Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Ideas for Desk Top Lunches -- Guest Post by Deb Dixon

30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge

The Mediterranean lifestyle encourages us to sit down and enjoy our meals with others, but many of us find ourselves eating lunch at our desk more days than not. Deb Dixon, ASHA's Director of School Services, shares some tips to help us make those lunches easy and healthy. 

How many of us choose to or need to stay at our desks to eat lunch?  According to the American Dietetic Association 75% of us do so two to three times a week. Often this results in grabbing something that is less than healthy (do I hear the coins dropping in the snack machine in the staff lunchroom?),   and a missed opportunity to enjoy time with colleagues in a more relaxed setting. "Overeating and unbalanced nutrition are the biggest problems with eating at your desk," says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a sports nutritionist for the University of Miami Athletic Department.

Foods that you do eat at your desk are best prepared at home. Homemade foods tend to be lower in sodium and fat than commercially prepared foods, and allow you better portion control.  Start with yogurt, fruits, nuts, raw vegetables, high fiber crackers and soup.

With a little planning, your lunch can be healthier, more flavorful, and perhaps even the envy of your cluster mates!  In fact, these are so good, you may want to share lunch with your ASHA friends on a regular basis!

Consider the following:
  • Spinach salad with feta crumbles, dried cranberries in a fat free vinaigrette 
  • Hummus on pita chips , carrot sticks and red grapes 
  • Caprese baguette- fresh low fat mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil on a whole wheat baguette  Add some fruit slices to add sweetness. 
  • Brown rice topped with mushrooms sautéed in olive oil or black beans and avocado chunks or sautéed spinach 
  • Veggie sub- whole wheat sub roll with julienned green peppers, sliced tomato and cucumber, shredded lettuce, onions and a dash of olive oil. 
  • Cold spicy shrimp ( just steam the shrimp with some favorite seasonings) over lettuce, with cucumbers and vinaigrette dressing 
  • Baked potato with low fat cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions 
  • Pizza: whole wheat English muffin with tomato sauce, lowfat shredded cheese, and favorite veggies. 
  • Pita with lettuce with grilled chicken, light Caesar dressing, carrots and an apple 
  • Whole wheat tortilla roll with sliced turkey, low fat mozzarella cheese, sweet pepper slices and lettuce with fruit. 
  • Quinoa Salad 1 cup cooked quinoa mixed with 1/4 cup each shelled edamame, chopped yellow pepper and chopped carrots, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, and fresh chopped herbs, such as cilantro or basil. Whisk together 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and mix into salad. 
  • Tuna salad- can of white tuna in water, drained, mixed with sunflower seeds, dried cherries and light balsamic vinaigrette. Serve on fiber crackers . 
  • Goat cheese sandwich- goat cheese with roasted mushrooms on a whole wheat bun. 
  • Curried egg salad sandwich- 2 hard cooked eggs, chopped, 2 tablespoons plain Greek-style yogurt, 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper; 1/ 4 teaspoon curry power, dash of pepper . Mix and serve on rye break with 1/ 4 cup spinach in place of lettuce. 
One last note… if you are eating at your desk, clean off your desk top and your hands with an antibacterial cleaner both before and after your meal, and focus on your meal for at least a short time. Consider listening to music while you eat!

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