I count myself lucky when it comes to lunch: I happen to work in a place where on most days all I have to do is wander down the hall to the EatingWell Test Kitchen around noon and fill my plate with all of the wonderful healthy food the lovely cooks put out on a daily basis. But most of us don’t have that luxury at work or at school and even I can’t always rely on it for a balanced meal.
I recently blogged about fast-food breakfasts that sound healthy, but aren’t—ones that duped even me, a registered dietitian—and I received dozens of (passionate!) responses on EatingWell’s Facebook page. Some readers commented on how fast food can’t possibly be healthy.
My husband and I are fairly active people, but we’re always looking for more ways to shed a few pounds. (Who isn’t, right?) So when I read that adding more fiber to your diet can help you lose weight, I started to think about where I could sneak in some extra fiber during the day.
Fiber at breakfast and dinner is something we already get a healthy amount of, so lunch seemed like a good place to experiment with new ideas.
Most of the “water cooler conversation” around our office this time of year is about back to school. (Check out the recipes and tips in our new Back to School Guide!)
I’m sure this comes as no surprise because we work at EatingWell, but most of the focus has been on what to pack kids for lunch. You might find it refreshing to know that we too struggle with what to feed our kids.
I often drive to visit my family on long holiday weekends. I used to not enjoy the trips because when I got hungry I would have to pull over at a rest stop and buy fried food that I would spend the latter half of my drive regretting. So now I pack a cooler with healthy lunches that keep me satisfied for the entire trip. When I stop, I find a picnic bench and enjoy a sandwich or salad that I packed and I don’t have to deal with swarms of people, greasy food or regrets.
- Tip 1: Cut fruit into fun shapes with cookie cutters. Melon works very well.
My daughter is only 4, so we have another year until she starts school. But I still pack her lunch for daycare every day. One of the easiest ways to make sure she has a healthy lunch is to use a Japanese-style bento box.
Related: 50+ Cheap & Healthy Lunch Ideas
- Fruity Kebabs: Spear chunks of pineapple, cucumber, orange and/or grapes on toothpicks; include a small cup of sugar-free yogurt for dipping.
- Happy Trails Mix: Combine equal parts popcorn and whole-grain unsweetened cereal; add a small handful of orange-flavored dried cranberries.