I’ve been following the Dietitians of Canada theme of eating well at work as we sing along ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout March, which is Nutrition Month. Statistics show that some love it and some leave it – 37% of Canadians say they prepare lunch at home while 36% admit to skipping it – good grief. If you want any hope to charge through the afternoon it’s a good idea to plug in your battery with nutrient rich choices. You don’t want to end up like Dilbert and be asleep in your cubicle in the afternoon, do you?
Here are top tips to help you get good grub in your tummy at lunch to revitalize your workday:
1. Give your lunch bag a one-two punch! Perk up your packed lunch with four tasty energizing options.
You’ll love these quick, simple and tasty make-and-take lunches:
- Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavour.
- Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole-grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch.
- Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl.
- Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated.
2. Lunching at work? Think outside the cubicle. Start a healthy lunch club.
Want a healthy homemade lunch at work but don’t have time to make it? Form a lunch club with co-workers and take turns making and bringing a nutritious lunch.
Keep it simple with a salad, soup or sandwich club. You could also have fun with weekly themes, like cuisine from different cultures or dishes featuring specific nutrient-rich ingredients, such as legumes, cheese, barley or colourful vegetables.
Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, a workplace lunch club lets you enjoy a healthy homemade lunch and share good eating habits with your colleagues.
3. No time to pack lunch? Navigate the food court or cafeteria with dietitian-approved tips.
I spy with my little eye something that is healthier:
- Want salad satisfaction? Choose dark leafy greens, colourful veggies, protein-packed legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and whole grains such as barley or quinoa. Drizzle dressing lightly.
- Love pizza? Get a thin whole grain crust, load on the veggie toppings, stick to a single layer of cheese and steer clear of salty, high-fat meats.
- Craving a sandwich? Choose whole grain bread. Double up on veggies. Skip deli meats – go grilled instead. Get spreads on the side and use just a little.
- Satisfied by stir-fries? Ask for extra veggies and less sauce with your chicken, tofu or shrimp stir-fry. Choose brown rice instead of white.
4. Eating out at work? Make better choices with expert tips from dietitians.
Keep dietitians’ tried-and-true tips in mind when you’re eating out:
- Downsize it. Ask for half-portions or save part of your meal for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Choose steamed – or baked, broiled, grilled or roasted – instead of fried.
- Double up on veggies. Choose leafy green salads or cooked veggies for sides. Pile veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger.
- Don’t get too saucy! Salad dressings, spreads and sauces can add a lot of fat, calories and sodium. Get them on the side and use just enough for flavour.
Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.