So we’re coming into the last week of January everyone! Its just about that time when every day-time talk show, magazine, and newspaper reminds us that we are in a competition with our New Years Resolutions and its time to check the score…
So if chocolate, cycling class, and happy hour are kicking your pretty little butt, stop stressing because this isn’t the NFL. Not even high school basketball… this is pee wee soccer ladies and gents; and everyone is a winner as long as they try.
And lucky for all of us I have the fabulous Ashley, RD, LDN, on the blog today sharing her best tips and tricks to make that ‘trying’ even easier! I don’t know about you all, but office lunches can sometimes be the hardest time to stay on track. We’re either crunched for time, grabbing fast food or haphazardly shoving our faces with whatever is quick and in front of us… OR we’re out to lunch with clients, surrounded by high calorie restaurant food. But never fear! Lunch hour doesn’t have to be the time that sabotages our day, with the right choices it can set the tone for a healthy afternoon! Fast food included… :)
How cute are these reusable sandwich baggies?? Found them creeping on Oprah.com…such a great idea!
Take it away Ash!
Ever notice the wave of fresh faces at the gym right after the New Year? While this may be frustrating to some of the regular attendees who now have to fight for a treadmill, it is also admirable to see people trying to make positive changes in their life. Unfortunately, it tends to be short-lived in many cases. The New Year is a great time to reflect on some areas in need of improvement in our lives, especially when it comes to our health. Today let’s focus on office lunches!
After an entire month of overindulging at holiday parties, it may be time to take a temporary hiatus from going out to eat. This can be especially beneficial in the workplace for a variety of reasons. Not only is bringing your lunch to work easy on your waistline, it’s budget friendly too. I don’t know about you, but I need my debit card to stay in hibernation until the Spring. Buying your lunch at work can easily cost between 5 to 10 dollars, and you can easily purchase ingredients that can last you an entire week for the price. You’ll help reduce your overall intake of sodium, saturated fat, refined grains and sugar. Every packed lunch should include these staple items: whole grains, one fruit, one vegetable, and a lean source of protein. The combination of protein and fiber will keep you feeling full throughout the afternoon until dinnertime. The challenge is to keep yourself from getting bored to death of the same sandwich every day.
1. If you typically like to bring a sandwich, try a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas, tortillas and wraps. Rotate your fillings between sliced eggs, tuna fish, nut butters, hummus, cheese or lean/low sodium deli meats. Add some flavor and crunch with assorted greens, fresh basil, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, bananas etc.
2. Salads can provide the majority of your veggie servings for the day, and can easily be prepared the night before. Don’t forget to keep your dressing in a separate container so your salad doesn’t get soggy! Check out this handout for ideas on how to prevent salad burnout – click here!
3. Last night’s leftovers are another option that encourages you to exercise portion control the night before. They also prevent you from wasting food and money. Be sure to use microwave containers that you can reheat food at the office.
4. Frozen meals are a convenient option, but make sure you are checking your food labels for the calorie and sodium content (<500 calories, <20% daily value for sodium). Be sure to keep your lunch refrigerated once you get to work. Invest in a lunchbox and ice packs to keep your lunch at the proper temperature if you do not have access to a refrigerator.
And for those times we can’t bring our own lunches from home, Cooking Light has a fabulous list of Best Restaurant Lunches to choose from! Dominoes, Subway, McDonalds, and Wendy’s all made the cut, click here for the full list!
Same with Brown-Bag recipes ideas: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/everyday-menus/brown-bag-lunches-00412000077398/page16.html
And Ashley looked up Pinterest for some yummy inspiration! http://pinterest.com/debbielynnl/brown-bag-lunches/
Butttt…. most importantly. Obviously.
My Pesto Pasta Salad!
This comes together in 20 minutes – start to finish. Boil your water, throw in your pasta, and either whip out your store bought pesto, or make my recipe below! You can make this days ahead – it will stay good in the fridge all week. Pesto is a great make-ahead condiment, it stays fabulously in the fridge, and also freezes super well.
Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields 4 servings
Optional dairy free and gluten free, look for *
For the Pesto
- 2 1/4 cups packed fresh basil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, or vegan parmesan*
- 1/8 salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
For the Pasta Salad
- 6 oz whole wheat rotini pasta (or any shaped pasta), or gluten free
- 8 oz chicken breast, cooked, and chopped (rotisserie chicken works great here!)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
- 3 oz mini mozzarella balls, quartered (optional)*
- 4 oz green beans
- 1. Make the Pesto – Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse unti finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until combined. Set aside while you make the pasta.
- Make the Pasta Salad – Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and run under cold water until fully cooled.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and carefully add green beans. Boil for 2 minutes, or until bright green. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Cool and pat dry.
- In a large bowl combine, pasta, green beans, chicken, mozzarella, and sun dried tomatoes. Drizzle with pesto sauce and toss to combine.