Lunch is one of those meals that is commonly missed, or people often find themselves grabbing whatever they can between work meetings or classes. This usually means that lunch is not the most nutritious meal of the day, and can often be wasteful as well. Trash cans are regularly stocked full of garbage, uneaten food, paper napkins, baggies, foil, juice boxes, plastic straws and a lot more. Luckily, there are plenty of tactics out there for packing a nutritious waste free lunch. Are you ready to take the quality of your lunch to the next level? This article will touch on packing a nutritious and waste free lunch.
While a home made lunch may take a little bit more planning and a few more minutes of your time, if you consider all of the obvious benefits to packing a nutritious waste free lunch, hopefully you know that the extra effort is well worth it.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables - Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals and rich in fiber, which makes people less likely to over eat. They also reduce the risk of diabetes, some cancers, and constipation. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be packaged whole or wrapped in cloth for easy transportation without waste.
Whole grains - These food items, like breads, muffins, pita, tortillas, pasta, rice and cereal, lavash and crackers are high in protein and fiber and provide excellent vitamins and minerals. Most of these items can be wrapped in cloth or carried in reusable recycled plastic containers for waste free transportation.
Beans and nuts - Beans and nuts are great for protein sources rather than eggs, meats or whole-milk dairy products. These are healthy options that provide less fat, more fiber, and far fewer preservatives.
Water - Bring water instead of soda, fruit punch, juice and other fruit flavored drinks. Water is what our bodies truly need and does not deplete our bodies of much needed vitamins, minerals and calcium.
The following things should be limited: Fats, especially hydrogenated fats and oils, and partially hydrogenated fats and oils, sodium and foods containing increased sodium, and sweets which can lead to the excess consumption of sugars which can depress immunity.
When packing a nutritious and waste free lunch, it is essential that you vary your fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains. Check the ingredient label of each of the food items you buy before you make your purchase.
You should pack the lunches the night before, storing them over night in the refrigerator. Maximize your leftovers by preparing extra servings during dinner for the following day's lunches, and pack the leftovers in the evening during your dinner clean up. If you are preparing the lunches for your children, elicit their help and teach them how to create their own lunches. Keep fresh and nutritious foods on hand at all time, including nuts and dried fruits for quick emergency snacks.
Once you make packing a waste free lunch a pat of your daily routine, it becomes quite easy. Make sure of sturdy containers to prevent squishing from occurring. Most plastic containers are constructed from recycled plastic and are microwave and dishwasher safe and fully reusable. Pack some foods folded in cloth if squishing is not a risk.
You are mainly trying to avoid plastic bags, plastic wraps, aluminum or tin foils, and other prepackaged goodies whenever possible. You can save a lot of money by buying food in larger containers and then dividing it out into smaller reusable plastic containers. This works especially well for fruits and vegetables, which fit well when diced up into smaller containers. You should also opt for a refillable drink bottle to save on plastic, and a cloth napkin rather than a paper one to save on paper waste.