For many people, especially those who work outside the home, lunch is usually a rushed affair. This can cause some very unhealthy choices, such as grabbing fast food or vending-machine fare, or skipping the meal entirely. With a little planning, eating a low-fat lunch can be just as easy as eating an unhealthy one. The best tips include preparing lunches ahead of time, stocking up on items that can be grabbed on the go and choosing options that provide an energy boost.
Preparing a low-fat lunch ahead of time ensures that it will be ready when needed. Waiting until the morning before work can derail efforts to eat more healthfully when last-minute issues like over-sleeping come up. One good tip is to prepare a lunch made of leftovers from a healthy dinner, setting it aside while putting away the food. For those who are short on time at night, taking a little extra time to make a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday can help save a few extra minutes during the week.
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Even those who get into the habit of making their lunches ahead of time can wind up in situations where they need something quick. Accidental spills or unexpected spoiling of ingredients can turn that healthy low-fat lunch into a pile of trash. Keeping a stock of low-fat foods that can be grabbed quickly and tossed into a lunch sack can help prevent turning to unhealthy choices. These include fruits like apples and grapes, nuts, whole-grain breads, and vegetables that won’t wilt or get soggy as the morning progresses.
Eating a healthy, low-fat lunch made with foods that boost energy levels can help banish the mid-afternoon slump that sends many people running to the nearest candy machine. Good options that increase energy include low-fat turkey, hard-boiled egg whites, and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods may provide a temporary boost, but often cause a subsequent sugar crash that can leave people feeling even more sluggish.
Those who typically eat out during the lunch hour can still enjoy a healthy, low-fat lunch by keeping a mental list of a few “go-to” options. Simple salads with a low-fat dressing are a good option. Baked chicken cutlets with a side of green vegetables are also low in fat. Many restaurants even use some type of symbol to denote low-fat entrees on the menu, making it even easier to determine which options are the best choices.