Make your packed lunches healthier

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – The summer means it’s camp season, but many typical packed lunches are packed with empty calories! Professor of Nutrition Dr. Laura Christoph and graduate student Jacquelyn Hynes showed us how to make our lunches healthier.

Components of a healthy lunch

1. Protein: Fill up, rebuild and replenish with a variety of plant or animal sources of protein including eggs, yogurt, chicken, fish, lean meat and beans.

2. Starch: These are your energizing grains and starchy veggies. Go for whole foods here and try to avoid refined carbs and added sugars. Great choices include quinoa, brown rice, oats, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and whole wheat pasta.

3. Healthy Fat: Fat will help keep you satisfied for longer and adds some great flavor and texture to our bowl! Try nuts, seeds, oils, avocado, and a little cheese for flavor!

4. Fruit or Veggie: Add some fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C with fruits and veggies to complete your meal!

5. Hydrating Fluids: Aim for water or a nutrient dense beverage such as milk or milk substitute rather than loading up on added sugars and artificial sweeteners.