Diet Nutrition

Gemma McCaw explains why you should rethink packed lunches

If you think a packed lunch is just for kids, think again! Making your own goodies to take to work can have huge benefits – both for your health and your bank balance.

Former Black Sticks captain Gemma McCaw has made a career out of being fit and healthy, so she knows a thing or two about wellness. Each week Gemma shares her tips on how to live healthier, from getting started on your fitness to how to increase your water intake, why you should cut down on sugar and how to do it. This week she gives her advice on how packing your own lunches can benefit your body and your bank balance.

If you think a packed lunch is just for kids, think again! Making your own goodies to take to work can have huge benefits – both for your health and your wallet.

So when you're making the school lunchboxes in the morning or the night before, how about whipping one up for yourself too?

That way, you can ensure you'll have healthy, nutritious food, rather than relying on café offerings, which can often be calorie-dense and low in nutrients, not to mention expensive.

Take a break

Do you find yourself eating at your desk most days? Try to step away and head outside for some fresh air while you eat your packed lunch. Even better, grab a workmate and go for a stroll outside – it can do wonders for your stress
levels, thinking and creativity.

Bite to eat

Bento boxes bring fun and variety to kids' lunches. Pack the small compartments with healthy sandwiches or wraps, vege sticks, cheese, mini quiches, sliced fruit, baking or leftovers. If bento boxes cost too much, try fishing tackle boxes from the local hardware store!

Be prepared

Try to make a habit of cooking enough dinner to ensure there are leftovers for lunches the next day. If you're having roast chicken, for example, turn the leftovers into a delicious salad, with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onions, feta, nuts and seeds, or set aside a portion of your stir-fry and veges. I also carry snacks throughout the day. Raw nuts, fruit, hard-boiled eggs and carrots are great options, and better than grabbing a muffin or sausage roll on the run.

Lunch matters

Eating a nutritious meal in the middle of the day boosts energy and raises blood sugar levels when your concentration might be waning. Making good choices at lunchtime can have a big bearing on how you'll feel for the rest of the day, so consider switching out that greasy toasted sandwich for nutrient-dense food that's rich in colour and high in protein. You should feel the difference.

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