Eating healthy isn't always easy. Especially during the lunch hour when we are often at work or out of the house and have to grab something on the go. However, eating a healthy lunch is a key factor in your diet and weight loss regime. Whether you eat out or pack a lunch from home there are always healthy options available that will allow you to stick to your weight loss or weight maintenance plan.
What Not to Eat
When eating out avoid fast food which in most cases is fried, has a high fat content, and is high in calories. Fast food is also overly processed so most of the nutritional value has been removed. Pre-packaged foods should also be avoided because you can't control what is in the food and it may be overly processed. In many cases it's not necessarily to food that's bad but the condiments. Mayonnaise and creamy salad dressings are high in fat so alternative healthier condiments should be chosen.
If it's sandwiches you like, whether selecting from a menu or making them yourself, choose whole grain bread or wraps instead of processed white bread. Cut the calories by choosing mustard instead of mayonnaise. Another healthy sandwich dressing , which goes great with chicken, is tzatziki sauce made with Greek Yogurt. Choose lean protein sources for lunch like chicken, eggs, fish, low fat cheeses or chick peas.
A salad made with dark greens, like spinach, is a great choice for lunch. Add your favorite lean protein and top with a light dressing like olive oil and balsamic vinegar or a bit of lemon juice. Soup is another healthy option. If you are buying canned soup check the sodium levels before purchasing and try to go for the low salt versions. Homemade soup is always best as you can control what you put in it. Large batches of soup can be frozen into individual containers to take and reheated when desired.
It's important to also consider what you're drinking during your midday meals. Water should be your first choice but if you are craving something with more flavour opt for 100% fruit juice with no added sugar. Caffeine may give you a boost in the short term but the increased energy is short lived and the crash can make you feel worse than you did before you had the caffeinated beverage. Green tea is an excellent choice for after a meal. Not only will it help you digest but green tea is a potent antioxidant.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to portion control and your lunchtime meal. Some feel that you should have your heaviest meal at lunch so your body has time to metabolise your food before you sleep, while others think that smaller meals throughout the day is the better option. If you decide to have a lighter dinner with lunch being your main meal of the day you still want to choose healthy lean protein and vegetables instead of fast or fried food. When eating smaller meals throughout the day be conscious of the size of the meal you are ordering. If the portions are large ask for a container and put half the meal in the container to eat at another time.
Eating home packed lunches can be difficult and time consuming during busy mornings but packing a lunch from home not only will benefit your waistline, it can also help you save money. One way to save time in the morning is to pack your lunch the night before and just grab it as you're running out the door.