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February 17, 2011 - February 17, 2011

What’s on your Lunch Tray?

Amber Wilson, MS, RD



Michelle Obama and celebrity-chef Jamie Oliver have brought our attention to the unhealthy lunches that are served to America’s children, but are your lunch habits any better?  Read below to find out if your lunch routine might be sabotaging your diet. 

The Computer Eater – You eat lunch at your desk while multitasking on the computer.  Maybe you’re too busy to leave the office so you eat lunch while working on a proposal.  Or maybe lunch is the time you use to catch up on your personal emails and dabble in on-line shopping.  When you eat while working on the computer, your brain is less likely to register feelings of fullness.  Often this results in overeating or feeling unsatisfied after your meal.

The Lunch Skipper – Your days are busy and sometimes it might be 3pm before you realize that you never had lunch.  At this point, you’re famished and head to the vending machine or to the break room for leftover pizza.  When you skip meals one of two things happens:  1) Your low blood sugar impairs your judgment, all intentions of healthy eating fly out the window, and you reach for the quickest, most satisfying meal available.  2) You continue to feel hungry and unsatisfied for the rest of the day, and you overload your dinner plate with calories in an attempt to satisfy your hunger. 

The Sinful Salad Eater – You try to be good…every day at lunchtime you head to the salad bar.  You load up your salad with lettuce, turkey and cherry tomato, but then pile on the cheese, buttery croutons, and Ranch dressing.  Some salad toppings, dressing included, end in calorie disaster totaling more calories than a hamburger and fries.

The Out-To-Lunch Eater – Your lunch break is the best part of your day.  You and your colleagues get out of the office and frequent the local neighborhood restaurants, but at great expense to your calorie budget. 


What should you do for lunch this week?

·         Try to make an effort to eat your lunch without multitasking.  If you need to answer emails at lunch, divide your break into time spent responding to emails and time spent eating lunch.

·         Make sure you eat lunch.  If the hours of your workday tend to slip away from you, plan ahead and bring your lunch or keep something on hand at work (frozen meals, canned soup, etc.) to eat on those days when you can’t break away to grab some food. 

·         Try to eat a balanced lunch of lean protein, fruit or vegetables and whole grains to keep you full and satisfied while energizing you for the afternoon ahead.  Salads make great lunch options, but load them up with veggies and lean protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, beans) instead of high calorie toppings. 





1 12-ounce can chunk light tuna, drained

1 cup chopped, canned artichoke hearts

½ cup chopped olives (your favorite variety will work – black olives, kalamatta, green, etc)

1 Tablespoon capers

1/3 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon dried dill

Salt and pepper

Sliced avocado

Large leaf lettuce, such as red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, or romaine lettuce

Whole wheat pita (optional)



Combine all ingredients through the dried dill in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a few slices of avocado on top of the lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap.  As an alternative, stuff the tuna into a whole wheat pita along with a few slices of avocado and lettuce.


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