For many of us, the hustle and bustle of the workday can get in the way of our dietary needs. With only 30-minutes to an hour for lunch, some individuals think the drive-through is their only option. In recent years, most fast food restaurants have added healthier options to their menus, such as grilled chicken sandwiches on whole wheat buns and a wide array of tasty salads. However, when waiting in the line at the drive-through, staring at posters of juicy burgers and crispy fries, a person's intentions of getting a salad can quickly go out the window. For those of us who may be lacking in the willpower department, the safest way to ensure that we consume a nutritious lunch might be to pack one ourselves. Below are a few tips for packing a healthy - and delicious - lunch.
Pack Your Lunch the Night Before
How many mornings have you "snoozed" through your alarm to the point that you've left barely enough time to shower and commute? For some of us, this scenario plays out more often than we'd like to admit. When you're so short on time that you consider skipping the shower or - heaven forbid - brushing your teeth, there's a zero-percent chance that you'll have enough time to pack a nutritious lunch. Taking care of this task the night before is a foolproof way to ensure that you don't cheat yourself out of a balanced meal.
Grocery Shop with a List
Just as many individuals are tempted at the sight of fast food displays, many are tantalized by all the yummy options at the grocery store. After all, a bag of carrots or and bunch of bananas can be easily overshadowed by a box of cookies and a bag of potato chips. Before heading to the grocery store, write down all of your favorite health foods and promise yourself that you won't buy anything that isn't on that list. An easy way to determine what should go on your list is to plan your meals ahead of time. So, if you know you want to have a turkey sandwich for lunch one day, make sure your list includes whole wheat bread, low-sodium deli meat, low-fat cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and whatever else it is that you like on your sandwiches. When your meals are properly planned and you have all the necessary ingredients for your lunches, you'll be less likely to throw in the towel and resort back to your favorite burger chain.
Pack a Few Snacks
If your breakfast or lunch doesn't hold you over until your next meal, you'll need some nutritious snacks to fill in the gaps. How many times has your stomach started to grumble around 3:00? And how many times have you curbed your hunger pangs with a candy bar or a bag of chips from the vending machine? You can eliminate the temptation for these fatty, sugary foods by simply bringing some healthy snacks to work with you. Some great options include apples, bananas, grapes, carrots, and pretzels.
Go Out Without Eating Out
If you absolutely need some time away from the office during your lunch break, find some activities and locales that don't revolve around food. You could find a shady spot outside to read a book or magazine, run an errand that you would have saved for after work, or even visit a nearby pet store to play with the kittens. Just make sure that it's something you enjoy doing and will help take your mind off work, if only for a little bit.