The Eat Pretty Formula for Easy Packed Lunches

easy-packed-lunch-eat-pretty.jpg

For some of us, the arrival of fall means a return to the lunchtime grind. For others, that lunchtime grind goes on Mon-Fri, 365 days a year, making it easy to lose steam and creativity. Whether you’re packing lunches for your school-aged children or yourself, getting confident with a basic, Eat Pretty-approved formula for the meal you assemble is a key jumping off point for (no exaggeration) thousands of lunchbox variations. Once you know the formula, you can get creative and listen to your body, knowing that there’s pretty much no way to mess up! And heads up: this is essentially the formula I use for every meal, every day, and one that has helped me to rebalance my hormones, find my healthiest weight, and enable my skin to glow. It’s also helped so many of my clients to do the same. So, here we go!

My Eat Pretty-Approved Lunch Formula

Ready to make lunch?

Here’s the formula: veggies + protein + healthy fat + bonus foods.

No question, more than half of your plate (or lunchbox) should be colorful, antioxidant-packed veggies. Roast them, steam them, eat them raw, dice them, spiralize them— it doesn't matter what form they come in. This part of your meal is super nutrient-dense, delivering fiber and phytochemicals that keep you glowing. Rotate these ingredients according to color, season, and/or cravings.

+

Your lunchbox also needs protein. It can be plant-based or clean animal-based, depending on your body and your preferred diet. Aim for at least 10-15 grams of protein to help you feel full, burn food slowly for sustained energy, and deliver the building blocks of skin, hair and nails that is essential to your body.

+

Now make sure that your lunchbox has some form of healthy fat. Fat nourishes strong cell membranes (locking in youthful moisture), and is an essential building block of your hormones (hello, better moods and clear skin). Think avocado, raw seeds or nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a healthy fat-rich dressing.

+

As a bonus, you can add something special that brings it all together and makes the benefits even more amazing, like fermented pickles or sauerkraut, dulse flakes, gomasio (check out the recipe in Eat Pretty Every Day), nutritional yeast, etc. If you’re packing lunch for kids or you’re going to be in a crowded place where you want to make sure your lunch doesn’t stink too much, leave out the smelly stuff. But this category can be an important bonus on days when you want to feel and look extra amazing. And if you know your goal is to eat more fermented foods every day for better skin and overall health, pack some in your lunch!

If you’ve used the Eat Pretty, Live Well journal, you already know what an Eat Pretty plate looks like. If not, here’s the visual:

eat-pretty-plate

Your Lunch Style

I find that everyone has unique preferences when it comes to lunch style (hello, bioindividuality). I prefer a salad to a sandwich. During the warmer months, I prefer greens over grains as the base of my lunch, but as fall and winter arrive I turn to grains and warm lunches that need to be reheated. What’s your style?

Foundations (start with these and then pile ingredients on top)

  • Greens

  • Quinoa, buckwheat or other GF grains

  • Shredded brussels sprouts

  • Beans

  • GF pasta— try chickpea or lentil pasta for extra protein

  • Lentils

Colorful Veggie Examples

  • Any roasted veggies you have on hand (I love broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots)

  • Cooked beets

  • Chopped raw peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Cucumbers

  • Radishes

  • Steamed green beans

  • Cooled cooked potatoes- white or sweet potatoes

  • So many more!

Clean Protein Examples

  • Hard-cooked pastured eggs

  • Wild salmon

  • Beans- lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans are all amazing

  • Shelled hemp seeds

  • BPA-free cans of wild salmon, sardines, naturally smoked oysters (I like the Crown Prince brand for sardines and oysters)

  • Clean animal proteins that fit your diet

  • Quinoa

  • Plant-based protein powder 

Healthy Fat Examples

  • Avocado

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Hemp seeds

  • Olives

  • Dressings (see below)

Dressing and Sauce Ideas:

  • Turmeric dressing

  • Classic Balsamic

  • ACV dressing

  • Green goddess dressing

  • Romesco- red pepper and almond, parsley

  • Lemon and olive oil

  • Persillade

  • Chimichurri

  • Olive tapenade

  • Pesto

Bonus Food Examples:

  • Fermented pickles

  • Kraut

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Gomasio

  • Dulse flakes

  • Nutritional yeast

 A few past recipes that fit the bill:

Seeing Beauty Salad

Chopped Chickpea-Kraut Salad

 Miso Broccoli Lentil Salad

Notes for success:

Keep track.

Along the way, you’re going to find meal combinations that you love (and some you don’t). Make sure you write down the combinations that are winners to your body and your palate. I keep a list on my fridge of meals that I want to remember because inevitably when it’s time to grocery shop my brain draws a blank. As the seasons change, it’s also easy to forget meals that you aren’t cooking because ingredients are not in season. So next time fall rolls back around, you’ll remember exactly what meal you loved to cook with your butternut squash, figs, pumpkin, etc.

Shift your mindset: Instead of ‘I have to,’ choose ‘I get to!’

This is big- changing the way you approach making lunches can make all the difference. Instead of “Packing my lunch is exhausting. I’m too busy to do this for myself. I don’t have time.”

Vs.

Think: “Cooking is empowering, strengthening, even a rebellious act to some degree. I can make a little time. A little investment can change the way I feel day to day, and the trajectory of my health and appearance.”

So, what’s for lunch today?

How Snacking Helps Your Beauty— plus a Simple Office Snack!

sesame-date-pudding-2.JPG

Did you know that snacking can actually help you reach your beauty and weight loss goals? It's true; snacking often gets a bad rap, but it can be a delicious route to your best skin and your healthiest weight. The trick is to know how to snack well, to be well-versed in what to eat, and to plan ahead. The type of snacking that's best to avoid is the graze-all-day, munch-whenever-you-feel-like-it approach. It's quite taxing on your body to be digesting all day long, you miss out on the natural cleansing of your digestive tract that happens between meals, and you don't ever get to truly feel satiated (or actually hungry?) when you snack too often.

Snacking becomes a beauty essential when you have a long stretch between meals, and when you're training your body to maintain steady blood sugar for longer and longer periods of time. A snack at 4:30PM, when you've had lunch at noon and are waiting on a 7PM dinner reservation, can prevent a blood sugar crash, support healthy metabolism, and keep you from ravenously overeating late at night. I think far too many women still equate weight loss, or maintaining their ideal weight, with long periods of fasting. Can fasting help you lose weight? 100% if done in balance with good nutrition and steady blood sugar. See the current intermittent fasting trend. But quite often fasting is not sustainable, nor does it correct existing issues with blood sugar balance and cravings.

Many (most?) of the clients who come to me with weight loss goals end up eating more food during our time together. They also lose weight in the process. We work on blood sugar stability, and eating complete meals that help your body feel satisfied and free of cravings. I recommend snacks when you're going a long stretch without food; better to have a beauty-friendly snack than to end up hangry or scarfing a candy bar. Also better not to feel restricted, which amps up your cravings!

Ideally, you'll reach for snacks that include a source of protein and/or healthy fat to fuel steady blood sugar. A raw trail mix, hard boiled pastured egg, apple and almond butter, wedge of avocado topped with sea salt and seeds, or a low-fruit protein smoothie are all classic choices. But I know you're always looking for new ideas. Below is a simple snack recipe that is packed with skin-healing, hormone balancing zinc from sesame seeds, plus chia for fullness and great digestion, tons of healthy fats and just enough sweetness to satisfy a craving. Shake it up in the morning and take it to the office to avoid the vending machine!

Sesame-Date Pudding

Shake up this pudding in the morning and store it so that you'll have a snack to tide you over on long afternoons or late nights at the office. Top it with a generous drizzle of tahini, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or a chopped date or two for extra energy.

sesame-date-pudding-3.JPG

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp tahini paste, plus more for topping
  • 3-4 pitted dates (depending on size and your desired sweetness), plus more for topping
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

In a high powered blender, combine tahini, dates and water until fully blended. Transfer liquid to a jar and add chia seeds. Close jar and shake to combine. Pack in your bag and store in your office refrigerator until you're ready for an afternoon snack (will take about 30 mins from the time you shake it up to fully thicken— in case you plan to eat it right away)! Shake or stir once more before serving.

Secrets to Early Spring Beauty

early-spring-beauty.jpg

According to the groundhog and the weather forecast, it’s still too early to think about spring.  But let’s be honest, our bodies can stand this winter hibernation no longer! Although it will be a few more weeks before we can start a literal shedding of hats, gloves, scarves and sweaters, we can shake off the heavy slumber of winter and, with it, open the door to our healthiest, most beautiful spring. This is the moment to start your spring cleaning! Instead of filling your to-do list with household chores, make a list of activities that will help you feel your most beautiful by the time the snow melts away. Here are four powerful ways to spring-ify your beauty even before the crocuses sprout. With a little advance planning, you’ll bloom brighter than ever this spring season. 

Read More

Hydration Inspiration...

Pure water is a free form of detox, a natural skin hydrator, an appetite suppressant, and a supporter of healthy metabolism, nutrient absorption, & temperature regulation. Water makes up about 70% of our body weight, and 70% of our skin, so don't skimp.

Here, a few ways to freshen up your cup this season—

healthywaterfinal_1.jpg

Sleep Month Giveaway: The Beauty Benefits of Sleep

amala-lavender-concentrate-giveaway

I’m not the only one who has been daydreaming of spring lately. The natural beauties at German skin care brand Amala have been too! To celebrate the arrival of spring AND National Sleep Month, Amala is supplying me with 20 Aroma Apothecary Lavender Essential Oil Concentrate roll-ons to help you catch up on beauty sleep during the month of March. I’ll be giving away 5 of these relaxing roll-ons (valued at $20 each) every Friday in March!

Tell me one beauty benefit you see when you sleep well and you could be one of 5 winners this week!

Read More

Your Chance to Call a Truce with Food

truce-with-food

Making a meaningful, lasting change in your daily habits requires more than just an understanding of beauty foods. To do that you need to end the food battle so you can identify your needs and choose foods that truly nourish you. Here's one way to end the food battle for good...

Read More

Post Your Beauty Food Pics + Win a BIW Coaching Session

 

eatprettycontest

Post your beauty foods pictures on the Beauty Is Wellness Facebook page by 10/31/12. I'll pick ONE entrant to receive a personal beauty and health coaching session valued at $250. For everyone else, there's a major discount!

Read More

Padma Lakshmi's Slimming Body Oil Recipe

Padma Lakshmi, the gorgeous host of Top Chef who is also a former model, recently shared her personal recipe for slimming body oil made with natural oils. She says, "If I knew I had a big event or shoot (especially lingerie) I would make an all-natural topical diuretic that works wonders." Check out the recipe...

Read More

Green Tea: The Wrinkle Blocker?

green tea

green tea

We already know that green tea is a healthy sip (packed with antioxidants) that also helps keep you slim, thanks to a little metabolism boost.

But Dr. Nicolas Perricone's latest book, Forever Young (more on this fantastic read later), gives us another beautiful reason to keep sipping green tea: wrinkle prevention.

Dr. Perricone writes:

"The EGCG in tea prevents the activation of collagen-digesting enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinase. This is a critical function because these enzymes are responsible for wrinkling of the skin."

EGCG is a catechin in green tea that is believed to hold its health benefits. And Dr. Perricone confirms that catechins like EGCG actually have the ability to control gene expression.

Drink a soothing cup of green tea and prevent skin wrinkles? It's a beauty no-brainer.