Five Better Ways to Make Lunch Choices
Unless you work from home, chances are very good that you suffer mightily with the traditional noon lunch hour. While you can't always make the best choice during 9 to 5, here are some easy ways to at least improve your odds.
- Salad Days
If you despair over the gooey, oil-drenched salads at most deli counters, but don't have time to shop, wash and chop on a daily basis, you're in luck. Chef Crafted Salads are pre-packed, but anything but typical (and won't break the bank). Each one has an array of fresh ingredients that can be mixed and matched while adding new flavors, veggies and ingredients to your daily mix. If you're a fan of preparing your own salad mixes, try this: Chop heartier ingredients like carrots, peppers and cucumbers early in the week and layer in a Mason Jar. Add leafy ingredients, toppings like sunflower seeds or slivered almonds the night before and you'll have a tempting, Instagram ready lunch every single day.
- But Not Too Many Sandwich Days
Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist and creator of the Alkamind Cleanse cautions against grabbing the convenient, but probably not very good for you sandwich. "Many people will eat a sandwich as it is convenient and easy to do. Wheat bread with sliced turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and other lunch classics may appear to be nutritious, health-friendly options." But appearances can be deceiving. Dr. Gioffre says "even whole wheat bread is acidic, full of gluten, and other processed ingredients like high fructose corn syrup." He's not a huge fan of jelly which he says is highly processed and not a good source of the nutrients in fruit. Dr. Gioffre also cautions against deli meat which "usually contains nitrates and other nasty additives you and your kids don't need." If you're hoping for a better sandwich, consider layering vegetable slices, avocado and less processed, more whole grain/whole fruit or vegetable products.
- Prepare Healthy Snacks
If you find yourself plagued by mid-morning snack attacks, try to keep small, healthier snacks handy. Justin's now makes snack packs with either pretzels or banana chips and peanut butter, or just keep some of their peanut butter squeeze packs on hand (or in purse). Crunchies freeze dried fruits will satisfy both your sweet tooth and need for something crunchy for about 1/3 of the calories and fat of a candy bar. Skip a gooey dessert at your next lunch meeting and instead try a better for your option like Emmy's Organics coconut cookies in so many yum flavors it'll make your head spin. The key is to allow yourself snacks and snack breaks, but to pay attention to what you'll be eating and how it will affect your ability to keep working.
- Steal Your Kid's Lunch
If you're looking for lunch inspiration, check out the offerings from Revolution Foods who in addition to serving up 2 million freshly-prepared meals each week in 1000+ schools nationwide, have created healthier Lunch Bundles. While these might not be a great grown-up option for every day, they will inspire you to make more balanced lunch choices. Along those lines, readymade doesn't have to be bad for you. Inspired by the Mediterranean Diet Barilla recently introduced Ready Pasta, which is fully-cooked "plain" pasta in a pouch made with only pasta, EVOO and sea salt and can be heated in the microwave in 60 seconds. While it might not be the best choice possible, it will allow you portion control and the ability to avoid heavy sauces while you're on deadline.
- Build A Better Smoothie
Avoid readymade smoothies which can be packed with sugars and other not so good for you ingredients. Instead, use whole fruit, green leafy ingredients like spinach or kale, whey or soy powder for a protein kick or just keep Hemp Protein Smoothie in your desk drawer for a protein boost. Look for blenders that now come with personal blending options, so that you don't have to make a big deal out of making a drinkable healthier meal.