I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, but somehow, a job opportunity that required me to be a lot more active dropped in my lap this month. At first, I wondered if I had truly lost my mind; but somehow, being required to be outside with teenagers in PE classes seemed to be the perfect motivation to kick start me into a healthier lifestyle.
One aspect of my suddenly very active job that I didn’t even think about was packing myself a lunch. When my son was attending public school, it was easier to pack myself a good lunch because I was already in the kitchen packing his school lunch. However, once he started school online, my lunches deteriorated. Whatever I could grab that was handy, the occasional take out pizza, and bowls of cereal soon made their way into my lunch bag, often gobbled down on the fly without any real time to rest and re-charge. I’d arrive home hungry and cranky, never really set for the day but rather just barely getting through it.
There’s something about working in a job where I’m active that makes me want to make sure I’m fueled for the day and not grabbing something on the fly. Gone are the lunches on the go-instead, I’ve made a real effort to pack myself something healthy and filling. I’ve found that instead of coming home hungry and tired, I’m sailing through the day, and you can too!
Pack what you can the night before
Cleaning up after dinner is a perfect time to portion out things into containers, chop vegetables, and more. I stack cold things in the fridge, put anything that doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge in my lunch bag on the counter. Doing this makes mornings so much easier, because all I have to do is pop everything into my bag when it’s time to go.
Drink to health
Water is the best drink that you can take with you, and you can keep landfills empty by buying and bringing your own re-useable water bottle. That mid-afternoon slump might mean that you are dehydrated, rather than in need of something from the vending machine. My trick is to have a good drink and see if I’m still hungry a few minutes later. Often, I’m not.
Fruits and veggies are winners!
We adults are just like kids—if my cucumbers are chopped into pieces I can just pop into my mouth, I eat more of them. Try buying things that require little prep, like cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and mini carrots so that you aren’t spending time prepping. Fruit such as grapes, berries, and things that I can eat on the run survive my lunch bag the best and aren’t messy or hard to eat.
Don’t forget the small touches
Just like the kids, we need a little fun in our lunchbox. Remember to pack some cute napkins, cutlery, and tuck in a small treat to savor. I like to treat myself to a small piece of chocolate or a cookie when I’m in the mood for something sweet. Giving yourself permission to have a little something will keep you from indulging more than you should later.
Take the time
We’re all busy, but taking the time to sit and savor lunch, rather than gulping it down on the fly, will leave you more relaxed, recharged, and able to think better. It may seem like it’s not a big deal to eat at your computer or desk, but trust me—taking the time is worth it.
YOU are worth it.