Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
Lean Up Lunch
In my line of work, I talk to people all day long about what they eat. You can't really shock me anymore because I do feel like I have heard it all. But it is the everyday stuff that bothers me most. I am surprised and disappointed when I hear many people talk about how much time (1 or more hours), money ($6 and up), and calories (800 and up) they spend on lunch. Many restaurants today are pretty empty at dinnertime, but the lunch crowd has barely dwindled and in some places is thriving.
With this economy and the obesity crisis in America, many people are looking for ways to save money and to lose weight (or at least prevent weight gain). How about one solution that will help BOTH problems? Jackpot!
One of my favorite things to recommend for a quick, easy, and quite affordable lunch are frozen meals. There are so many varieties to choose from that you can't get bored quickly with them. In fact, I hear people tell me they are bored with their take-out lunches more often than I hear about boredom with frozen meals.
What about sodium? Aren't those frozen meals high in sodium? They do contain some sodium, but so does pretty much everything we eat. They have a LOT less sodium than most of the foods you are likely eating for lunch right now. Check out the comparisons below.
Fettucini Alfredo (fast food regular size) with one breadstick
35 g Fat
1750 mg Sodium
Lean Cuisine Pasta Carbonara (linguini with bits of bacon, peppers, peas, and creamy sauce)
8 g Fat
590 mg Sodium
Beef Chow Fun take-out Chinese
38 g Fat
2432 mg Sodium
Lean Cuisine Beef Chow Fun
5 g Fat
520 mg Sodium
Chicken Enchiladas, black beans, rice, tortilla chips from Mexican Restaurant
49 g Fat
2864 mg Sodium
Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchiladas
4 g Fat
550 mg Sodium
Pair a frozen meal for lunch with a yogurt, glass of milk, or piece of fruit to round it out nicely. Enjoy!