If you're trying to lose weight, don't let your midday meal sabotage your best intentions. Guilty of any of these mistakes? It may be time for a lunch makeover.
- You eat out all the time: Sure, you can find healthy options at many places, even fast food restaurants, but if you're trying to take control of what's in your food, bringing lunch you've made yourself is the healthiest option. Save time and make a few extra servings of dinner; these healthy recipes make great lunch leftovers!
- You always wash it down with juice or soda: There's nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but if your lunch seems incomplete without popping a can of soda to accompany it, you could be adding thousands of unwanted calories to your diet in a month. Diet soda can also lead to an expanded waistline, so wean yourself off juice and soda and opt for water or tea instead.
- You don't think about nutrition: It can be easy to opt for what's fastest or cheapest when you're ordering lunch, but that midday meal should help you hit your nutritional requirements in order to keep you energized throughout the day, especially if you've got a workout on your calendar. Instead of eating yet another greasy, carby lunch, think about your recommended daily intake of important vitamins and minerals; this RDI chart will help you make healthier choices at any meal.
- You don't eat enough: You may think that choosing a 90-calorie soup over a fast-food stop is the healthiest choice, but you've also got to make sure your meal keeps you full throughout the afternoon in order to dissuade those afternoon junk food munchies. Choose healthy lunch options that have good amounts of protein and fiber to help keep you full; if you find yourself heading to the vending machine for an afternoon snack, get in the habit of keeping healthy snacks like fruit or any of these healthy store-bought snacks at your desk when cravings strike.
- You eat mindlessly: Let's face it, we can't always step away from our desks to enjoy lunch, but wolfing down your lunch in front of your computer can make you feel hungry soon after. Help your brain register that you're full by eating slowly and if possible take at least 15 minutes away from your desk to eat.
Source: Thinkstock / George Doyle