I feel as though most people would agree that lunch is the WORST. It’s hard to plan ahead for, it seems to be the meal that could be eaten at way too wide a range of times (11 AM or 3 PM lunches, when you’re hard at work, aren’t uncommon) AND it’s usually eaten from behind a computer screen. You’re taking a 15-minute-lunch break, right? So then it’s time for Facebook, news online, etc.
The fact of the matter is, if you can, it’s a great idea to get up and walk around a bit when you’re taking a lunch break. You’ll feel much more refreshed, especially if you can manage to get outside and walk, than if you stay seated. If you eat lunch in a staff room, take your 15 or 20 minutes to eat, and then suggest walking around with a colleague… I did this last summer and it was fantastic! If you’re like me, your job and your life are way too sedentary… I really need to start doing something about it. Squeezing all my movement into one hour of working out isn’t doing enough, according to this article and many others like it: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sitting-for-too-long-can-kill-you-even-if-you-exercise-study-1.2918678
Oh, right… lunches… let’s get back to the fun part: FOOD!
Here are a few ideas to make lunch food packing a little easier:
- Plan. Unfortunately we hear this a lot, but it’s because it’s THAT important. Find planning that works for you. Some people like to make all their lunches for hte week on Sunday night, some the night before, and some first thing when they up. Find the timing that works for you.
- Leftovers. If you have a fridge and microwave at work, this is KEY! You’ll notice in the lunches I post, most meals involve leftovers.
- Invest in a cooler lunch bag. Not just a hipper lunch bag, but a lunch bag that keeps your food cool! Every since I bought a Roots lunch bag at Costco, I’m much more excited about packing my lunch.
- Look for packaged food that are as close to real as possible… look for yogurts, granola bars, apple sauces, trail mixes, etc. that are reasonably portioned, with easy-to-read ingredients and no added sugar.
- Consider treat day. Just like in grade school, it’s nice to have a day of the week that you buy a part of your lunch out. Maybe even pack the money in your super cool lunch bag (see tip #3). I usually allow myself a fancier drink at Starbucks on Fridays. Sometimes I’ll get an order of anitjitos instead, at my favourite place on campus. Obviously this doesn’t work if you don’t have access to these kinds of places. If you do, though, it’s fun to save the treat for a special day of the week or when you really need it, knowing that you’ve earned it by packing your lunch each day.
- Fruit!!! Especially if you don’t have any at breakfast, lunch is a great time of the day to pack grapes or berries– it’s even easier if you include fruits like apples, pears, peaches, etc. that require even less prep!
- Supplement your lunch with snacks that you keep at work. My favourites: almonds, snappea crisps, extra granola bars, and sometimes I’ll even bring skinny pop (or other pre-popped popcorn). This is so nice on days when I haven’t packed enough, or I’m extra hungry after my workout.
- Pack more. I think many people would look at my lunch and be surprised by how many calories I eat around noon. My defence- I workout in the mornings AND I’d rather load up on calories in the morning rather than later in the day, when your body has a harder time burning them off. ALSO, why have we created a culture where people look at your lunch and judge it, or compare it to theirs? Don’t be that person who compares their lunch- unless you tell someone that their leftovers look or smell unreal, and that you want the recipe!
Here are some pictures of my lunches from 4 days… Note, this is the most boring thing ever I think. But I love looking at what people pack for lunch, so I thought I would post in spite of the boring-ness.
Yours, in health…