Let’s be honest.
Learning how to cook takes time.
We can spend months, or even years, trying to master the art of healthful meal preparation.
And while we often focus on dinner recipes, we sometimes forget about lunch!
Most of us are on the run during the day, so it can be easy to grab ‘whatever’ or not eat lunch at all.
This is a mistake; it is crucial to get a nutritious midday boost so we have enough energy throughout the afternoon and can avoid unhealthful cravings.
So what should we do about eating healthfully at lunchtime?
We simply need to learn how to get our ‘nutrition on the go’ by preparing a delicious, balanced packed lunch.
And that is why today we will be honoring National Pack Your Lunch Day!
What Is National Pack Your Lunch Day?
While the origins of the ‘holiday’ are unknown, packing your own lunch is a long-time tradition.
People around the globe have been doing it for years—whether it be in a brown paper bag, a piece of cloth, a woven basket, or a reusable plastic box.
In the United Kingdom and India, lunches are packed in ‘tiffin boxes,’ while in Japan they pack their midday meal in ‘bento boxes.’
National Pack Your Lunch Day occurs annually on March 10th, and it is a day dedicated to bringing your own lunch from home as opposed to eating out at a restaurant.
The Pros and Cons of Packing Your Lunch
Like most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to packing your own lunch.
Let’s take a quick look at both:
- Packed lunches are easier on the wallet, saving you money in the long run.
- They are also generally more healthful since you can control exactly what goes into your meal.
- Packed lunches can be much tastier (if you know how to prepare them).
- The possibilities are endless; you are limited only by your imagination rather than the choice of restaurants near your office!
- Packed lunches provide a more restful break. Instead of running out to get lunch and standing in long lines, all you have to do is sit back, relax and eat.
- Packing your own lunch takes more time and planning.
- Keeping packed lunches fresh if you are on the road can be challenging (but for tips, check out our article on How to Mix Travel With Plant-Based Eating).
As you can see, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to packing your own lunch.
You just need to set aside a bit of extra time to plan out that all-important meal.
Packing Lunch Tips
If packing a lunch is new for you, here are seven ideas to get you started:
- Include Protein-Rich Foods: There are many great plant-based proteins (e.g. beans, tofu, whole grains) available that will make you feel full, so you can avoid those afternoon energy crashes.
- Mix Things Up: Pack a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains to keep your meals both healthful and interesting.
- Prep in Advance: Instead of making something new each day, try batch cooking your lunch fare once or twice a week to save time.
- Pack at Night: Preparing your lunch before you go to bed can free up more time on busy mornings.
- Utilize Leftovers: Packaging dinner leftovers for your lunch the next day is an easy solution.
- Make Soup: Make a big pot of soup and bring it in a thermos to keep it hot. This is a great way to get added veggies too!
- Find Some Cool Containers: Move aside, brown paper bag. You can also use mason jars to pack salads and casseroles.
And of course, if you are looking for a new packable lunchtime recipe, give our Hummus Veggie Wrap recipe a try.
It is quick, simple, and will make you look forward to that midday meal.
Have a happy Pack Your Lunch Day everyone!