When reviewing food diaries and talking to people about food challenges, I’ve found poor choices at lunchtime to be one of the most common characteristics. It can be tough having a good lunch ready, especially if you have a partner and kids to prepare for too. But if you have a long, busy day, having a good lunch ready is essential. It prevents you from buying convenience “food” and helps to keep your health and fitness goals on track.
Before we look at some tips for a healthier lunch, note that preparing lunch is a habit that you’re going to need to develop. That means adopting a different mind-set in lieu of wanting to make a change, and then instilling several smaller habits to fuel the bigger habit of having a healthy lunch every day.
- GOALS & EMOTIONS
Goal setting is a powerful progress tool. Goals must however be objective. For example, “I’m going to have a healthy lunch packed for three work days a week for four weeks.” It needs to be measurable and repeatable, so numbers must form a part of the goal. Goals must have emotions attached to them to. For the above goal; “I’m going to feel healthier if I achieve the goal,” or, “I’m going to feel sluggish if I don’t achieve the goal.” Whenever you feel like straying from working to the goal, refer back to those emotions to keep you on track.
- COOK ENOUGH DINNER FOR LEFTOVERS
This is arguably the easiest thing you can do for having a good lunch ready every day. Simply double up!
- PACK YOUR LUNCH IMMEDIATELY AFTER DINNER
Before you wash up, pack your leftover dinner into microwaveable containers. If you leave it for the next morning you may end up not having the time to get it done, and it’s easy to find a lazy excuse not to pack the lunch.
- HAVE BACK UPS IN THE PANTRY
If you’re on the road or you don’t have access to a kitchen at work, or if you often eat out for dinner, you’re going to need to have healthy convenient options prepared. Biltong, nuts, boiled eggs, salads, fruit, and pre-cooked poultry are all great on-the-go options.
- PREP, PREP, PREP!
You’re going to opt for processed and refined foods, unless you have good food ready. That’s because just about all convenience foods are refined and processed. So whatever it takes to ensure that you always have good food available, or at the very least, know where to find healthy food to buy. Do a weekly grocery shop for fresh produce, buy items such as biltong, nuts and dried fruit in bulk, have a big cook up on one of the days and pack it into the fridge or freezer, making enough for leftovers, and even planning a weekly menu are things you can do to prepare you for a healthy lunch daily. And that means preparing you for success!