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Colourful, Flavourful, Wonderful

Do you find your lunchbox uninspiring? Are you fed up with the sad ham, cheese and lettuce sandwich and its carroty escort? Here are some tips to put a bit of delight back in your little airtights.

Basically

Save yourself some stress in the morning by preparing your lunch the day before, at the same time as dinner or right afterwards. For example, you can set aside an extra serving of your evening meal to have for lunch the next day. That way, you’ll be less tempted to resort to the quick fixes of store-bought meals or fast food restaurants!

The reason why those easy solutions are less than ideal is because you should cut processed foods out of your diet as much as possible. Go for fibre-rich foods that are low in fat and sodium!

A few reminders

Eat at regular times and don’t skip meals.

Prefer water to sugar-filled soft drinks or juices.

Moderate your intake of sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sucralose or stevia.

The lion’s share of your plate should be reserved for vegetables. The other half should consist of equal parts starchy foods (brown or wild rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta) and protein (lean meat, fish or others).

Be aware that certain foods may be healthy but contain carbohydrates: fruits, dried fruits, dairy products, legumes and starchy foods, for example.

What about snacking?

To prevent hypoglycemia and cope with everyday life realistically (delayed meals, physical activity, alcohol consumption, etc.), keep healthy snacks around—some that are high in protein, fibre and carbs.

Here are some ideas:

  • A hard-boiled egg to go with your raw vegetables
  • Edamame beans
  • An apple and peanut or almond butter
  • Some whole-wheat crackers and guacamole
  • Cottage cheese and pepper or cucumber

Down with monotony!

Change up your menu! It may seem convenient to prepare a ton of raw vegetables and a pile of sandwiches every Sunday to last you the whole week, but by Thursday or Friday, you may find you’d rather leave your lunchbox at home and eat at the cafeteria or the restaurant.

Similarly, seek variety in your vegetables and snacks, and try new foods regularly.

  • Choose whole-grain couscous, quinoa or bulgur.
  • Revamp your sandwiches with buckwheat, corn, kamut or spelt bread. 
  • Also consider switching up the form of bread you use. There’s no lack of options: bagel, tortilla, pita, naan, baguette, Kaiser, ciabatta…
  • Invite vegetables into spring rolls, onigiri, quiches or frittatas.
  • Tofu and tempeh are great all-purpose foods: use them to replace meat or try them in sandwiches, pasta or rice dishes, warm salads, etc.
  • Trade your yogurt for Greek yogurt or kefir.
  • As much as soups and stews can warm the heart in winter, cold soups like gazpacho can be a welcome refreshment during the summer.

And since even a small thing can provide a lot of motivation, try finding a nice lunch bag, a bento box or coloured utensils—you may find that enough to get you pumped up at the prospect of putting some time and care into your meals and snacks.

References:
CuisineAZ, “15 plats spécial lunch box qui cartonnent”: http://www.cuisineaz.com/diaporamas/plats-lunch-box-342/interne/1.aspx. Accessed May 25, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “The DASH Diet”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/diet/tips-and-tricks/the-dash-diet. Accessed May 24, 2017.
Diabetes  Québec, “La boîte à lunch”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/fr/vivre-avec-le-diabete/alimentation/trucs-et-conseils/la-boite-a-lunch. Accessed May 24, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “The diabetes diet”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/diet/tips-and-tricks/the-diabetes-diet. Accessed May 24, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “Snacks”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/diet/tips-and-tricks/snacks. Accessed May 24, 2017.
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, “Coup d’œil sur l’alimentation de la personne diabétique”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/medias/upload/files/coup_oeil_diabeteFR.pdf. Accessed May 25, 2017.
PasseportSanté.net, “Boîtes à lunch pour tous: stratégies et idées recettes”: http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Actualites/Dossiers/Fiche.aspx?doc=boites-a-lunch-pour-tous-strategies-idees-recettes_do. Accessed May 25, 2017.

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