Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? It’s a time when Dietitians, Nutritionists, Naturopaths and other health professionals across Canada go to great lengths to remind us about the importance and benefits of healthy eating. This year, the focus of Nutrition Month is “eating well at work” (in fact, the slogan for this year’s campaign is “Eating 9 to 5!”). Given how hectic our schedules are these days and how quick, easy and tempting it is to fill our empty stomachs while at work with fast food or, even worse, vending machine fare, it’s no wonder that our energy levels are dropping, our waistlines are expanding and our overall health is becoming increasingly compromised. One of the best ways to eat healthy foods at work is to pack your own lunch and snacks. Here’s why:
- CONTROLLING WHAT YOU EAT: When you prepare and pack your own lunch, you have more control over what goes into your meal. Food served at many restaurants and fast food locations is high in calories and filled with more sugar and sodium than is healthy. The portion sizes served at many restaurants are also much larger than is needed. When you prepare your own lunch, you control what ingredients are in your food and you control how much food you are going to eat. Many restaurants and fast food menus lack nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. When these items are included in meals, they are often prepared in ways that drastically increases the amount of salt, sugar, fat and calories in the foods. By preparing your own lunch at home, you’ll be able to include items such as apples, baby carrots, celery, whole grain bread and a variety of other healthy items that rarely show up on the menu at a fast food location.
- YOU CAN ACTUALLY SAVE MONEY: In addition to allowing for more control and more nutrition, preparing and packing your own lunch can also save you a lot of money. A recent study discovered that the average Canadian spends about $8.80 each time when eating lunch out. This might not sound like much, but it adds up. After tax, eating out three times a week at $8.80 each meal leads to spending about $20,000 on takeout lunches over 10 years. Preparing your own meals is significantly less expensive.
- THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND: Pack your lunch the night before so that you have one less task to take care of in the morning. Use a thermal lunch box and an ice pack to keep foods that require refrigeration cold and safe. Pack a variety of foods to prevent boredom. Consider wrapping up leftovers from dinner, storing them safely and eating them for lunch the next day. This can make preparing your lunch significantly easier and quicker. Plan your lunches at the beginning of the week so that you don’t end up in a situation where you have no options available. Don’t forget about snacks! Rather than heading to the vending machine, bring some snacks with you to work. Fruit, chopped vegetables, yogurt, nuts, seeds and many other foods make great healthy snacks. Just be sure to control your portion sizes and avoid prepared foods that contain high amounts of sugar (such as flavoured yogurts) and salt (such as salted nuts.)
If you need help with making changes to your diet or with taking other steps to proactively improve you health, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healther Starts Here.