

It is feasible to get in the habit of taking healthy food to work reducing the opportunity of fat, sodium, and other preservatives sneaking in to your daily food intake. It just takes a little bit of planning and the conscience decision to eat as clean as possible. Instead of it being the time of day when you pack on unhealthy eating, this could be the time when you eat the healthiest and gain all the benefits from superfoods.

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