When you’re packing a lunch for yourself or your kids, it’s easy to reach for the chip packets or the cookies. After all, they’re so easy, they don’t need to be refrigerated, and they taste so good. But while most of us manage to resist the temptation and eat fresh, do you know why fresh is always better?

 

Free from Preservatives

There is just one thing that separates food that needs to be kept cool, and food that doesn’t: preservatives. This can include the chemical preservatives found in highly-processed foods, but can also be as simple as added salt or sugar. These additives give food a longer shelf-life, but at the cost of nutritional value.

 

A high-salt diet can lead to heart disease, while a high-sugar diet has been linked to obesity. Sure, if you eat them in small amounts they’re ok, but added salt and sugar also makes food so tasty that it’s difficult to limit ourselves. Stick to fresh food, and keep yourself away from unhealthy food additives.

 

A Nutritional PunchHealthy and fresh

 

Did you know that food actually loses nutritional value over time, no matter how it’s kept?

 

That’s why it’s always good to eat food as quickly as possible after it’s produced (it’s also good incentive to buy local, so the food hasn’t had to travel as far).

 

Fresh, healthy foods also encourage us to eat better on a biochemical level. One study found that if a rat had overeaten a healthy food, chemical receptors in its brain switched off the craving for that food, so it would stop eating. But when the rat had overeaten an unhealthy food (like cookies or cake) the receptors stayed switched on, so it would keep eating it’s junk food diet.

 

So eating healthy not only encourages us to eat just the right amount, it makes sure that we eat a good variety of foods for the best nutritional punch.

 

Training Yourself Healthy

When it comes to eating fresh, it’s important to start early. Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults than their peers. Luckily, the healthy habits we develop in childhood will also carry over to adult life.

 

You probably know someone who’s switched to a fresh, healthy diet, and after a while they don’t even like convenience foods any more. That’s because they’re re-programmed their brain into craving healthy foods. By replacing junk food with real food, you can train yourself healthier.

 

As a parent, it’s important to start young with your kids’ diets and provide a good model for them to follow. A consistent, fresh diet will lead to more energy (physically and mentally), better focus, and a healthier lifestyle overall. Who wouldn’t want that?

 

For some ideas on how to make a fresh and healthy lunch, check out our mouth-watering Pinterest page!