We are just over 2 months into the new year and many resolutioners haven’t made as much progress as they’d have thought they would by now. If you are one of the people I’m talking about, this article is for you. You probably pack your own lunch most of the time and realize that in order to be in full control of what goes into your mouth and through your body, you’ve got to do plan your meals on a regular basis.
But every now and then you just don’t. You get up late and don’t have time. You’re not in the mood to cook the night before. The fridge is empty and you’re not in the mood to run to the store, etc. There’s a myriad of reasons, all of which end up in you chalking your lunch up to a cheat meal and following your co-workers to that trendy and chic lunch cart that they’ve been raving about, or the hip new sandwich shop that’s always got a line of people spilling out into the sidewalk. This happens once a week but hey, you’re good the rest of the week. One small cheat meal a week can only put a small dent in your progress at most, right?
Wrong. Your “tiny” cheat meal is the culprit. Even if it’s billed as something healthy or organic, most takeout and restaurant food is very calorie dense with way too little fiber and vegetables. Just one burrito can pack a whole day’s worth of calories, or more. “But Khalid, I’m human. I have a spouse, a job, children, pets, bills, visiting relatives, bowling nights, yardwork, etc… I have a life and I don’t always have time to pack a lunch!”
Well, have no fear. I myself fall into the same situation, but I have a foolproof solution every time it happens. That solution is the supermarket. Yes, that’s right. You can get a hot, tasty , healthy and calorically-sound lunch from the supermarket. I’ll show you how.
Here’s my basic formula for a lunch:
For your meat, you’re going to need something that’s already cooked and can be heated in the microwave. A quick stroll-through gave me the following options:
Now, for your fibrous veggies, head on over to the produce section. For maximum ease and minimum prep, you can’t go wrong with a bag or plastic container of pre-washed leafy greens. Field greens, arugula, spinach, and mustard greens all are great options. Once you’ve got that, you’re almost done.
Time for your healthy fat source. Here you have the following options:
-olive oil to drizzle on your greens
-nuts to sprinkle on your greens
-1/2 to one whole avocado
Here’s what I chose:
-1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
-also be sure to go to the deli counter and get a plate, untensils (including a knife) and some salt.
Now, let me show you step-by-step how I took the items above and created a delicious, healthy lunch.
Your first task is going to be to slice up your tomato and cucumber. As you can see, it doesn’t look too pretty but it’s the best you’ll be able to do with a plastic knife which is most likely all you’ll have at your disposal.
Next, grab a pair of scissors and open the very top of your bag of greens. Add the sunflower seeds, tomato and cucumber into the bag and mix around. While you’re doing this, put your meatballs onto your paper plate and into the microwave for it’s prescribed time.
Once your meatballs are done, push them to one side and empty the contents of your bag. Squeeze your lemon over the veggies and sprinkle everything with salt to taste.
And that there’s your lunch, folks. This came out to about 400 calories which was perfect for me. You can fine tune it to meet your caloric needs by adding or subtracting meatballs.
Khalid Kohgadai is a trainer at Body Mechanix SoMa.