Lunch Strategies for Work

If you've read "Fun and Filling Lunches To-Go" then you already have some great ideas for packing a healthy, filling, and tasty lunch. But some days, packing your own meal isn't an option. When you're not able to brown-bag it, don’t let that excuse derail your healthy diet! Instead, make smart choices:
  • If your only option is fast food, pick a broiled chicken breast sandwich, but skip the high-fat sauces. Or, try the salad bar, but keep portions of dressing, cheese, and high-fat meats (like pepperoni) under control. Limit mayonnaise salads, including coleslaw, potato, egg and chicken salads. Beware of all-you-can-eat “deals” that will sabotage your hard-won healthy choices.
  • For appetizers, avoid the crispy, creamy, and cheesy, and go for to broth-based soups or fresh fruit cups. Better yet, pick a healthy appetizer (a thin-crust veggie pizza, for example) as your entrée.
  • In choosing an entrée, look for keywords: grilled, steamed, poached, and broiled. Order with special instructions such as light on the sauces or butter, sauce on the side (so you can control the portions), or simply no sauce. "Cajun" or "blackened" items usually make good choices, because they are spicy, but low in fat.
  • Keep portion sizes realistic. You may even find it helpful to ask for a to-go box with your order so that you can divide your food immediately after it comes, thus avoiding the temptation to continue nibbling after you’re really full.
  • Try to avoid  vending machines. If it’s your only option (or you’re just tempted beyond belief), choose the healthier items: wheat crackers, pretzels, yogurt, string cheese, or dried fruit. If there are no healthy choices—take the initiative! Survey your fellow workers, then submit a respectful request that machines include at least a few healthy items.
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Member Comments

Thanks for the great article! Report
I'm glad I have a plan B when for whatever reason I haven't packed a lunch. In addition to a gym, my workplace also has a cafeteria. My best cheap healthy lunch costs me $1.25. I buy one hardboiled egg and a side salad. I take it back to my workspace and add some unsalted mixed nuts and a capful of vinegar. On days when I order a meal, you can get an entree, 2 sides, and drink for $4.00. On Wednesdays, they have big specialty salads for $4.00. Can't beat the prices. Report
.. Report
Good reminders. Some useful strategies here. Report
Consider the nutritional consequences before putting anything in your mouth Report
Great ideas! Report
Gotta do the hard work Report
Very good and helpful article Report
Great ideas. Report
Good article. Report
Great article. Report
Good info! Report
I usually take lunch. My biggest problems are the day when I have no leftovers from the night before. On theses days I will either wait until I return home after work to eat or I will pick up some fresh fruit to hold me over. I'm trying to do better. Report
Thank you for sharing this article. I pack my lunches 99.9% of the time. For a couple of reasons. #1. Cost. It is expensive buying out all the time. #2. I find it much healthier. I know exactly what is in it when I make it myself. I love that this article reminds us to stay focused on what we eat and has reasonable options to keeping this practical. Once again thank you. :) Report


About The Author

Rebecca Pratt
Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.