Before I dive into the tips, let’s be real: Packing a lunch every day can be tough. Motivation is the first ingredient in packing a healthy lunch, and staying stocked up and energised in your daily lunch-packing are the most important things. So, some of these points deal with motivation as much as they do practical tips. I hope you find them useful!
Ten handy tips for packing lunch every day
#1: Prioritise your health
The first key to staying motivated? Keeping your health goals in clear focus. You simply have more control over any health goal – eating more fruits and vegetables, lowering calories, eating less fat, and so on – by packing your own lunch.
My motivation stems from how great I feel by eating a healthy, balanced diet. I bring my lunch and it’s usually a salad bowl that I prepped the night before. I’m on a diet and I track my calorie intake on a fitness app. Doing this has helped me realise that I don’t want to “spend” hundreds of calories on a panini filled with bacon, avocado and other fatty, high-calorie foods!
#2: Prioritise your budget
Another benefit to remember, especially if you have specific saving or financial goals, is that packing a lunch is almost always cheaper than eating out.
Not spending money on fast food or premade meals for lunch every day keeps me motivated!
#3: Prioritise taste
Homemade lunch nearly always tastes better, don’t you think? That’s enough motivation for all of us!
#4: Make enough dinner for leftovers
Once you’ve found the motivation that works best for you, how to put it into practise? One of the most obvious tips, but one you’ve heard over and over, is to make dinnertime work for lunch too.
I cook enough dinner so there are leftovers for lunch. Steamed chicken, seared salmon and boiled veggies are always great options that work for both mealtimes!
#5: Put leftovers in your lunchbox right after dinner
Getting super-practical here, I know, but put your dinner leftovers in your lunchbox or lunch container right after dinner before you wash up to save time.
#6: Have backup staples ready to go
Freshly-made or leftovers – either way, it’s good to have some fill-in staples ready to go for days when your lunch isn’t quite enough or there aren’t any leftovers. Always have cooked chicken and lettuce on hand. This will make preparing a salad for lunch much quicker and easier.
#7: Don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t like
If lunch isn’t something you like, then it will be a chore. Make sure you’re packing yourself something to look forward to. If you wouldn’t be satisfied with it at home, don’t pack it for lunch – that’s my theory. It seems obvious, but I think sometimes we force ourselves into eating something we don’t really like because it’s “healthy”.
Learn what you like, and pack those foods for lunch. I’ve learned that I really like steamed veggies, soups and chicken breast fillets.
#8: Use leftovers creatively
Leftovers aren’t just leftovers – it can get boring eating the same old thing day after day, so find ways to mix it up. My main trick is reinventing leftovers for fun lunches.
For example: If I make burritos for dinner, I’ll pack a bean salad (veggie-filled refried beans with cheddar, salsa, avocado and plain yoghurt) for lunch. The Internet (and Pinterest) is your best friend when it comes to thinking up exciting ways to recreate leftovers!
#9: Write out a packing list for the morning
If you pack your lunches in the morning, have a packing list on your fridge so you can remember everything that should go into your lunchbox. It’s like preparing to go grocery shopping in your fridge!
#10: Buddy up with a co-worker
Trying to resist visiting the pizza joint downstairs for lunch? Find a co-worker to eat homemade lunch with you a few days a week. Share ideas and recipes as well, to help enjoy meals and maintain motivation!