Lunch. It is the most underrated meal of the day. A majority of students, mainly referring to juniors and seniors but not exclusive to underclassmen, end up going out to fast food restaurants for unhealthy, unsustaining meals and end up spending their money in the wrong place.
In this modern society being fit is the thing. Many students strive to stay fit and healthy and a huge portion of that is not just exercise but diet. After interviewing numerous GHS students like Natalie Myers and Ayden Rycenga, I learned that many students who do pack lunch find it difficult to pack lunches that are not only healthy, but efficient as well.
When working with her clients, certified dietitian Gail Ranville asks the question “What would you rather have, calories or energy?” I, and most of her clients, answered energy; it’s the obvious choice. “That’s the answer I always get but when you think about it energy is measured through calories. It’s not about the calories but the quality of energy you get from those calories.” Despite this, for convenience and “economic” purposes, many of our GHS students find themselves going out to fast food places during the lunch period.
A meal at one of these places ranges from $5-10 so lets say the average is $7.50. Going out to lunch everyday can cost up to $1,300 on lunches a year. Yes it’s convenient but these lunches are not healthy and in the end can cost a fortune. After looking at prices and quality of specific meals at a few fast food restaurants, I learned that the cheapest options that students are going for tend to be the highest in empty calories.
Just buying some produce in bulk and can drastically cut the amount students spend on lunch a year. Buying whole grain bread, lunch meat, salad mix, toppings, yogurt, and fruit from Meijer– on average– costs about $20 and will last for a couple weeks. Thats $20 for two weeks of healthy quality food versus $35 for one week of insufficient nutrition.
Gail Ranville goes on to say, “Salads and sandwiches are perfect simple meals that can have great nutrition and are super easy and accessible” Gails says. These paired with the right sides can create quality lunches that hit all the essentials that developing adolescents should be getting. Nuts and raisins give you good proteins and they can also substitute as chips for your salty cravings. Trail mixes are super easy to make in bulk and just portion for the week. They also make a good snack for in between meals and before practice; for our many athletes. “Everyone looks at an orange and think, ugh that’s a lot of work to peel, but if you peel them the night before while you’re watching TV or doing whatever they will stay good for the nest day. They’re also the perfect before practice snack.”
For tips on what to specifically pack in a lunch check down below for some ideas 🙂
Overall Lunch Ideas + Ingredients:
~Salads: Leafy Greens, Chicken(Protein), Avocado, Dressing of Choice, Fruit
~Sandwiches: Whole Grain Bread, Leafy Greens, Tomatoes, Swiss cheese
~Soups: Chicken Noodle, Chicken Wild Rice, Tomato
~Parfaits: Seasonal Fruit, Yogurt, Coconut Flakes, Granola