LiveWell Northwest Colorado: Make your lunch a GO! |

LiveWell Northwest Colorado: Make your lunch a GO!

Barb Parnell

Which of the following does your lunch typically look like?

• GO: turkey on whole wheat with a side of coleslaw

• SLOW: pizza with a meat topping

• WHOA: burger, fries and Coke from a food establishment or a prepackaged product

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but lunch comes in as a close second. Recent national surveys show that only a third of American workers said that they take a lunch break. Sixty-five percent of those who do take a lunch break eat at their desk.

Eating a well-balanced GO lunch helps you to be more alert and increases productivity. Making it an uninterrupted lunch break can reduce stress and improve student/employee morale.

A healthy GO lunch should include a lean protein, vegetable, fruit and water. For example, egg salad made with Greek yogurt on a bed of lettuce; quinoa salad with tomatoes, bell pepper and baked tofu or chicken; or a lean meat roll-up (spread a lettuce leaf with a sauce/condiment, sliced meat and shredded carrots).

Packing healthy lunches to take to work or school does not have to be expensive or time consuming, but it does take a little planning and preparation.

A few hints to make the planning a little easier:

• Invest in reusable ice-pack containers.

• Make extra portions the evening before or on the weekend and set aside some for lunch that week.

• Make your lunch the night before, to avoid last minutes chaos in the morning rush.

Bored with the same old lunch?

Consider changing the bread to whole grain, add new ingredients, fruits or veggies to a leftover entree, cut up a different fruit and/or veggies each day or infuse your water with a veggie/fruit.

Limited time to prepare healthy lunches? Try these options that take less than 10 minutes of prep time.

• Pasta salad: Make cold pasta salad with leftover pasta from last night’s dinner. Toss chilled whole grain pasta with feta cheese or cheese cubes, beans, lots of bite-size vegetables and a homemade or bottled vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil or canola oil.

• Fish in a pinch: Work a fish serving into your week by adding tuna or salmon to your green salad, pasta salad or wrap. For a satisfying light lunch, toss some tuna or salmon with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy with whole grain crackers. Fish tacos also are a hit and the ingredients (salsa, avocado, lettuce, whole grain or corn tortillas) can be packed in individual containers so it’s not soggy at lunchtime.

• Falafel pita pleaser: Purchase ready-to-bake falafels in the vegetarian refrigerator section of the supermarket. Bake them ahead of time, then insert them into a whole wheat pita pocket spread with some hummus and veggies of your choice.

Set yourself up for a successful afternoon by eating a GO lunch.

Barb Parnell is the community coordinator for LiveWell Northwest Colorado.

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