When you pack a lunch for work, it can be tempting to grab packaged foods to make the task easier. But watch out for hidden calories. Choose simple packed lunches to give yourself balanced energy throughout the day without an overdose of calories or fat.
Make tasty tuna, salmon or chicken salad without mayonnaise to enjoy a high-protein meal without extra calories. Combine the canned, flaked meat with lemon juice or a splash of vinegar instead to keep your calorie count down. Wrap the salad in whole-wheat pita bread or a tortilla for fewer calories and more complete nutrition than in white sandwich loaf bread. Add chopped vegetables, such as celery or apples, to the homemade salad for fiber. Spread a small amount of light creamy salad dressing on the bread for extra moisture and flavor.
Pack a hearty salad to take to work. Toss together any combination of fresh vegetables you like. Add crumbled cheese or a hard-boiled egg for protein. For a more filling salad that keeps you from seeking out unhealthy afternoon snacks, base your salads around a high-fiber grain, such as brown rice or quinoa, instead of lettuce. Keep the calorie level down by using a sparing amount of light creamy salad dressing or a drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar.
Soups make for a fast and filling lunch that you can eat at your desk with one hand. Go low-calorie by choosing packaged soups without a base of cream or milk. Or make a homemade soup featuring protein-packed canned beans simmered in packaged vegetable stock. For added flavor, season the beans with a dry ranch-flavored mix. Toss in chopped veggies and wholewheat pasta to create more filling soup.
Cook a potato in the microwave and top it with low-calorie options. Skip the butter, sour cream and cheese, and top the potato with salsa or chopped, steamed broccoli and light creamy dressing instead. Or sweeten things up by cooking a sweet potato and dressing it with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt.