Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quick Tips for a Healthy and Lazy Lunch

Hey there!  It's halfway to Friday.  Am I the only one that feels like this week has been flying by?  Tonight is the first night all week that I've actually been home for more than a brief few minutes - if at all - after work.

Yesterday, I had a committee meeting for the Junior League at a winery/restaurant.  It was really exciting to get to know the other women that I'll be working with this year.  We're in charge of our League's magazine and I think with our team and all of it's creative talent, we'll put out a lot of fantastic issues.  I ordered a wedge salad with goat cheese - it was divine.

It's gotten chillier and darker in the mornings, so I bundled up with a coat this morning.  While I've been sick this week, it's been hard to get in "lunch prep and packing mode".  Yesterday, instead of packing a lunch, I pre-planned what I was going to buy from the cafeteria.  I'm fortunate that my work has a few healthy options - if I want something healthy, I'm prone to picking a salad.

However, salads can be death traps when it comes to nutrition.  Your salad quickly loses it's benefits when you load on tons of cheese, fried chicken, bacon, croutons and dressing.  A salad can be a way to rake in your fruit and veggie choices or a way to derail your diet quickly.

So, what do I do?  First, I chose a healthy salad and then I pump it up.  The one I chose for this lunch was the Vegetarian Deluxe from Au Bon Pain.  Here's the description:

Vegetarian Deluxe 
Romaine, fire-roasted red & yellow bell peppers, Kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, chickpeas, red onion

Tips to Choosing a Healthy Salad

  • Choose darker greens as the base such as spinach, baby kale, romaine - try to avoid iceberg when possible
  • Choose grilled or vegetarian proteins - look for grilled chicken, chickpeas, black beans
  • Choose smaller amounts of cheese that pack a bigger flavor punch - opt for small amounts of feta, goat or sharp cheddar
  • Leave something off - skip the bacon, high fat salad dressing or breadstick
  • Add something that packs a flavor punch - sun dried tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers

Going along with my tips - I left off the salad dressing, skipped the breadstick for obvious reasons and chose two high impact flavorings - olives and feta.  My next trick is that I pack a few things in my lunch box to pump up my salad....

Quick Tricks to Pump your Salad

  • Add nuts such as sunflower seeds or almonds for a healthy dose of fat and an easy protein boost
  • Bring extra veggies to amp up a skimpy salad - boost up those vitamins and minerals
  • Skip the dressing and roll with a few avocado slices instead for a quick boost of healthy fat, fiber, potassium, vitamin K and folate 
  • BYOP - bring your own protein - I 
How did I pump up this salad? I added sunflower seeds for crunch and healthy fats. I also boosted the protein factor by adding hard boiled eggs.  I included the yolks because they contain all of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) and are a great source of choline!  I also had a veggie pack on the side aka. a ziplock bag full of sliced cucumbers,  red peppers and yellow peppers.

Now, you've got all the tricks up your sleeve for a healthy and lazy lunch.  As my friends would say, only 2 more wake-ups until Friday!  

What's on your agenda for the weekend? 

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