Lunch Planning 101
by Train Hunt Eat
Depending on your situation, lunch becomes a issue when it comes to nailing down you nutritional needs. It is easier to go to the local fast food establishment when on a job site or on the road. A quick grab and go meal while you are between meetings or flights. It is simple and of course it is. That is the precise reason why fast food establishments make the big dollars. They feed on the parent or business persons that is on the go that needs a quick and affordable meal so that they can get moving on with the next task. Truly, I get it. However, we all know that the fast food lunches that you are throwing down the pie hole is filled with a high carbohydrate, very high fat content, loaded with blood pressure rising salt, etc. calorie dense garbage. We all had the, I am hungry stop there, situation. We load up on the closest burger place, jam down a burger, fries, and a soft drink to only feel like crap later in the day, out of energy and bloated.
How do we get around the energy robing, fast food establishment, need a nap now issue? The answer is lunch meal prep. In this post, we will outline the basics of Lunch Meal Prep 101. You can make it as easy or difficult as you like. However, the purpose of lunch meal prep 101 is to control caloric intake and feed your body the optimal nutrition for your needs and missions (i.e. drop 20 pounds, get ripped, gain muscle, etc).
Where to Start
The first place to start is determining how you are going to store your lunches? Do you have access to a refrigerator or cooler? I personally like containers by EZ Prepa. They have three compartments and allow you to properly store your protein, grains, vegetables, etc. I personally like to keep my food in separate areas because it helps me visually control my intake and I do not like certain foods touching.
The best place to start is by planning. Think about what you want in your lunch meal. Do you need to focus on high caloric intake to keep you fueled as you perform manual labor, or do you need to minimize caloric intake to continue losing weight? Are you looking for a high protein, low carbohydrate balanced meal?
We all have your wants and needs for lunch. I may not want to eat beans but love brown rice. Maybe you love avocado, but I need some lean chicken in my meal box. The only thing to understand is that you need to keep your Lunch Meal Prep components clean. Meaning, no preserved items.
Eating Well is a great website to look at for lunch meal prep ideas. The components of your lunch prep should be follows:
- Choose 1-2 servings of lean protein
- 1 serving =3 oz. chicken, fish or beef; 1/2 cup tofu; 1/2 cup edamame; 1 egg; 2 Tbsp. hummus; 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils
- Add in 1 serving of fiber-rich carbohydrates
- 1 serving =1/2 cup cooked brown rice, quinoa or whole-wheat pasta; 1 cup edamame; 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils; 1 cup winter squash
- Include 1 or more servings of nutrient-dense vegetable.
- 1 serving =1 cup raw or cooked vegetables; 2 cups leafy greens; 1 large bell pepper or tomato; 2 medium carrots or celery stalks
- Incorporate 1 serving of healthy fat.
- 1 serving =1/4 of an avocado; 1 Tbsp. pumpkin or sunflower seeds; 1 oz. nuts (24 almonds, 48 pistachios; 14 walnut halves); 1 tsp. olive oil
Keep it clean and keep it simple. Meal planning should not put undue stress on your life. However, meal planning should meet your basic needs of protein, carbohydrates, and lipids (fats). Plan a day or two before your normal work week, keeps some meals in the refrigerator and some in the freezer (for the end of the week) and you are good to go. Keep moving forward and making progress in your overall health.
Remember, Small Changes = Big Results!
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