November 17: National Healthy Lunch Day

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healthy-lunchObesity and type 2  diabetes are epidemics in this country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents  between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese. And over 1/3 of adults are considered obese, plus 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, which is about 9.3% of the population.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is looking to change those statistics by starting the first National Healthy Lunch Day. They are hoping to raise awareness of how lifestyle changes, especially what we eat, can make positive impacts on our lives. Figuring out what is healthy and what is not can be a challenge. On their website they provide useful tips to help you make the right choices.

If you are one of many Americans who never has time to pack a lunch, you may want to find some time. Packing your lunch and using smart choices can save you money, calories and most importantly, your life.

Here are some easy and quick tips from the ADA on how to pack a healthy lunch.

1. On the weekend, decide what you will eat for lunch for the week and add it to your grocery list. That way it’s quick and easy to grab healthy choices when you pack your lunch.

2. Consider batch cooking on the weekend. Make a big pot of chili, soup, or a big bowl of whole grain and veggie salad. These will keep for a few days in the fridge and can be eaten throughout the week for lunch.

3. Take 5 minutes every night (or morning) to pack something healthy for the day.

4. Use portable containers, such as a lunchbox, thermos and containers with tight fitting lids, to pack your healthy lunch. Extra small containers come in handy for single servings of nut butters or homemade dressings.

5. Remember food safety – if you don’t have access to a fridge to store your lunch, insert a cold pack into your lunchbox, and be sure to choose foods that will stay fresh and tasty from the time you pack them until it’s time to eat lunch.

6. For days you don’t have time to pack a lunch, keep some non-perishable healthy options at your desk, such as light tuna in water, whole wheat crackers, popcorn, nuts and apples.

Next week, I will give you some recipes for healthy, delicious lunches.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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November 2015
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