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Author: Dena Gershkovich

The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox

The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox

Lunchtime has a funny way of springing up. Some days it arises slowly, teasing you throughout the morning, distracting you from office work, but in a barely noticeable way. Then there’s those other days; I’m sure you know the ones I’m speaking of. Those days where lunchtime barges into important meetings, unannounced, demanding immediate attention by grabbing you with its ravenous growl. The days where it rudely interrupts phone calls and cuts lines of patiently waiting clients. It has a way of taking over your head, making your mind become unfocused and easily irritated. You can’t put it on hold or move it down on the to-do list; it needs immediate addressing.

If you’re like most people you immediately run to the nearest food stand as soon as lunch break begins. You probably have a ‘usual’ by now and it’s likely they’ll know it. In fact, your falafel (or, if you’re a “healthy person” as my friends call me, then salad) may even be pre-made, waiting only for you to swipe your credit card and continue on your merry way.

But is this really a healthy way to eat on a day to day basis? Of course there’s room to eat out the “smart” way – I’m not saying that salad isn’t a healthy option and all. But do you really know how much oil is on the “natural” sweet potatoes or how many grams of sugar are in the balsamic vinaigrette your “healthy” salad is dressed in? What about the salt content of the roasted vegetables, or the artificial chemicals and preservatives in the “light” veggie tuna? Portion control goes out the window, and I won’t even bring up how much money this is costing you…

Packing your own lunch is a great idea. Not only will it save you tons of money, but you’ll also be able to know exactly what ingredients are entering your body.
Here’s how to do it:

Step One: Start the Night Before

I cannot emphasize this step enough. Finding time to do anything pre-work is close to impossible which is why planning in advance is essential. You don’t want lunch to become an afterthought. Taking ten minutes in the evening to plan your meal for the next day can have a great impact on your health and your wallet. You can even prep lunch containers for several days and store them in the fridge for easy grab-and-go.

Step Two: What Are You In the Mood For?

Are you craving a soft sandwich or would you prefer a crisp salad? There are ways to pack both of these (and more!) in a balanced way.
Whatever option you decide to go with, make sure your lunchbox always contains vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox
Lentil salad with cucumbers, avocado, basil and feta cheese topped with extra virgin olive oil and spices

Pack your lunch according to the ratio depicted below for optimal health. According to the plate model, vegetables should take up half the space on your plate and the remaining space should be divided between carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.

The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox

Here are some examples of what a healthy lunchbox could look like:

  • Tossed salad with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots + tuna + brown rice cakes + extra virgin olive oil, spices and lemon
  • Make a balanced stir fry: roasted vegetables + tofu + whole wheat pasta + olive oil, salt, pepper and spices
  • Israeli chopped salad + grilled chicken + half of a whole wheat pita + hummus, techina or guacamole
The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox
Tossed salad with romaine lettuce, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and techina topped with fresh lemon juice and spices

As you can see, healthy lunchbox ideas really are endless.

In order to remember to hit all four categories, a good thing to have is a sectioned lunch container. If your lunchbox has sections, filling them up with the proper foods will soon become second nature.

The Right Way to Pack a Lunchbox

Step Three: Almost Done!

Now that you’ve decided on what you’re going to bring for lunch, it’s time to pack it all up. Try to package your food in a way that takes up the smallest amount of space possible. Use a small container for your dressing (you don’t want any olive oil leak emergencies…), and place everything into an insulated bag with an icepack. Throw in a fruit for later (a healthy way to satisfy that 4:00 hunger), a fork, knife, and a napkin, and you’re good to go! Place your lunch in the fridge when you get to the office. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle as well.

See, that wasn’t so bad. With advanced preparation eating healthy can be simple and fun!

What’s going into your lunchbox this week? Share your lunchbox ideas, comments, and questions below!

 

Want to keep up with the latest nutrition advice? Subscribe to NutritionistMiriam to be notified every time we post something new! Enter your email address in the designated area to subscribe!

Visit Dena’s blog, The Artsy Palate, for healthy recipes and advice on how to stay healthy while in seminary and beyond!

 

Citations:

“Healthy Eating Plate & Healthy Eating Pyramid.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2011. Web. 16 July 2016. <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/>

How to Get Yourself to Drink More Water

How to Get Yourself to Drink More Water

How much water do you drink in a day? If you think you’re drinking enough water chances are you’re not, as most people don’t.

The recommended daily intake of water is eight eight-ounce cups minimum (that’s two liters). And, for those of you living in the hot, dry desert climate of Israel, you should be drinking even more than that.
Exercise, illness, environment, pregnancy and breast feeding are all factors that can influence individual water needs. If you find yourself sweating from exercise, make sure to down at least a cup and a half more fluid in addition to the recommended eight cups. Also, the Institute of Medicine recommends ten cups daily for pregnant women and thirteen cups daily for breast feeding women. 

You may be wondering what exactly water will do for your body that you should care to ingest so much of it daily. Why is hydration so important?

Well, for starters, your body is made up of sixty-percent water. You lose water during your life activities such as sweating, urination and even breathing, so it’s important to monitor your intake so you won’t end up with a water deficit (aka dehydration). During demanding situations like the ones noted above, your body uses more water than usual, so you have to drink even more than the recommended eight cups to replenish accordingly.

Your body needs water to make the minerals and nutrients you get from food into an accessible form for your body. Drinking enough water is just as important as keeping to a healthy diet, as you can only reap the benefits of eating healthfully if your body is able to access the nutrients you’re consuming.

Water helps with digestion, reducing constipation, and also decreases the risk of kidney stones. It helps hydrate your skin and has been shown to reduce acne.

Studies have also proven water intake to affect both physical and mental performance in areas such as energy levels and, fascinatingly enough, even mood.

Plus, drinking water also helps with weight loss! Besides the obvious health benefits drinking water in place of sugary beverages can provide, research has found that those who drink a glass of water right before mealtime end up consuming fewer calories. Additionally, as I mentioned before, drinking water during mealtimes can also help you digest your food after you’re finished eating.

Who would think that something so basic could have such a great impact on your health? And this is only an abridged list of the wonders water can do for your body…

Now that you’re familiar with why drinking enough water is important, I’d like to move on to how this can be accomplished practically.

drink

How to Make Water More Drinkable

Tip #1: Bring Water With You Everywhere

You’re probably wondering how this could help your water intake, as it’s likely your office has a water cooler, and in the off chance it doesn’t you know that you could always count on tap. But the reality is that we are lazy. We don’t like to go out of our way to do things, even if that means walking five extra steps to a water cooler.
That’s why having a water bottle with you at all times is so important.
Besides for being environmentally friendly, a reusable plastic bottle will encourage you to drink throughout the day (especially if it has a straw that’s fun and easy to drink from!) and it will save you the money you would have spent on a disposable bottle.
Bonus points if you get one in a cool color 🙂

Tip #2: Flavor It Up

Often times people say that they find water bland. That’s definitely understandable, as water scores zero in practically everything.

Zero calories
Zero grams of sugar
Zero grams of sodium
Zero grams of fat…etc.

But who says zero has to be a bad thing? In the case of water, zero is an opportunity for creativity! Think of the tastes and flavors water can take on only because of its blandness. To make water more drinkable, try adding any of the suggestions below to your next glass! Feel free to try out your own combinations as well!

  • Lemon wedges and nana leaves
  • Sliced green apple
  • Pineapple cubes
  • Berries
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Grapefruit wedges
  • Orange slices
  • Honeydew cubes

Tip #3: Remind Yourself To Drink

It’s hard to remember to stay hydrated with a busy schedule and all. If you’re in the middle of trying to get something accomplished, it’s unlikely for a water break to be a priority.
Luckily, technology today can help with this. For some people, setting daily phone reminders to drink may be helpful. Decide on times that work with your specific schedule and set the alerts accordingly. Some useful apps that can help you track your water intake are Waterlogged (for the iPhone) and Water Time (for the android). If phone alerts aren’t your thing, try to fit hydration into your daily routine by setting specific points throughout the day to drink. For example, deciding to drink a few cups during bathroom breaks or downing several glasses during your lunch break could help you reach the recommended intake.

You all know the saying – “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” If you want to hydrate yourself properly, then it’s just a matter of time before you find a method that works with your schedule.

Now raise your glass (of water 😉 ) to a healthier you!

Want to keep up with the latest nutrition advice? Subscribe to NutritionistMiriam to be notified every time we post something new! Enter your email address in the designated area to subscribe!

Visit Dena’s blog, The Artsy Palate, for healthy recipes and advice on how to stay healthy while in seminary and beyond!

Citations:

Gunnars, Kris. “How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?” RSS 20. N.p., 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 04 July 2016. <https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day/>.

“How to Drink More Water Every Day.” WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 July 2016. <http://www.wikihow.com/Drink-More-Water-Every-Day>.

McIntosh, James. “Urology / Nephrology Water – Air Quality / Agriculture Nutrition / Diet Why Is Drinking Water Important?” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 July 2016. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php>.

“Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?” Mayoclinic.org. Mayo Clinic, 5 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 July 2016. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256?pg=2>