Monday, January 16, 2012

Smart Lunch

As we all get back into our routines after the holidays, take a look at some habits that may be wreaking havoc on your health. One habit that many people fall into is eating lunch out. Whether coworkers suggest heading to a nearby restaurant, you need a change of scenery from the office, or you're in a hurry and fast food calls your name, restaurant meals are likely sabotaging your good intentions of eating healthfully.

Many restaurant meals can pack in as many as 2,000 calories (more than most people's daily needs) and 4,000 mg of sodium (more than twice the recommended intake)! Not to mention the price; many meals cost $15 or more. If you do this several times a week, the pounds begin to add up quickly, and your bank account dwindles.

Instead of grabbing a menu, brown bag your lunch several times per week. To stay satisfied, focus on packing complex carbohydrates like whole grains and fruits and lean meats like tuna, chicken, or turkey. These foods will keep your energy levels up, and prevent that mid-afternoon energy drain.

To keep from getting bored, try new foods. For example, instead of plain bread, make a sandwich on a pita or mini-bagel. Whole grain crackers like Triscuits offer crunch without the fat and calories of potato chips. Pack a piece of fruit for a hint of sweetness.

If it's a change of scenery you crave, take your lunch to go. Get out of your office and find a nice spot to eat. Take a quick walk, get some fresh air and enjoy the smart decision you have made. If you were to cut out three restaurant lunches each week, in a year you will have saved yourself from consuming thousands of extra calories and saved $2,340!

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