Today’s post is brought to you by Devin! Devin is sharing some healthier lunch alternatives for teachers. With school back in session, I’m finding myself busier and busier with less time to prep my meals. I’m lucky that my school offers a salad bar option, so I can always have something healthy. If your school’s food leaves much to be desired, check out his tips for making more mindful choices.
Healthier Lunch Alternatives for Teachers
A teacher’s workload can feel endless and demanding. Many spend their lunch breaks (and long after the end of the school day) grading papers and preparing tomorrow’s lecture. This gives very little time to not only eat, but to be health conscious about what they are eating.
Teaching requires the educator to make hundreds of cognitively complex decisions and suggestions in a single school day to ensure student success. With a high energy job, it’s essential to prime both the brain and body with the right fuel. Here is what the typical lunch can look like for teachers, and how it can be turned into something healthy.
Related: How to Meal Prep Effectively
Food delivery is quite the luxury, and when people are paying extra to get delivered food, they will often order more than they can eat to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. Pizza and chinese, among others of course, are the most regularly ordered.
When ordering pizza, consider ordering a thin crust over a regular pan crust. There is roughly a 150 calorie difference between a large slice of typical pepperoni pizza and a thin crust pepperoni pizza . Another option is to order an all veggie pizza, which helps cut back caloric content and reduce fat.
If you’re craving another classic, Chinese takeout can also be healthy in moderation. Order carefully so that the meal contains a source of lean protein, dietary fiber and a variety of other essential nutrients. Beware of salty sauces which are frequently utilized in Chinese cooking. One tbsp of soy sauce has 1,005 mg of sodium, while 1 tbsp of oyster sauce has 690 mg of sodium.
High-sodium diets can raise blood pressure, putting a risk for heart disease and stroke. Healthy adults should have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. To limit sodium consumption, ask the chef to prepare meals with less sauce. Refrain from adding additional salt and using high sodium sauces in general if possible.
The convenience and availability of a microwave is undeniable. You can find one in nearly every American home as an essential kitchen appliance. Heating up leftovers from the night before is one thing, but heating up a frozen entree that is made for the microwave is another.
The freezer aisle has come a long way in the 60 years since the first frozen dinners entered the scene. Instead of rubbery steak, clay-like mashed potatoes, and dried out peas, today’s microwavable meals are more likely to include kale and organic chicken. Brands like Evol and Luvo offer these healthier alternatives.
Some teachers don’t have enough of an appetite to consume an entire meal during their lunch break. Maybe they had a big breakfast before work, or they had been snacking all day up to their lunch break. Snacking can be healthy if it’s still following a balanced nutritional guideline. While salted pretzels and chips may be a delicious snack, it doesn’t quite provide the proper fuel for a busy body.
This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate salted pretzels and chips from your diet, it’s simply about balancing out the snacks. Consider adding some dried fruits, protein shakes, raw nuts, and some seaweed snacks.
This is not uncommon practice among teachers. Skipping meals as part of a controlled eating plan that results in lower calorie intake can result in better health. However, skipping meals during the day and then overeating at the evening meal results in harmful metabolic changes in the body.
If time is the biggest factor for not eating during the day, consider making a meal the night before. Mason jar lunches have become more popular lately. The idea is to put something small and healthy like a salad or yogurt with a mix of berries in a mason jar the night before and grab it to go on your way to work.
Devin writes from his garage in Daly City, CA. He stops occasionally to fix his Wi-Fi connection and coach rugby. Follow this pretty cool dude on Twitter.