To Pack or Not To Pack
“I have no time to pack my lunch. I get home from work, fix dinner and never have a minute to myself until bedtime. Morning is too rushed. And besides, I dont know what to pack.” Does that sound familiar? You might think you are making smart choices when you go out for lunch, but you may not be.
We have little control over the food served at restaurants and fast food eateries. The average hamburger served at a restaurant has over 1,000 calories and 70 grams of fat. This does not include a side or drink. A hot chicken Panini sandwich can have over 800 calories and 35 grams of fat. We forget about the thick bread, cheese and high-fat sauce. What one might think is an innocent Cobb salad could have 600 calories and 41 grams of fat (20 grams of saturated). Two tablespoons of dressing could add on another 250 calories. Restaurants usually serve about four tablespoons of salad dressing. Order a Caesar salad with dressing and you can go back to the office having consumed 900 calories and 69 grams of fat. One large slice of thin crust pepperoni pizza can set you back 700 calories and 37 grams of fat. How about just a light lunch of a bakery muffin and latte? You could be consuming a whopping 660 calories and 31 grams of fat.
Eating healthy and taking care of yourself needs to take priority in your life. For some of you, this will mean starting to bring your lunch to work. The first step is planning ahead what your lunch will be. For some, this may mean planning your whole week of lunches on Sunday night. For others, planning the night before will be sufficient. You just want to avoid rushing around in the morning. The second step is deciding what to bring. Variety is the key. A lot of times what leads people back to venturing out for lunch is boredom with packing lunches from home. Eating healthy does not have to be boring. Here are five lunches for each day of the week
Whole-wheat pita stuffed with hummus, spinach, hearts of palm, tomato, cucumber, low fat cheese and garbanzo beans.
Dark green salad, light feta cheese, grilled chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes and homemade olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Home made tuna fish with light mayonnaise on whole wheat bread and a side of fruit.
Quesadilla made with whole-wheat tortillas, black beans, salsa, light cheese, avocado, onion, green pepper and light sour cream. Add a fruit to balance it out.
Homemade lentil soup and salad of dark greens with vinaigrette dressing.
The last step is forming a habit. Just like any other habit, it takes repetition. Something that you want to stick with has to be appealing and manageable. Give yourself a break every now and then and treat yourself to lunch out. It is all about moderation.