One of the most effective ways to lose or maintain weight, according to researchers, is to avoid going out to restaurants for lunch. Experts including Dr. Oz and Dr. Weil agree that for all but the most iron-willed patrons, restaurants tend to be minefields of diet disaster.
For those of us who work in office jobs, this can be a big deal.
In the daily rush to get ready for work, it’s tempting to skip the fuss of packing a lunch. Then, when that midday hunger starts creeping in, it weakens the willpower. A co-worker suggests nipping out to Applebee’s for a burger and some friendly shop talk … or offers to make a run to a fast-food joint … well, why not?
The best defense against such temptation is a good offense, and that means having an appealing pre-packed lunch at the ready. I love a good lunch salad, but it can be tough to “pack” a salad ahead of time. I’ve found an easy solution, but it takes just a little planning ahead.
At the end of the weekend I make sure I have the makings of some good lunch salads on hand: fresh greens, a handful of leftover chicken or turkey, a bit of low-fat cheese, vegetables (some, like carrots, can be pre-chopped), and low-calorie Italian dressing (or, if you prefer, a good balsamic vinegar and olive oil).
Before leaving for work, toss some greens into a sealed container (plastic, or if you are concerned about the BPA in plastics, there are some great glass pack-and-go containers available today). You don’t want soggy salad, so keeping the greens fresh and separate from the rest of the ingredients is important!
In a smaller container, mix your veggies and a little chopped cheese and/or meat (optional) with the salad dressing. Cover and place both containers, along with an ice pack, into your lunch bag and go! At lunchtime, you’ll have a salad of crisp, cold greens with marinated veggies.
I love iced tea, so I always add my favorite home-brewed blend of green and black tea, packed in a reusable container.
The great thing about this lunch is that it’s such a simple concept, with endless variations. Your lunches can be a fabulous reflection of seasonal organic delights (for example, now that it’s summer my favorite veggie mix is tomato, cucumber, onion, and mozzarella cheese – delicious in the Italian dressing marinade!).
Best of all, I can pack this lunch in less than 5 minutes and enjoy a salad with sun-dried tomatoes that’s fresh and delicious enough to make my restaurant-bound colleagues weep with envy. And I don’t have to worry about leaving a tip.
Do you have any great tips for packing a lunch for work? Please share with us!
Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don’t skip meals and avoid going out to lunch – Science Daily