If you skip it, or eat too much, it can really ruin your afternoon. Performance decreases, and you’re likely to overeat at dinner. However, in this fast-paced world we often need a quick meal. Here are a few healthier options. Granted most restaurant and grocery foods are high in sodium, and if that’s an issue for you, you can always brown-bag it.
If you plan on brown-bagging it (actually you should use an insulated bag), use the following tips:
Sandwiches and Wraps: Chicken, turkey, lean cold cuts or low-fat cheese on 100 percent whole-wheat bread (whole grain must be the first ingredient) are all great options. Wraps, whole-wheat pita bread and tortillas (not fried) are also good, but always check the calories. A 1-ounce corn tortilla has about 70 calories. Avoid mayo, tartar sauce, creamy dressings and full-fat cheese. Use mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper or vinegar.
Pasta: Use whole-wheat pasta, and add vegetables and a low-calorie sauce (50-60 calories per half cup). Pack it in a plastic container like GladWare or Tupperware. One cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti has 170 calories.
Salads: Buy prepackaged bags of salad and keep them in your cooler, then add your low-calorie dressing at lunchtime. Or buy McDonald’s Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette at only 40 calories per packet. They cost only about 30 cents each at McDonald’s and are not sold in all stores. Avoid nuts, croutons, noodles and creamy salad dressings.
Chicken, Turkey and Sushi: All of these can be eaten cold. With chicken and turkey, opt for white meat and remove the skin, which has most of the fat. Sushi is sold in many supermarkets in plastic containers perfect for taking “to go.” (If you’re buying raw fish you better be sure it’s kept cold!) Choose vegetable rolls (such as California or cucumber) to get fiber and flavor for fewer calories.
Keep Your Foods and Soups Hot: To keep almost any food hot — especially soups, stews or chilies — try Thermos’ Vacuum Insulated Food Jar. It keeps foods hot for five hours or more. It can be purchased here.