Packing a Healthy Lunch

An Important Meal
Lunch is an important part of the day. It is a time for you to recharge your system and relax your brain. It is vital for you to get a well-balanced meal that will keep you energized for the rest of the day. A great way to save some money and maintain your figure is to pack your lunch for work instead of eating out.

Contents of a Healthy Lunch
A healthy lunch should include:
  • Fruit or vegetable
  • Lean protein (chicken, turkey, tuna or hummus)
  • Starch (bread, pasta, rice or potatoes) - preferably something high in fiber such as whole grains as it will keep you full longer
Top Five Healthy Lunch Box Tips
  • Base the main part of the lunch on foods like bread, cereal, rice, pasta or potatoes.
  • Get creative with some alternatives to sandwiches (e.g., whole-grain pita pockets, tortilla wraps or pasta salad). 
  • Include some protein, such as lean meat, chicken, tuna, ham, cheese, egg or hummus.
  • Pop a cool pack or a frozen drink in the lunch box to keep it cool.
  • Try a variety of different drinks like fruit juice, water, yogurt or milk.
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Additional Helpful Tips

Here are some more helpful tips for packing a healthy lunch:

  • Add the goods. Make sure you are including healthy foods like vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Try things like carrots and low-fat dip, whole grain crackers and low-fat yogurt, or baked pita chips and hummus.
  • Mix it up. Changing what is inside your lunch each day will prevent you from getting bored and switching back to fast food.
  • Skip the soda. Add 100% fruit juice instead. Unlike soda, which is high in sugar, 100% fruit juice does not have any added sugar. One serving of this juice, often counts for one serving of fruit for the day. You could also add skim or 1% milk or even just a bottle of water.
  • Substitute ‘em. There are many healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. Instead of potato chips, which are high in fat and sodium, try baked chips or unbuttered popcorn. Instead of candy, try granola bars or apple slices. 

For More Information
For more information about healthy foods and cooking, visit the American Heart Association Nutrition Center.