It’s Day 4 of our June Clean Eating Challenge! How are you doing so far? I know it can be really hard to let go of processed foods, junk foods, soda, sugary foods, etc…but you can do it. Yesterday I sent out some links to free meal plans and meal planning resources. If you didn’t get that email, please check your spam folder.
Today, I want to give you a few clean eating ideas for lunch at work. I know that lunchtime can be a time filled with temptation. You are away from home, stressed out at your job, eating with co-workers…it’s a lot to deal with. Here are 3 suggestions from Livestrong:
Making your own lunches from dinner leftovers or making sandwiches the night before is the most economical option and the choice that gives you the most nutritional benefit. For example, brown bag a lunch such as an egg salad or tunafish sandwich on whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato and low-fat mayo. Add fresh fruits such as apples, grapes, or bananas for fiber. Include low-fat yogurt cups or unsalted nuts of any kind for a high-protein dessert. Leftover chicken is not a bad choice for lunch the next day if you add a small raw green salad with sprouts and cherry tomatoes. Keep a bottle of extra virgin olive oil or low-fat salad dressing at the office for convenience.
Eat High-Protein, Fiber Lunches
If you are eating on the run, select choices that are low in refined sugar, saturated fat and salt, high in protein and fiber. The USDA recommends consuming no more than 30 percent of your total daily calories from fat. Of that number, no more than 10 percent should be from saturated fat: butter, beef, pork or chicken fat. The over-consumption of saturated fat can increase the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure or obesity. For that reason, eating a rotisserie-style chicken meal with baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli is a better nutritional choice than fried chicken and French fries. At the salad bar, select fresh fruit, cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, plain turkey, tuna, legumes and fresh greens and vegetables over cold cuts or bleu cheese dressing.
Avoid Fried, Salty, Sugary Lunches
No matter where you are, order the items that are mainly lean protein, steamed vegetables and whole-grain starches. For example, in an Italian restaurant, go for a pizza magherita or minestrone soup, pasta and marinara sauce, green salad and a plain baked potato or breadsticks. At a Chinese takeout, get steamed vegetables, non-fried beef and broccoli or steamed tofu and steamed rice instead of fried shrimp, pork potstickers and fried rice. Order a heart-healthy Mexican lunch of a rice and bean burrito with no sour cream, or non-fried fish tacos with guacamole and baked corn tortillas instead of fried chips with beef carnitas.
Try these recipes and take your lunch to work.