Don't think you have time to eat healthy? Think again. Here's your guide to more nutritious on-the-go lunching.
The At-the-Desk Muncher
You know you shouldn't but, inevitably, you end up noshing at your desk more than you'd like to admit. You'll snack on whatever's around and before you know it, lunch time has passed and it's almost time for dinner. But by stocking your workspace with an arsenal of balanced foods, a nutritious, ready-made lunch is always within reach. Here are some staples:
- Peanut butter
- Celery and carrot sticks
- Dried fruit
- Rice cakes
- String cheese
- Salad greens
- Hard boiled eggs
- Whole grain bread
You can make a bounty of healthy treats and meals with this short list of ingredients. Go grocery shopping for work food at the beginning of the week. You can store non-perishables at your desk. Peanut butter makes for a tasty treat when paired with celery and carrots, and on rice cakes and bread. Toss some nuts, grapes, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, or tuna with salad greens and you've got an instant gourmet salad. Or, enjoy the ingredients on their own for satisfying snacking.
The Take-Out Fiend You always mean to bring a lunch, but when it comes down to it, you never do. You don't think to pack one the night before and there's never enough time in the morning. Inevitably, you end up buying something quick from a food truck or fast food joint around the corner. Unfortunately, most fast food is junk food. Here are some tricks to making fast food healthier:
- Subbing is a great way to eliminate unwanted calories and fat, and most places are happy to oblige. Ask for a side salad with that burger instead of fries.
- Opt for water instead of soda.
- Lunch doesn't require dessert. If you find yourself craving something sweet after your meal, eat an apple.
- Don't wait until you're starving to make a food run. Impulse buys like chips are usually placed by the cash register to entice the famished and weak-willed. The hungrier you are, the easier it is to choose convenience over nourishment.
The Brown Bagger You pack your kids a nutritious lunch, but for some reason, when it comes to packing your own, everything you know about nutrition seems to go right out the window. Start practicing what you preach. Carrot sticks may not be as appealing as chips, but you know they're healthier for you. Don't blow a healthy lunch just because you have the freedom of choice.
Fruit makes for a refreshing snack:
Veggies put a nice crunch in your bite:
- Celery sticks
- Snap peas
Build your own sandwich:
This is every grade-schooler's lunch dream come true. You're the one packing the lunch-- get creative! The beauty of making your own sandwich is that you'll get it exactly how you like it every time. Try adding some sprouts or avocado. Swap out the mayo for some hummus. If you're a cheese-eater, use a low-fat version. Chicken and ham off the bone (whole cuts) are healthier versions of lunch meat (cold cuts), which often contains preservatives like phosphates and MSG. Leftovers also make great ready-made lunches, so make some extra food next time.
The Car Foodie
Are you the always moving type, without time for a sit-down meal? Be sure to carry snacks to help you out of hunger jams and you won't be tempted to hit the drive-thru for the sake of saving time. Stock your glove compartment with on-the-go edibles for long commutes. Just don't get too complicated; some food requires two hands! Avoid anything that requires utensils to eat. Here are some foods that are especially easy to eat on the road:
- Granola bars
- Trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Pistachios are great for taking your mind off slow-moving traffic.
- Go-gurt and string cheese are good day-of take alongs.