FITNESS SOURCE: Preparing your lunch ensures healthy choices
By TARAH CHIEFFI firstname.lastname@example.org
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
If you have ever shown up at work with a brown paper bag containing a soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bag of potato chips and a diet soda, you may be a good candidate for Sad Desk Lunch (http://saddesklunch.com/). I’m certainly not discouraging bringing your lunch from home. In fact, I am suggesting just the opposite! Preparing your own lunches and snacks puts you in control of your food choices, and the healthy choice doesn’t have to be a sad one. Read on for some tasty ideas that don’t involve a drive thru or a pre-packaged frozen meal.
Soup - Homemade soup is a great choice for multiple reasons. First, you can make a huge batch and freeze the leftovers until you are ready to use them. Second, you can throw in just about any ingredient you choose. A blended soup consisting of sun dried tomatoes, onions, red peppers and your choice of spices is hearty, filling and great for dunking a nice, crusty whole grain bread. And a light broth with chopped onions, carrots, celery and chicken will taste better than any chicken soup from a can.
Salad - Salads are another easily customizable choice. Just chop up your favorite mix of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, add some protein (try roasted organic turkey or nitrate free deli meat) and pack a separate container with olive oil and vinegar as a dressing. One of my go-to combinations is spinach, strawberries, chopped bacon, green onions, pistachios and sliced avocado with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Deli Wrap - Maybe you would rather take a bite out of your salad than eat it with a fork. If so, try a deli wrap! A whole wheat tortilla (or gluten free if you are sensitive to gluten) spread with hummus and wrapped up with roasted peppers, spinach and shredded chicken makes a tangy and nutritious lunch.
Leftovers - The thought of leftovers may sound bland and boring, but if you are making healthy and delicious recipes at home, they can be just as good the next day. Just make a little extra and pack it away before you even start eating. Stir fries or chili can have their encore during tomorrow’s lunch break, just be sure to pack them in glass or bpa free containers for proper reheating.
Pair your lunch with any of these healthy snacks to get you through the afternoon slump
Homemade trail mix made with dried fruit, nuts and dark chocolate chips
Fresh fruit such as bananas, oranges or grapes
Apple slices with almond butter
Veggie sticks with hummus, guacamole or salsa
Nutrition bars (only if they are made with natural ingredients that you recognize such as fruits, nuts and honey)
Don’t fall victim to sad desk lunch syndrome. Use your lunch time to take a break from the computer screen, really enjoy your food and recharge for the afternoon.