Business Lunch Crunch?
Overcome the Business Lunch Time Crunch
If you find it a challenge to eat a healthy vegetarian lunch during your hectic workday, here's an action plan to help you enjoy a nutritious lunch break daily with less effort.
The Salad Bar - Most cafeterias offer a salad bar with a variety of fresh, raw vegetables. Select dark leafy greens like spinach, and top them with colorful vegetables, rotating your selection when possible. Add chickpeas, kidney beans, sunflower seeds and other legumes, nuts, and seeds for extra protein. Let your food service manager know that you follow a vegetarian diet, so he/she can accommodate your dietary preferences.
Lunch on the run - When you know that you'll have limited free time for a lunch break, bring a soy based protein shake to work with carrot, red pepper, and celery sticks, some trail mix, an energy bar, and some fruit. Take a few minutes to enjoy a nutritious snack of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, or whole grain crackers, in the morning and afternoon to supplement your light lunch, and to maintain your energy level.
The Natural Foods Market - Check out your local Natural Foods Market for a quick, nutritious lunch. From grab-n-go selections of sandwiches, soups, and salads, to full service delis and cafes, these markets offer a great alternative for an on-the-go lunch. Many offer fresh vegetable juices and smoothies for an extra energy boost.
Healthy ethnic restaurants - Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Italian restaurants usually offer vegetarian selections for lunch. Suggest a restaurant that you enjoy, and that is suitable for your luncheon companions. Thai, Chinese, and Japanese restaurants prepare meals quickly. You can eat a light meal, with plenty of vegetables, and go back to work feeling reenergized for the afternoon.
Brown bag it - If you spend time over the weekend preparing meals for the coming week, make enough so you can bring a healthy lunch to work a few days each week. Leftover soup, vegetarian chili, brown rice salad with beans, all make an easy to pack, nutritious lunch. Tofu salad or hummus sandwiches, veggie wraps, and garden salads are some simple and healthful foods to prepare for lunch at work.
Plan your workday to include a healthy lunch. Take the steps necessary to accomplish your plan. Learn not to compromise your need to eat healthy for the sake of convenience. Allow yourself the time to enjoy a calm and relaxing lunch whenever possible, it's essential for your health and well-being, and for peak performance at work! Finally, remember to keep a copy of ViVa's Healthy Dining Guide in your office or car to help you locate healthy restaurants, and markets in your area for a quick grab-n-go lunch, or for a more formal business luncheon with your colleagues.
About the Author
Lisa Margolin, J.D., M.S., is a holistic nutritionist and co-author of ViVa's Healthy Dining Guide, a comprehensive directory of more than 2,100 vegetarian, healthy ethnic, and natural foods restaurants, and markets across the United States. For more information on healthy lifestyles visit www.healthybelly.com.
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Publish date: 10/23/04