A Stronger Generation
Welcome to the first installment of “What’s in Your Lunchbox?”. I thought it would be fitting to start with a little overview of some of my favorite things to pack! My main priority when packing lunches is to choose whole, nutritious foods that will keep my energy up and get me through that afternoon slump, but as a college student ease and convenience definitely factor in. Oftentimes I am asked by friends “how can I find time to pack a healthy lunch while taking classes, doing homework, being involved in campus organizations, and working part-time?” If you are wondering the same thing, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to find my weekly shopping list.
First, let’s start with accessibility. Do you have a microwave that you can use? How about a refrigerator? A lot of what I pack depends on what is available to me where I am going. Sometimes a lunchbox with an ice pack and a cold lunch is sufficient, but especially during those chilly winter months it’s nice to have a hot meal. I pack lunch most weekdays, and one of the easiest things to pack is leftovers from the night before. Soup, roast, or anything that you cook in bulk is a great option to throw into a microwave-safe container and heat up quickly. If you don’t have a microwave available but still want to pack leftovers, try a cold chicken salad or even a slice of roast beef on some 100% whole wheat bread. Cooking something the night before (or even a couple days in advance-whatever works best for you!) is simple and doesn’t leave you wondering what to pack when fighting that morning rush.
Now let’s talk sides- these need to be not only healthy but also hassle-free and delicious. Some of my favorites are:
*baby carrots and mini bell peppers with hummus
*apples, bananas, or any whole fruit
*almonds, pecans, cashews go nuts!
*whole grain crackers with peanut butter (I like to make little sandwiches)
Of course, packing healthy lunches doesn’t work if you don’t make it a priority. Decide what you want out of your lunchtime and go from there. To make things easier, I have formulated a list of staple items I am sure to grab when I make my weekly grocery store visit:
-mandarin oranges (A.K.A “Cuties”)
-sugar snap peas
-all-natural lunchmeat like chicken or turkey
-nuts of any variety
-100% whole wheat crackers
-100% whole wheat bread
-any chicken, beef, or other protein for cooking
-Ashley Voeller is a college student, future dietitian, dancer and blogger