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The Cubicle Diet: Tips for healthy eating while at work

Yelena Moroz is a freelance writer based in New York City. She believes that you can never know too much when it comes to food.

9 to 5 Diet

If you are confined to a 9 to 5 job, you know that keeping on track with healthy eating habits can take more work than your biggest project. Between pastry-laden breakfast meetings and pizza parties, maintaining a balanced office diet is difficult. But don't get your pantsuit in a bunch, just yet. With the recommendations of two New York-based nutritionists, Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D, and Sally Kravich, author of Vibrant Living, you can have a fool-proof plan that ensures each of your meals is nutritious and low in calories, bad fats and sugar.

Hungry Woman in Cubicle
The most important aspect of eating healthy at work is planning ahead, so you are not stuck ravenously gorging on the first thing in your path.

Breakfast

Instead of skipping breakfast or a chocolate chip muffin with a Starbucks mocha…

Make at home: Buy Greek or plain yogurt to create your own parfait-like concoctions. These yogurts come with less sugar, around 9 grams per 6-ounce serving, as opposed to more than 20 grams in most flavored varieties. Add banana slices, strawberries and raspberries to load up on fiber, potassium and vitamin C (which boosts the immune system and even helps reduce dry skin and wrinkles). Sprinkle with granola or almond slivers for crunch.

On the run: If you have to eat out, order an omelet packed with veggies like tomatoes, broccoli and red pepper. The lycopene in tomatoes protects again breast cancer, while red pepper is vital for good vision and bone growth thanks to vitamin A. Scrambled eggs is another option. "I prefer whole eggs," said Kravich. "The yolk is brain food."

If a sit-down meal is not an option, split a whole-grain bagel in half and top with smoked salmon, which is rich in good for you omega-3 fats, and skip the cream cheese. You can also order an all fruit smoothie to go.

Larabar

Mid-morning Snack

Instead of Oreos…

"Stock up on portion-controlled snacks like yogurt smoothies, reduced-fat cheese sticks and high-fiber crackers and individual-portion soups," says Glassman, author of The Snack Factor Diet. Try Larabar, a fruit and nut bar that comes in decadent flavors like Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie. It will appease your sweet tooth, even without added sugar, and help you say buh-bye! to junk food.

Lunch

Instead of Caesar Salad or pepperoni pizza…

Make at home: Instead of risking hidden culprits like fatty dressing at salad bars, make your own fresh vegetable salad. Opt for mixed greens instead of iceberg lettuce, which has nine times less vitamin K than spinach. Fill a plastic resealable bag with toppings of your choice, like grape tomatoes, a hardboiled egg (chopped), two tablespoons of sunflower seeds (to fill almost half of your daily vitamin E quota), a pinch of reduced-fat shredded cheese or Parmesan, and sliced chicken breasts or tofu to fill the protein slot.

Make your own salad dressing by combining olive oil with red wine vinegar or lemon juice with a splash of lite soy sauce. Still craving dressing? Stash a Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers in the kitchen fridge.

You can also make a delectable array of sandwiches with healthy ingredients (for wow-worthy sandwich recipes, read Sandwiches from around the world)

On the run: "White flour will make you feel tired and sluggish," says Kravich. Order a whole-grain sandwich or wrap with protein-rich turkey or tuna, but be weary of mayo-based deli salads. Take advantage of delis offering an array of veggies, like cucumbers and shredded carrots, and fiber-rich garbanzo beans. Get creative with different combinations to spruce up your sandwich or wrap. A vegetable or broth soup is also a good option. Mmm…miso soup. Mmm…veggie chili.

ZicoDrink: Replace a 140-calorie soda, or even 0-calorie diet soda, with plain or sparkling water. If H20 is too bland for your taste, add some freshly squeezed lemon. Still a little blah? Give Zico coconut water a try. At 60 calories per serving, it offers almost 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of potassium (more than a banana) and a subtle sweet taste. Even better, coconuts are considered one of nature's super food.

Mid-afternoon Snack

Instead of Cheetos…

Ignore the 4 o'clock vending machine call. Smear natural peanut (or almond) butter on an apple or celery sticks to fight a craving for sweets. Salivating for something salty? Dip into hummus and carrots, or salsa and blue corn tortilla chips, recommends Kravich.

"If you must have candy, instead of a handful of jelly beans, indulge in a few squares of dark chocolate as you sip on herbal or green tea," says Glassman. Or go for yogurt. A 6-ounce container of Stonyfield Farm Chocolate Underground (170 calories) tastes like a delicious dessert with a healthy 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Dinner

Hopefully, you are home-free and can relax and eat a sit down meal with your family, friends, or peacefully alone. For delicious recipes ideas for dinner, visit the SheKnows.com Food and Recipes Channel.

And for more tips on healthy eating, check out these links:

Snacking secrets for women on the go

Healthy indulgences: Satisfying low-calorie snacks

Give unhealthy eating a time-out

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