Packed Lunch

It’s that time of year again! The season of frolicking in the sun, summer barbecues, family gatherings, and patio lunches  is winding down, and the new school year is upon us. The first week after Labour Day is often a time for a reset. With things getting back to a regular routine, it’s a great time to recommit to some of your healthy living goals. An easy, approachable first step is to commit to packing your lunch every day. Not only is it a budget-friendly option to eating out, it’s healthier! When you pack your own lunch, you are in total control, and can ensure you are prepping good-for-you options.

 

Tired of sandwiches? Sick of salads? Why not try creating your own bento-style lunch. Originating in Japan, a bento lunch is a single-portion packed meal consisting of a variety of foods, (typically meat, rice, vegetables, and a snack) packed in a multi-compartment container. Reusable bento lunchboxes are readily available at most retailers, and you can use your imagination to fill it with your favourite lunch-time foods. The combinations are endless, so you won’t tire of it any time soon.

 

Packing a bento

Wondering where to start? Focus on packing foods you like (to resist the temptation to duck out for a less than healthy takeout lunch), and ensuring you have a balance of proteins, carbs, veggies, and snacks. Focusing on zero Points® foods is a great way to keep the overall SmartPoints low, while still feeling satisfied and energized.

 

Check out the video above for some ideas on how to pack a bento lunch, and below for some starter ideas.

 

Pick a protein

Lean proteins can help you feel full, but not stuffed, and many are zero Points foods.

Hard-boiled eggs

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 13 g of protein (per two eggs)
  • Excellent source of vitamin A

Chopped grilled chicken breast

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 37 g of protein (per 1, 120g breast)

Lean turkey breast deli meat

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 7 g of protein (per 2 oz)
  • 7% of your daily value of iron (per 2 oz)

 

Bean salad (in 0 SmartPoints dressing)

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 2 g dietary fibre (per ½ cup)
  • High in iron and zinc

 

Choose a carb

Complex carbohydrates (unprocessed grains and starchy vegetables) can provide a sustained energy without the crash of simpler carbs.

Brown rice

  • 3 SmartPoints
  • 7% of your daily value of fibre (per 1/2 cup)
  • Insoluble fibre helps keep you fuller for longer

 

Quinoa

  • 3 SmartPoints
  • 4 g of protein (per ½ cup)
  • High in iron and fibre

 

Weight Watchers Multigrain Sandwich Thins

  • 3 SmartPoints
  • Less than 100 calories (per thin)

 

Sweet potatoes

  • 3 SmartPoints
  • 2 g fibre (per ½ cup)
  • 238% of your daily value of vitamin A

 

Load up on veggies

Veggies provide nutrients and fibre to help you get through your day.

Broccoli florets

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 40% of your daily value of vitamin C (per ½ cup)
  • Good source of fibre

Spinach

  • 0 SmartPoints
  • 1 g of protein (per 1 cup)
  • Excellent source of vitamins A,C, and iron

 

Mixed greens

  • 0 SmartPoints (per 1 cup)
  • High in vitamins A,C, and K as well as folate

 

Chopped mixed veggies

  • 0 SmartPoints​
  • 8% of your daily value of fibre (per ½ cup)
  • The brighter, the better

 

Select a snack

Add in a little treat to your bento, to kick any 3 p.m. energy dips.

Roasted chickpeas

  • 5 SmartPoints
  • 50% of your daily value of fibre (per ½ cup)
  • Drying vegetables (or fruits) increases the calories per ounce

 

Almonds

  • 4 SmartPoints
  • 30% of your daily value of fibre (per ¼ cup)
  • A good source of heart-healthy fats

 

Hummus

  • 3 SmartPoints
  • 4 g of protein (per ¼ cup)
  • High in fibre and iron

 

Peanut butter

  • 6 SmartPoints
  • 7 g of protein (per 2 Tbsp)
  • High in iron

 

Mix and match to create your personalized bento lunch!