Packing A Healthy Lunch For Adults

Packing a healthy lunch is not only important for school aged children, but also for adults. In addition to saving time and money, packing a healthy lunch can help you maintain a healthy weight and provide important nutrients that your body needs for optimal health. Here are 5 smart tips to help you pack a nutrient punch into your sack lunch:

1)      Include servings from at least 3 of the 5 food groups. (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy):

Eating a wide variety of food groups helps to ensure that you get the nutrients that you need for health and to fuel your body and brain throughout the day.

2)      Include nutrient-rich choices from each food group:

Fruits and vegetables- Include brightly colored fruits and vegetables. For example, add spinach leaves or romaine lettuce to a sandwich instead of ice berg lettuce.

Whole grains- Whole grain products are made from the entire grain kernel, where refined grains have removed parts that include important nutrients.  Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other key nutrients (iron, antioxidants, B vitamins). Rather than selecting bread based on color, (brown bread is not necessarily whole grain), check the ingredient list and choose those made with whole grain or whole wheat flour.

Lean proteins- When it comes to deli meats, choose turkey or chicken breast, ham or roast beef instead of higher fat choices like salami and bologna. Other great choices include tuna, peanut butter or hummus.

Dairy- Pack low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. These products contain the same important nutrients (vitamin D, calcium, protein, etc.) as the full-fat products but without the fat. 

3)      Aim for variety:

Try not to pack the same thing every day, even though you may be content eating a turkey sandwich and an apple 5 days a week. Each food provides a unique nutrient package so variety is key to a healthy diet.

4)      Think about your drink:

Avoid empty calorie drinks that provide added sugar but little to no nutrients such as soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks or energy drinks. Instead pack low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice or bottled water.

5)      Don’t forget about food safety:

To prevent foodborne illness, pack your lunch in an insulated lunch bag and include an ice pack to maintain the proper temperature of perishable foods.  You can also freeze lunch box items such as bottled water, juice boxes or yogurt to help keep items cold. Also keep your lunch in the refrigerator until you leave for work. 

Please note: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any particular illness or condition, nor is it intended to support any particular product or service. You should always consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your healthcare routine.

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