9 Everyday Tips for Healthy Bag Lunches & Snacks

By Rita Larsen, Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Counselor

Guidelines for Healthy Eating and Snacking on a Daily Basis

Whether the kids are headed off to school or you are brown bagging it to work, many of us prepare and pack our own snacks and lunches every day. Use the tips below to help you be mindful of your food choices not just during lunch, but all day long!

  1. Not all foods are created equal! Pick out foods that are best for your normal day, every day.
  2. Plan to emphasize what is most important in your diet. For example, high quality protein, fiber, and fulfilling daily fruit/vegetable requirements.
  3. Make a schedule for yourself and include times, places, and content of what you will be eating for the day to hold yourself accountable.
    • 10:00am Snack: Fruit
    • Noon Lunch: Entree, salad, milk (school lunch)
    • 3:00pm Snack: Popcorn
    • Also have an idea of what your night time dinner will be like and what time you plan to eat (so the whole family can attend & you can give yourself enough time to prepare)
  4. Drink plenty of fluids, including water throughout the day.
  5. Be aware of the salt content of most snack foods.
  6. Make comparisons of packaged food items–making sure you have selected the best in terms of calories, salt, and fats.
  7. Remember, too many calories and fats can lead to feeling sluggish and tired in the afternoon.
  8. Keep your eye on the caffeine in beverages–too much soda or caffeinated beverages cause you to feel jittery later in the day and actually take away from your energy base.
  9. Choose foods that provide the most energy throughout the day.
    • Whole Wheat Toast vs. Sweet Roll
    • Baked Potato vs. French Fries
    • Fruited Yogurt vs. Chocolate Cake

Try including the following recipe in your next bag lunch as a snack with tortilla chips or compliment to your entree (such as a chicken breast or fish).

Quick Easy Black Bean Salsa

Quick & Easy Black Bean Salsa

1-15oz. can Black Beans
1-11oz. can Shoepeg Corn
1-16oz. jar Salsa with Cilantro
1 medium Red Pepper, chopped
1 bunch Green Scallions, chopped
Lemon juice, cumin, and minced garlic to taste.

Mix all ingredients. Best if prepared the day before.

1/3 cup = 75 calories

Looking for more nutrition advice or other snack and lunch recipe ideas? We offer plenty of ongoing group & private programs with Elite’s own Registered Dietitian. Just let us know a little about yourself and your goals to get started!

There is Not Only One Way to Approach Eating, Diet & Nutrition-Finding the Program That Works for You!

Here's what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these is 500cal!
Here’s what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these are 500 calories that you could easily eliminate!

By Rita Larsen, R.D., Professional Dietary Counseling, Elite Sports Clubs

Many people will be confused in the thought that there is only one way to approach a new eating plan. If they do not follow it, they are sure to be a failure. Truthfully, diet and related eating plans will work in your favor almost every time as long as you have created enough change. This change will come through a number of situations, such as exercise, a new eating plan, or an alteration in the eating schedule. Let’s examine this idea a little further.

Experts suggest that any time there is a desire to change the quantity or quality of the foods we are eating for the ultimate “body transformation” it is possible to do with minimal changes to your current program. For example:

Weight loss occurs with the reduction of 500 calories at the most for a day. It does not need to be any more than that. If this is true, find the food in the least important spot; as a snack in the afternoon of a bag of chips or a candy, and eliminate it. It could be all that you need to do!

Next, plan to regroup the foods that you are eating into a new “schedule”. Eating earlier in the day works the best! If you cannot do this, then divide the foods evenly throughout the day so that it will make sense for your schedule. Never too much at any one time is a good guide!

Finally, plan to put a little more exercise in the works! Another 60 minutes per week will help your program a great deal. Most of the time, people have a harder time taking time for exercise than any concern with the exercise. Allow yourself the chance to do something new for you!

Ideas: Plan the food in a way that works for you!

  • Cut one food item out that doesn’t even mean anything!
  • Add just a little more exercise a week!

WHATEVER PLAN YOU COME UP WITH SHOULD BE THE ONE THAT WORKS ONLY FOR YOU!

Rita is available for one-on-one consultations and also offers group programs to help you reach your weight loss goals, starting with an easy approach to eating as mentioned above! Get started today by letting us know a little more about you and your goals!