Become a Lunch Packing Pro!
Last updated: October 2023
With our busy schedules, it can take a lot of work to look ahead to the next day and devise a lunch plan. But if you prioritize packing a healthy lunch, this will trickle down to keeping blood sugars stable and an overall healthier you!
Everyone can benefit from learning to pack a healthy lunch, whether you are living with type 2 diabetes or not. Let's dive in and find out how to make this a successful endeavor!
1. Gather the right gear
Make sure you have the right gear. Depending on your work situation, having an insulated lunch box is a great option. This way you can add an ice pack and keep your food fresh until ready!
If you have a refrigerator available, a paper bag will be sufficient. Some people prefer warm lunches. In that case, thermoses are available to keep soup, pasta, or other hot dishes nice and warm.
Quick thermos tip:
- Pour hot or boiling water into your thermos for 5 minutes before adding hot food.
- Dump out the water.
- Add your food of choice.
This will prime your thermos and keep that food warm enough for lunchtime!
Investing in a reusable water bottle is also a great way to keep hydrating fluids within reach and decrease the waste of single-use water bottles.
2. Plan your snacks
Do you often need a snack before or after lunch to help get you through the day? Consider adding a snack or 2 to your lunch box for that time so you won't be tempted to visit the break room or vending machine.
A filling snack usually contains complex carbohydrates (such as whole-grain crackers), a protein, or healthy fat (such as string cheese or peanut butter).
3. Make your meal substantial
Just like it's essential to have a filling snack, packing a complete meal for lunch will keep you feeling full and satisfied. Satisfaction at the end of a meal is a must when avoiding extra snacking or poor food choices later in the day. So, how can you make sure your satisfaction goal is met?
Because protein takes longer for the body to break down than carbohydrates, it is a key component to any satisfying meal. Some ideas for protein foods include cold cuts such as low-sodium turkey or ham, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese.
Add healthy fat
Foods such as nuts, peanut butter, and avocado contain healthy fats that can also add to satiety. These are considered "healthy fats" because they do not contain saturated fats like bacon or butter.
Fresh fruits or veggies
Don't forget the produce! Fruits and vegetables are part of a balanced diet, even if fruit contains natural sugars. Try packing a salad, carrots for dipping, or even an apple.
If you are living with type 2 diabetes, eating a fruit that contains natural sugar is better than choosing foods with added sugars, such as candy, soda, or ice cream.1
The last thing to keep in your satisfying lunch box is complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates contain fiber and are therefore slower to break down than simple carbohydrates.2
Try using whole-grain bread instead of white bread, Wheat Thins instead of Ritz crackers, or brown rice instead of white rice. The fiber in these foods also works as a scrub brush on our insides and can keep things moving along.
Plan and pack
Of course, packing a lunch each day takes some meal planning. Add enough lunch foods to your weekly grocery shopping trip to help keep your options available. Happy packing!
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?