What are your plans for lunch today?  Did you bring it to work, or will someone serve you at a restaurant? We may not even think about our lunch until our tummies start to grumble, but planning ahead can be beneficial to our health and our wallets!  Some extra thought may go a long way.

Making healthy lunch decisions takes a little extra planning, but your body will thank you! Before you go to the grocery store, think about what you would like to eat that week and make a list. Prepare a couple of your meals over the weekend, and pack ready-to-go leftover portions. Clean and chop fruits and veggies when you come back from the store so they are ready at a moment’s notice for a healthy snack or to add to your main entrée.

Lunch is an important meal that helps to fuel your mind and body for the remainder of your work day.  In addition, eating meals away from your work space gives your mind a break so it can come back, re-charged.  A delicious, balanced lunch should include fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. Eat your nutrient-packed lunch mindfully and enjoy each bite!

Did You Know?

  • Only 1 in 5 step away from their desk to eat lunch.
  • The American Diabetes Association recommends two large meals per day as opposed to six small meals per day.
  • The amount of energy is consistent with how many calories we eat, not when we eat them.
  • Grocery stores such as Giant have apps that assist in your money saving and meal planning!

Tips for Healthy Lunches:

  1. Tips for Portion Control: Use a smaller plate, bowl, or portable container. Portion out foods before you eat. When eating out, choose a smaller size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.
  2. Eat More of These: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. These foods have the nutrients you need for health (potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber).
  3. Eat Less of These: Foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. Also cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. Use these foods as occasional treats, not everyday foods.
  4. Choose Water: Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar, and calories, in American diets.

Read additional lunch tips from the National Institutes of Health!

Sources: American Diabetes Association, National Institutes of Health United States Department of Agriculture, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, American Dietetic Association, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.