5 Essentials for Packing a Healthy Lunch
How to avoid extra calories during your midday meal.
Americans are buying lunch instead of bringing it from home nearly three times per week, according to a national survey. But given that the typical restaurant lunch has more than 1,000 calories, you're better off packing your own every day. "You often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but a solid lunch is key to staying energized," says Toby Amidor, a registered dietitian. Whether you're a lunch-packing newbie or just need some fresh tools and tricks, start here.
Lunchbots Condiment Containers
The World Health Organization recommends that adults get no more than 5 percent of their daily calories from added sugars, but desserts and snacks aren't the only sources to watch out for. Condiments and dressings are among the sneakiest sugar culprits. These leakproof, 1.5-ounce stainless steel containers can help you from going overboard. ($25 for set of three; lunchbots.com
Good Habit Subscription Box
You won't feel as drawn to the office vending machine if you have tempting snacks on hand. Good Habit Box, a new snack subscription service, delivers calorie-conscious nibbles you can throw in your purse or keep at your desk. Not only does it allow you to choose your delivery frequency (biweekly or monthly), but you can also pick snack packs based on a particular goal. For instance, the Be Mindful box features teas, packs of oatmeal, and snacks like pistachios or honey-balsamic cashews, while the Be Balanced plan adds protein shake powders. ($8 to $20 per box; goodhabitbox.com
Since the 1970s, our nation's portion sizes have ballooned. And considering that 54 percent of Americans belong to the clean-plate club, that's bad news. The Monbento box has two stackable, 17-ounce airtight containers that can help with portion control: One rectangular dish works well for your entrée, while the other comes with a movable divider to split small sides or snacks. And the bright colors make it a little harder for the office bandit to "mistake" your lunch for hers. ($30; us.monbento.com
SoYoung Cooler Bag
SoYoung's fun and funky lunch totes don't just look cool—they keep food cool, too, with a removable insert to insulate your kale-and-quinoa salad. Just don't forget the ice packs; without them, perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours. ($37; us.soyoung.ca
Forgot your lunch? It happens. But it needn't derail your healthy-eating streak. To find meal options based on, say, calorie targets at nearby restaurants, download the HealthyOut app. You might end up with a guac-topped veggie salad bowl at Chipotle or a tuna wrap from your favorite local sandwich shop. (Free; available for iPhone and Android)