Healthy Lunch Box Ideas - Yaletown Nutrition
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Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

July 27, 2020
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Ah lunch, the often overlooked or forgotten meal. I find that, more often than not, lunches are either dinner leftovers, take out, an unsatisfying light salad, or skipped altogether because the work day is too busy or people aren’t too sure what to have.

S kipping this crucial mid-day meal can result in low energy levels in the afternoon, increased cravings, more snacking when you get home from work, and possible overeating at dinner time.

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Making meals in advance can be very time-consuming and many people get bored of eating the same meal leftovers for a week straight.

 

Making meals in advance can be very time-consuming and many people get bored of eating the same meal leftovers for a week straight. A simple lunch solution - quick and easy lunch boxes. These are great for kids and adults alike. A big selling point is that you do not need to spend much time preparing food ahead, as you can use wholesome raw food to make a balanced, satisfying lunch. Each lunch box below takes 5 minutes of preparation and minimal clean-up afterwards. It’s also easy to mix-and-match ingredients so each day can be different and exciting, and each family member can customize their lunch box to their preferences. You can easily create your own with whatever ingredients you have on hand and enjoy eating.

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To make your lunch box more filling and balanced, try to include all three food groupings: protein-rich foods, whole grains/starchy vegetables, and vegetables and/or fruit.

 

To make your lunch box more filling and balanced, try to include all three food groupings: protein-rich foods, whole grains/starchy vegetables, and vegetables and/or fruit.

1. Start by incorporating some protein-rich foods:

  • Cheese - you can never get bored of trying all the different types of cheese- cheddar, mozzarella, brie, feta, gouda, asiago
  • Boiled eggs
  • Nuts - e.g. cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachios
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Tuna salad, chicken salad, salmon salad, or egg salad
  • Deli meat - e.g. turkey, chicken, roast beef
  • Smoked salmon or canned fish (e.g. sardines, herring, smoked oysters, tuna)
  • Nut butters
  • Bean dip or hummus

2. Next, add in some whole grains or starches:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole wheat pita bread or pita chips
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Whole grain english muffins or bread
  • Tortilla chips
  • Rice cakes or crackers

 

3. Lastly, add in some of your favourite vegetables and/or fruit:

  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bell peppers
  • Banana
  • Apple slices
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Berries

Don't be afraid to incorporate your favourite dipping sauces, such as ranch or tzatziki!

Some of my favourite lunch box combos include:

  • Boiled egg, cheese, crackers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and tzatziki or ranch dip
  • Ham, cheese, bell peppers, tomato sauce, spread on english muffins or crackers (mini pizzas)
  • PBJ and banana tortilla pinwheels, almonds, cheese, and blackberries
  • Boiled egg, guacamole, rice cakes, smoked salmon, celery and cream cheese

As most of my lunch boxes include cheese, let’s talk about some of its benefits. The best thing about cheese is its variety- hundreds of textures and flavors for every individual preference: from soft, moist mozzarella with a mild flavour, to a salty, tangy feta, or hard aged parmesan with a nutty, sharp strong flavor. As a dairy product, cheese is also high in calcium, which is crucial for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. 1.5oz of cheese, or the size of 4 playing dice, provides 300mg of calcium, or 25-30% of your daily calcium needs. If you don’t tolerate lactose, aged cheeses (e.g. parmesan, swiss and cheddar) are much lower in lactose than soft cheeses.

Written by Sofya Borisenko & Liz Powell, RD

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