3 Simple and Healthy Lunch Swaps
In talking with my clients over the years, lunch is often the “deal breaker” in terms of eating healthy vs. eating junk.
To be totally honest I don’t know…it doesn’t make sense to my trainer brain. Lunch should be relatively simple. Just plan ahead so you don’t let your food-starved brain make the decision and you’ll be fine.
But in the real world, where not everyone lives with my trainer brain (and this is a good thing…) it can be difficult and I do understand the problem.
You go, go, go all morning and then all of a sudden realize “I’m hungry…must eat!” and your stomach takes you to the nearest food choice and often times poor choices are made.
Or, you eat on a whim and make poor choices…
Or, you think you’re choosing something healthy and good for you at a restaurant, when in reality you can’t trust many restaurants unless they state on the menu how many calories are in the dubious meal.
To help out here’s a quick list of 3 easy and healthy lunch swaps for those of you who find yourself dining out…
1. Swap the burrito, or various other Mexican calorie bombs for a salad bowl.
If you’re prone to grabbing a “quick” burrito, or whatever the Mexican food joints have to offer, for lunch, shoot for a salad bowl (and preferably make it yourself). You can still use most of the same ingredients like black beans, chicken or steak, cheese (REAL cheese…not the processed crap), lettuce and quality salsa, but rather than having rice or a calorie-bomb wrap, use spinach or romaine lettuce.
The burritos from those restaurants typically have approximately 1,200 calories and I don’t know about you, but that’s way too many calories for this fitness fella. The problem is I’ve eaten one of those burritos, quickly, and have felt hungry within about 10 minutes after finishing.
Aside from the rice and other simple carbs INSIDE the thing, the wrap, shell, or whatever, is usually LOADED and I mean LOADED with calories (even if it’s a supposed ‘whole grain’). Some are as little as 200 calories and others as much as 400…and that’s just the casing!
Get rid of the simple carbohydrates and rely on fiber-rich vegetables instead.
That’s really all that needs to be done – get rid of the outside ‘shell’ and any other simple carbs like rice, and add some quality lettuce, or just eat the innards.
This brings up another thing – just because the food joint offers some type of “wrap” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy or low calorie. Often those wraps, just as I said earlier, are calorie-bombs…but because it’s a wrap rather than a bun, we tend to believe it’s better – it’s NOT.
2. Swap the mega sandwich for a lettuce wrap.
I know Jared has been pimpin’ his fat pants for years and years, but I will never be a believer in the “Subway diet” because it’s still a loaf of bread jammed with ingredients (veggies or not…).
I once read a marketing book that said it takes giant brass (insert orb-shaped male feature here) to market a loaf of bread as a weight loss tool and he was absolutely right. In my brain, bread is bread and ordering that stuff by the inch is never a good idea.
So instead of feeding yourself a loaf of processed bread (most of it is processed, even if it says ‘wheat’), get a lettuce wrap. This may be a bit more cumbersome to eat, but you can get many of the same ingredients that you’d ordinarily put in the weight loss loaf of bread, except for the Paula Deen-esque ingredients like mayonnaise.
3. Remove the condiments.
I know this isn’t really a “lunch swaps” per se, but it’s pretty simple.
Get rid of the condiments on the lunches you commonly eat.
Condiments like ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc. add needless calories.
I know that some may add that extra bit of flavor, and if you can control yourself, are fine and dandy, but most folks cannot control themselves, or have never taken the time to realize just how much those sweet and tasty condiments add to your waistline.
The rationale for this is the same as asking you to not use the ‘heavy’ salad dressings. They’re useless calories and, if the quality of the food is good, aren’t necessary.
Aside from those simple healthy lunch swaps, here are a few other tips to help your lunch eatin’ easier on your waistline:
1 – Always order fruit and/or vegetables as your side dish. No junk.
2 – Always order water as your beverage. No diet sodas and nothing with calories.
3 – Always eat your side of fruits/veggies BEFORE your entrée.
4 – Either order from the ‘light’ section, or ask for ½ order. Don’t order the full portion expecting to stop halfway through. You won’t know the difference.
5 – Take a drink of water between bites. Every bite. Put the fork down and take a drink of water.
6 – Have a snack a few hours before lunch. The biggest factor in eating poorly at lunch is allowing yourself to get “starvation brain” where you feel famished and all good sense is thrown out the window. You’re not starving. You know you’re not starving. Don’t act like you’ve never seen food before.
I know it’s easier said than done, but it can, and will be done…
Of course I’m right! I’m always right! [sarcasm…I’m hardly ever right]
Use those lunch swaps and super-duper, almost overly simplistic tips in your lunch eating and you will see results – especially when added to the Challenges I’m giving you, and the workouts!
P.S. – Have you seen this? It’s a brand new video and, to be oh so modest, it’s quite awesome! –> “The Fit Dad Says” Book