Eating A Healthy Lunch

Eating a healthy lunch is central to weight loss and maintenance.  I can’t tell you how many patients of mine have told me they do great with breakfast and dinner at home, but it’s that lunch at work that is their downfall.  Whether it’s the constant potlucks, the continuous snacking because we don’t pack enough, or we find ourselves eating out every day, lunch at work can be a daily caloric nightmare.  Planning meals ahead is a quick fix, but what if work demands that you eat out regularly?

Here are some tips to keep you in check:

1.  Avoid Fried Foods — Fried foods are a sure way to decrease your energy level and increase your calorie intake.

2.  Salads are great but . . .

  • Make sure they have some protein to sustain you until dinner—meat, beans, nuts, cheese;
  • Get the dressing on the side.  Most dressings are a killer on calories and fat and most salads are overdressed.  Keep yourself in control and, better yet, pack your own lighter dressing from home.

3.  Portion Control — When they hand you that burrito that is the size of a loaf of bread and you know you should save at least half for your next three lunches, pack away what you know you shouldn’t eat, leaving just the right portion.

Snacking, contrary to popular belief, is a good thing.  A planned healthy snack pre-lunch and pre-dinner can curb the desire to make a poor choice on a snack out of desperation or overeating at a meal out of starvation.  So go ahead and try adding some of these great snacks to your daily routine:

  1. Plain Greek Yogurt with blueberries — great source of protein along with one of the most potent vitamin-containing fruits.
  2. Handful of nuts — walnuts, pecans, and almonds are some of my favorites because of all of their redeeming qualities, including preventing clogged arteries, reducing inflammation, and helping to prevent acne and hair loss.
  3. Edamame — great source of protein and fiber.  Add just a little salt and you’ll be in heaven.
  4. Apple Slices and Peanut Butter — full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, this combo is heart healthy and delicious.

Though not always easy, making an effort to plan or choose a healthy lunch will make a huge difference in the quality of your work day, and more importantly in your overall health and wellness.

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