Packing your lunch or lunch for the kids? There are certain things you should definitely avoid. Learn more about how to avoid unhealthy lunches and snacks…
What Should You Avoid?
We don’t want to be extremely obvious, but we will say it anyway: Make sure you try to avoid processed foods.
Protein and granola bars always seem like the go-to snack for your lunch but you really must read the label. Most snack bars are high in sugar, preservatives, and chemicals. Not what you really want to maintain peak health.
Packing a sandwich? Ditch the white bread because it’s doing more harm than good. It provides excess calories with virtually no nutrients. Also, those deli meats you regularly run towards are off the list. They’re also highly processed, full of sodium, additives, and preservatives.
What Should You Be Packing?
It’s time to start packing your lunch right, and the first step is to start thinking whole foods! Whole fruits and vegetables are the easiest foods to pack for lunches and snacks and they too often get overlooked.
They come in their own containers, they’re packed with vital nutrients, they don’t always need refrigeration, and they taste amazing (plus, you get some all-natural sugar).
Are you looking to add some perishables? Make sure you have the lunchbox to get the job done.
First, be sure that your lunchbox is insulated and that items that are frozen or cold remain a decent temperature as your box sits on your desk for hours.
Then, run a test – put food in the box along with a cold pack and check the temperature after 4-5 hours. If it’s above 40 degrees, enough bacteria could inhabit your food and grow to make you sick. Either grab a new lunchbox, refrigerate it, or pack non-perishable foods.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that your lunchbox can’t be packed with nacho cheese Doritos, bakery cookies, and donuts. But you should know these other tips when packing your lunch:
- Throw away leftover perishables. An insulated lunchbox doesn’t re-chill your food, so don’t be tempted to keep the perishable food for later in the evening.
- Don’t pack hot meals. Avoid baked chicken, fish, pork, or beef. Insulated lunchboxes are designed to keep your food cool, not to cool them down to safe temperatures to consume.
- Don’t pack frozen foods. Even with a cold pack, your frozen foods are going to melt. Especially avoid dairy like yogurt.
- Consider packing only non-perishables. A few good, clean foods: Vegetables, nuts, trail mix, dried fruits, crackers, and nut butters.