If you find yourself hungry and stuck without lunch between classes, you may want to think about packing something to save your body from feeling depleted.
The college student’s brain needs fuel to function at optimum level. While it’s true you should start your day with breakfast, lunch could actually be considered the most important meal of the day.
Your body is actively burning fuel during the day, and eating a midday meal will help you to function at optimum level throughout the afternoon.
But it’s important to eat the right kind of lunch. A fatty or carb-heavy meal (fast food, for example) will only put you in a food coma for your afternoon classes — not a good idea. What your body really needs are essential nutrients.
Packing a lunch in advance not only ensures that you’ll have something to eat when you need it, but it also gives you a way to control what you’re eating.
You will always have more willpower to choose healthier options when you are packing your lunch ahead of time, rather than when you are hungry and desperate for food. If you are normally tempted to order chips with your sandwich, try packing your own sandwich and substituting a piece of fruit instead.
The essential lunchbox would include a source of protein, a whole grain carbohydrate, a fruit or vegetable and water.
If that sounds complicated, it’s not. Swap white bread for whole wheat and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Add an apple and a water bottle, and you’re set.
If you’re looking for something a little more mature (this is college after all), pick up some lunch meat and spinach tortillas or whole wheat pita bread for great homemade sandwiches and wraps.
Salad is another option that can be easy to assemble and pack, and is a great way to ensure you are getting vegetables throughout the day. Check out How to Pack the Perfect Salad in a Jar from The Kitchn blog for inspiration.
5-Minute Lunchbox Recipe: Simple Sandwich
Whole wheat/whole grain bread, such as sandwich bread or artisan bread
All-natural lean lunch meat such as ham, turkey or chicken that is free of preservatives
Handful of greens such as spinach or arugula
Oil and vinegar salad dressing
Salt and pepper
- Spread mayo on one slice of bread and place lunch meat on top.
- Top meat with a handful of greens.
- Drizzle greens with oil and vinegar dressing, and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over everything.
- Place the other piece of bread on top, slice sandwich in half and pack.