Tips for Your Lunch: Stay Healthy and Pack!

Eat Lunch or Skip It?

Do not skip it; eat lunch!

If you think skipping lunch will help you lose weight, your thinking is on the wrong track. Skipping lunch can potentially lead to weight gain. When your stomach is empty, your brain lets your cells know to conserve energy — thereby slowing down your metabolism.

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, author of “The Blood Sugar Solution,” says that eating triggers a process called thermogenesis. This process lets the brain know to activate the metabolic process of turning food into energy.

To keep your metabolism working at the highest efficiency, Dr. Hyman recommends eating small meals every three to four hours. Not only will that keep your metabolism working, but it will also keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Normal blood sugar levels mean your brain is getting the glucose it needs to run efficiently. And you won’t be irritable, tired, fatigued, or hangry.

Another negative of skipping lunch is that you are more likely to hit the vending machine around mid-afternoon. And there’s nothing nutritional or low-calorie in those machines.

So eat your lunch, you, and everyone you work with will be happier.

Pack It or Eat Out?

So, now that we know we shouldn’t skip lunch, we have to decide if we’re going to pack a lunch or eat out.

We don’t have to tell you that it’s more expensive to eat out, but have you ever added up what it does cost to eat out for lunch?

If you eat at a drive-through fast-food restaurant, you’re going to spend about $6. If you go to a national chain and have a sit-down full-service lunch, you’re going to spend about $20.

So, let’s say you do the drive-through for four days and treat yourself once a week. That’s going to total almost $3,000 for the year. Egads! That’s a chunk of change for most of us. And that doesn’t include the gas to drive there.

But the effects on your health could be more costly. Partly because you’re more likely to overeat when dining out and not even realize you’re doing it.

Here’s a good example you’ll recognize. We went out to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant the other night with a friend. And you know the drill, as they seat you, they also seat that big basket of chips and salsa on the table. And they do it for lunch too.

Of course, we immediately started munching those chips and salsa. The three of us mindlessly ate that entire basket of chips while catching up on gossip. Then dinner arrived, a large plate overflowing with yummy food.

A dinner chock full of too many calories, fat, sodium, preservatives, probably some genetically modified foods, and who knows what else.

We don’t need to go any further. Be healthy, save money, and pack your lunch.

What and How to Pack Your Lunch

You can always quickly throw something into your lunch box in the morning. Or you could give a little thought to tomorrow’s lunch before you head to bed.

But even better, think about what you’d like for lunch while you’re grocery shopping for the week. Then set aside about an hour on a Sunday afternoon or evening to pack a week’s worth of healthy lunches and snacks. Seriously, with a little thought and planning, that’s all the time it will take.

If you plan on packing sandwiches, it’s best to prepare them the morning of or the night before. But go ahead and portion everything out on Sunday, so it’s at the ready. Then it will only take you a minute to throw that sandwich together.

And a trick to help keep your bread from getting soggy is to spread a thin layer of low-fat mayo or mustard on both slices of bread.

If you’re going to have lettuce and tomatoes or pickles on your sandwich, pack them separately and place them on your sandwich right before you eat. Do the same with any salads, like tuna or chicken.

Green leafy salads with veggies are always a good idea but don’t mix in the dressing, unless you’re like me and sometimes enjoy a soggy salad. An excellent way to pack a veggie salad is to use a mason jar.

Put your dressing in the jar first, then add some chopped veggies, like tomatoes, celery, peppers, or carrots. Then put in your lettuce, and if you want some croutons, put them in last. Close up the jar and store in the fridge. You can prep a full weeks worth of salads this way.

Leftovers are always an excellent choice, but we’ll address that in a minute.

Unless you pick number 7 on our list of best lunch boxes for men, you’ll need to purchase something to hold the food you’re going to pack. And you’ll want to get some ice packs as well.

If you’re going for convenience, stock up on disposable sandwich and snack bags, although you’ll find reusable bags available too.

Reusable containers will cost less in the long run and are better for the environment. Plus they’ll give you more flexibility in the types of food you can pack, especially if you get containers that are freezer and microwave-safe.

Get a variety of sizes, some large enough for an entree, and some smaller for a veggie side or dessert. And if you like soup or chili on those cold winter days, get an insulated mug.

And don’t forget that snacks, sauces, and dips need containers too. You could spend an entire afternoon online looking at all the possibilities to include in any of our best lunch boxes for men.

Leftovers

I’m fortunate because the man in my life loves leftovers. He’d be perfectly content eating leftovers for lunch every day. But I know he’s not the norm, and I’ll leave it at that.

But just because you or the man in your life doesn’t want to eat tonight’s leftovers for lunch tomorrow, doesn’t mean you can’t pack them for lunch. Portion them out and freeze them in microwave-safe containers.

Next week, pull it out of the freezer the night before, or even in the morning. By lunchtime, it will be ready for the microwave — a nutritional, delicious, healthy meal at no extra cost.

Healthy snack options

Here’s where packing best lunch boxes for men checks all the boxes and shines. Say bye-bye vending machine with your expensive non-healthy goodies.

Fill a small snack container with some almonds or walnuts. Both are chock full of health benefits and will keep the body at peak performance all afternoon.

Some sliced veggies with some low-fat dip or peanut butter make a great afternoon pick-me-up. And don’t forget some fresh fruit. Pack an apple, orange, banana, or put some grapes in one of those snack containers.

If you’re watching your carbs and could use some more protein, roll up a slice or two of roast beef or turkey. Or pack some cheese cubes.

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