Healthy lunch choices
By the time lunch comes around, when you are slaving away at work, school or at home with the kids, dining on fast-food or some variety of “low-fat” or “lean” microwavable food may seem like the most convenient choice.
Visiting a fast-food restaurant is not necessarily the worst food choice – many national chain restaurant have nutritional facts posted at the counter, while many publish nutrition facts online which you can view or download. Do a little research before you head to the drive-thru and choose foods with the healthiest profiles.
“Low fat” microwavable foods offer convenience as well as a label that looks healthy, but they are often very high in sodium. While may brands contain lower levels of calories and fat, one serving may contain up to 30 percent or more of the recommended daily sodium intake of 2400 milligrams – in one meal.
Marci K Campbell, PhD, a Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, suggests searching for microwavable meals that are higher in protein and with less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving. Campbell warns, “If the product contains less than 10 grams of protein, it probably won’t fill you up or feel like a meal.”
Sometimes the convenience factor is more important than opting for the healthiest choice – which would be to take the time to prepare a healthy lunch – but checking nutrition labels and asking for nutritional facts from your favourite restaurants are great strategies for healthy midday eating.