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Let’s ‘Brown Bag It’

How many of you remember carrying your lunch to school as a kid? Did you carry it in a little brown paper bag? So many of us used to. But, with the convenience of fast food restaurants, snack machines and even cafeteria’s in our workplaces, many of us have forgotten about the art of packing our own lunch. We think it’s time to bring it back! Well… maybe not the actual brown paper bag. But, packing your own lunch (in a reusable lunch container, of course) can benefit your waistline, as well as the environment. Below are our top 3 tips to make it easier for you to get back in the habit, especially since Mom isn’t here to pack it for us anymore!

  1. 1.       Pack it the night before.  Let’s face it. It is hard enough to get everybody up, ready and out of the house in the mornings. The last thing you want to do is add another step, like making your lunch, to that crazy mix. If you pack your lunch the night before, (right after dinner, or when the kids go to bed) you’re more likely to stick with the plan and get to work with your homemade lunch.
  2. 2.       Keep it simple. Just because you are taking your own lunch doesn’t mean that it has to be a gourmet specialty that will make everyone else in the office jealous. Things that can be put together very easily, and that are fairly mobile will be a great choice.
  3. 3.       Include one food from each food group.  We all hate those late afternoon hunger pains from an unsatisfying lunch. Avoid those by including foods from each food group. Proteins will keep you fuller, longer, while the others will help keep you fully satisfied.

So, exactly what kind of lunch are we talking about? Included below is an example of an ideal lunch that is simple, filling and downright tasty!

  • Turkey sandwich:  Include light miracle whip, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and any other vegetables you enjoy.  If you like avocados, they will also add a great taste to this sandwich.
  • Cottage cheese and fruit: Any fruit is great with cottage cheese. But, berries in particular provide a great flavor combination and are full of antioxidants.
  • Lunch is also a great time to get some of your recommended daily water. So, ditch that diet soda and enjoy an ice cold glass of water instead.

As good as this meal is, you will get tired of it if you eat it every day. So, if you are struggling to come up with your own bag lunch ideas, be sure to check out “Bag Lunches and Snacks” available at www.NCEScatalog.com.

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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Need to Know About Healthy Lunches

1) Give the food pyramid some equality. Try to have a representative from each of the food groups. This ensures a good mix of vitamins and nutrients, and gives a great opportunity to vary up your lunch on a daily basis.
2) Put variety in the most mundane of places. Instead of using the same bread every day, try cycling between white, whole wheat and multi-grain. Maybe you could use bagels, wraps, or rolls instead. Give each ingredient of your lunch some thought as to how you can make it more interesting.
3) Recycle your meat. Don’t use processed lunch meat, which are normally high in sodium, try using your leftover meats from the dinner the night before. Chicken can be shopped up and put in a sandwich, or made into chicken salad.
4) Break outside of the sandwich mold. If you cringe at the thought of putting ingredients between two slabs of bread day in and day out, vary things up by substituting a good soup or stew. Try a pasta dish as well.
5) Keep your snacking in check. If you have to have your chips, try a 100-calorie pack to keep your consumption in check. Curb your cravings the healthy way.
6) Fruits and veggies are friends. Even if fruits and vegetables aren’t your best friends when it comes to eating, you can still make things appetizing by including a dipping sauce for them, or mixing them into your yogurt.

Eating the same lunch day-in and day-out can be very boring and make it hard to eat a well-rounded, healthy lunch. Use these tips and visit our website at http://www.ncescatalog.com to keep your lunch interesting!