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Healthy Lunch Ideas for the Work Day

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While it can be difficult to follow a healthy eating plan when you work long hours, it's certainly not impossible. For busy professionals, healthy eating requires a bit of advance planning, as well as making careful food choices. Being mindful of what you eat - regardless of where or when you are dining - is essential for a truly healthful lifestyle.

Planned Leftovers

When cooking evening meals, make extra on purpose so that you'll have leftovers of home-cooked meals to take to work. This way, you have complete control over the ingredients and portions of your workday meals. Consider pairing up with a like-minded co-worker and take turns bringing healthy leftover lunches for the two of you. This will allow you to enjoy a bit more variety in your meals - and you may end up with a lunch hour workout buddy as well.

Cold Lunch Fixings

Keep a selection of cold lunch foods on hand, either at home to transport to the office or in the refrigerator at work (if you don't have to worry about co-workers snatching your goodies). Reduced-fat chicken salad, fat free cold cuts, reduced fat cheese, hummus, grapes, cut-up fruit and other similar items are great for mid-day meals that, when selected carefully, can be diet-friendly and easy to eat at work.

Personal Office Pantry

In addition to having cold items handy, keep a small collection of healthful staples in your office so that you don't find yourself with no alternative but the snack machine or fast food on busy days. Good items to have on hand include cans or pouches of tuna, individual portions of nuts, low-sugar granola bars, whole grain crackers, flatbread, tortillas and more.

Two-Meals-In-One

When you eat at a restaurant that has large portions, go into the meal with the mindset that you are actually purchasing two meals. Eat half of the food on your plate and take the other half with you in a takeout box for your evening meal, or the next day's lunch. Not only will you cut back on unnecessary calories, you'll also boost your budget.

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