As college athletes it can be difficult to find the time to eat during the day between practice, class, and studying. We all know the importance of eating breakfast but eating lunch is just as important, especially if you have an afternoon practice. It is easy to grab something on the go during the day, but this can be expensive and nutritious options may not be available. Packing a lunch can save both time and money. It does involve a little preparation, which can be done the night before. Here are some things to remember when packing a lunch:
1) Include more whole foods and less processed foods
2) Be creative: think beyond the peanut butter and jelly sandwich
3) Keep it cold by using a reusable ice pack or freeze a small water bottle
4) Keep it fun: try new ingredients and experiment with new and easy recipes
Brown Bag Lunch Ideas:
-Wraps: Use a multigrain tortilla and add ingredients such as rotisserie chicken, hummus, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes
-Salad: Start with lettuce or spinach and add ingredients such as chicken, tuna, beans, tomatoes, cheese, fruit, and nuts
Spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese
Mexican salad with black beans, cheese, salsa, and olives
-Sandwich: Start with whole grain bread and add fillings such as tuna, hummus, BBQ chicken, roast beef, turkey, cheese or low fat cream cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and spinach.
-Pita stuffed with ingredients such as hummus, lettuce, tomato, feta cheese and black olives for a Mediterranean taste or refried beans, salsa, lettuce, and shredded cheese for a Mexican flavor.
-Cold pasta salad using leftover pasta and add fresh ingredients such as onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and low-fat Italian-style salad dressing. Add a little protein and include ingredients such as feta cheese, chicken, tuna, and garbanzo beans.
-Leftovers always work well for lunch. Try cooking in bulk and freeze the leftovers in individual containers that are easy to grab and take with you. Chili, soup, and rice and beans are all examples of things that are easy to freeze and reheat.
For a well rounded lunch add items such as:
-Nuts with dried fruit or make a trail mix
-Fat free yogurt
-Fruit such as an apple, banana, orange, or grapes or a fruit cup with no sugar added
-Raw veggies such as baby carrots, celery, or snap peas
-Bring peanut butter and apple slices or celery sticks