Did you pack your lunch today? You are in good company – today, March 10th, is National Pack Your Lunch Day! We all look forward to our lunch break – a time to rest and get refreshed for the rest of the day ahead of us. But how often do you spend most of your break time starving, waiting in line to purchase food because you didn’t have time to pack a lunch?
Let’s weigh the pros and cons of packing a healthy lunch (for work or for travel!):
- Healthier: more likely to meet nutrient needs with less fat, sugar, and sodium
- Less costly and less time spent waiting for food
- Able to sit and enjoy your meal for 20 minutes and can still have 10 minutes to go on a refreshing walk before it’s time to go back to work
- Takes planning and time to prep your lunch
- May not have the right containers or enough variety of food at home
- Bored of packing the same lunch all the time
Packing a lunch does not have to be a daunting task, but it does take planning! If I can get a head start on packing lunches the day before, then the morning, and day, runs much smoother.
I usually pack 2-3 snacks such as yogurt, homemade muffin, and a fruit. I’ll also pack a healthy balanced meal that includes at least 3 food groups. The easiest choice for me is to pack leftovers from dinner the night before or I may grab something like:
- A homemade soup (like something I might have frozen a couple months ago) with 3-4 rye crisp breads and 2 tbsp natural peanut butter or sliced cheese
- Mixed green salad with leftover salmon fillet or a small can of salmon/tuna with chopped peppers, cucumbers and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds and whole grain toast and peanut butter.
This recipe provides four food groups in one meal. The recipe is also:
- High in protein
- High in vegetables including nutritious red peppers, tomatoes, and green vegetables
- Has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the spices
Adding one can of chick peas will help increase the high soluble fibre content in addition to the brown rice! With recipes like this, every day can easily be National Pack Your Lunch Day!
Editor’s note: Cookspiration was created by the Dietitians of Canada to inspire everyone to cook any time, day or night! Recipe ideas are served up to suit your mood and what you’re doing based on the time and day. Check out the website or the app!
About Melanie Chapple
Melanie works as a clinical dietitian in Primary health care in Fort St. John. After completing her dietetic internship in Vancouver, she fulfilled her desire to move up north in 2006 because of the rich opportunity to gain experience working in all practice settings as a full-time dietitian. Melanie has a passion for food and nutrition, specifically baking, eating healthy snacks and sharing recipes with her clients and coworkers. In her spare time, you may see Melanie cycling through the Peace region, walking, or pulling her kids on a sled during the six months of snow.