Brown Bagging It

If you pack your lunch, the what-to-pack dilemma quickly becomes tiring. Most people tend to pack more or less the same food every day and end up with yet another turkey sandwich, salad, or bagel. As long as you're content with what you choose, fine. But if you're tired of the same stuff, consider these suggestions:

  • Strive for at least 500 calories (even if you are on a reducing diet) from three types of food at lunch. This means a bagel, yogurt, and banana or salad, turkey, and pita. Just a bagel or just a salad is likely too little fuel.
  • Remember peanut butter. Peanut butter is an outstanding sports food—even for dieters—because it's satisfying and helps you stay fueled for the whole afternoon. Yes, it has 200 more calories than a standard turkey sandwich, but a satisfying peanut butter sandwich allows you to nix the afternoon cookies and snacks that would otherwise sneak into your intake for the day. Refresh your memory of this childhood staple!
  • Pack planned leftovers from dinner and heat them in the microwave oven. They're preferable to the cup of noodles or frozen lunches that cost more than they're worth.

If you're lucky enough to have a cafeteria at work or to participate in a business lunch, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a hot meal. Eating a dinner at lunch

  • fuels you for a high-energy after-work exercise session,
  • simplifies the "what's to eat for dinner" routine because you'll feel less hungry and may be content to enjoy a bowl of cereal or a sandwich, and
  • reduces the hungry horrors that you might otherwise fight if you were to eat a light lunch. Why not enjoy a substantial meal? You are going to eat the calories eventually, so you might as well honor your hunger and eat now.
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