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The Lunch Challenge! You in?

healthy lunch

Written by Dana Yarn, RDLD

Studies show that those who eat healthy food they prepared at home see results more quickly than those who try to lose weight or improve their health eating out regularly. I know it is easy to leave the house and just "wing it" for lunch but that could lead to excessive calorie, fat, sodium and sugar intake which in turn will cause you to gain weight and possible develop nutrition related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.

Some clients say they enjoy the "out of office" break during lunch and they don't want to eat at their desk. You don't have to go out to eat on your lunch break you can eat a 10 minute lunch in the break room or at your desk and then run errands or go for a walk outside for the rest of your lunch break. You will feel better and you will also save money, who does not want to do that?

A friend of mine from the gym who is a Registered Dietitian with the CDC informed me of the 2 causes that increased the obesity rate in our country (proven by studies), they surprised me.

The first is the population reduction of smoking, those who used to smoke now eat so the obesity rate increased. This is actually a good thing because fewer American are smoking and you don't have to gain weight while quitting. There just needs to be a behavior change in regards to gaining weight during smoking cessation. If you are worried about weight gain during smoking cessation, then now is your chance to develop a regular exercise regimen and learn how to cook healthier and make healthy choices while eating out.

The second reason is more related to this blog post, the obesity rate has increased due to more women in the work force. When he said that I got defensive and said, "Hold on a second, what does that have to do with anything?" It is because now those women are working just as much as men they are also eating out and not cooking as much at home which results in excessive calorie, fat, sodium and sugar intake. Due to long hours at the office and power packed family schedules it is easier to go through the drive through and avoid the stove. I am also a working mother and I try to limit our eating out to only 2 times per week which can be difficult. The key to packing lunches for your family and serving healthy meals at night is planning them out. Make extra portions at dinner so you have something to eat the next day for lunch. Load up your desk with healthy snacks, this way you will avoid the junk food vending machine! We try to keep grilled chicken in the fridge so we always have protein to throw into a stir fry or make a quick sandwich. It may sound like a lot of work but once you develop the habits it will be like second nature. Check out these sandwich, wrap and salad ideas to keep your lunches interesting!


(topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
2 c mixed greens, 1 tbs. shredded parmesan, ½ tomato, 2 tbs sliced almonds, 2 tbs vinaigrette dressing

(Topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
mixed greens, blue cheese, red onion, walnuts, raisins, balsamic vinaigrette

(Topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
mixed greens, feta cheese, red peppers, cucumbers, Olives, tomato, Greek vinaigrette

(topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
mixed greens, sliced apples, gouda cheese, almonds, cinnamon, raspberry dressing

(topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
mixed greens, sliced apples, walnuts, mandarin oranges raspberry dressing

(Topped with roasted chicken or tuna)
mixed greens, black beans, corn, tomato, cheddar, roasted red pepper dressing


Bleu Walnut Chicken -
roasted chicken, bleu cheese, chopped walnuts, red-onion, raisins, house greens, vinaigrette, and gluten free wrap

Chicken Parm' (toasty hot) -
roasted chicken, chunky marinara sauce, part skim mozz-provolone, tomato, mushroom, gluten free wrap

Apple Walnut Turkey -
roasted turkey, diced apples, chopped walnuts, mango chutney, house greens, raspberry vinaigrette, gluten free wrap

Tuna -
Mixture of tuna, sweet chili sauce & olive oil based mayo, red onion, mozz-provolone, tomato, lettuce, gluten free wrap

Turkey Club -
smoked turkey, nitrate free bacon strip, avacado, lettuce, tomato, olive oil based mayo,
gluten free wrap

Classic Chicken -
roasted chicken, mozz-provolone, olive oil based mayo, lettuce, tomato, vinaigrette,
gluten free wrap

Island Wrap -
roasted chicken, mango salsa, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, vinaigrette, gluten free wrap

Greek Veggie -
garlic hummus, feta cheese, red onion, olives, cucumber, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce, vinaigrette, gluten free wrap

Ham & Gouda -
low-sodium/nitrate free ham (Boarshead), gouda cheese, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, house greens, roasted red pepper sauce, gluten free wrap

Turkey Santa Fe -
nitrate free turkey, black beans, corn, guacamole, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red-pepper sauce, gluten free wrap

Chicken Kicker -
roasted chicken, feta, marinated peppers, lettuce, tomato, olive oil based mayo, vinaigrette, gluten free wrap

Roast Beef -
top-round roast beef, yellow peppers, mushrooms, red onion, dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato, lite mayo, gluten free wrap

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