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Top tips for making lunch count in 2014

We share an accredited dietitian's top tips for making lunch count in the New Year so you can achieve your health goals.

Top tips for making lunch count in 2014

If you have gotten a bit too merry over the holiday season, you’re not alone. For the average  person, that means 1-1.5 extra kilos of ‘holiday cheer’, which usually hangs around longer than your Christmas tree.

As the New Year rolls around and the fireworks die down, many of us will blaze forward with New Year diet resolutions which can often be inflated and unrealistic.

Accredited practicing Dietitian Kate Di Prima says that in order to make lifestyle changes you can maintain, you need to think small when it comes to New Year diet resolutions. For some that could be kicking bad habits like skipping lunch, reducing your fat and sugar intake or making a conscious effort to consume more fruit and veggies.

“A new poll by Subway has revealed some concerning results when it comes to the lunchtime habits of Australians – 1 in 3 are actually skipping lunch altogether, while more than 7 in 10 felt their lunch wouldn’t contribute to their daily ‘2 & 5’, or if it did, only by a small amount,” said Kate.

Kate also explained the effects of missing lunch on a regular basis can go well beyond short term impacts like reduced energy and fatigue in the afternoon. Knock-ons like grabbing unhealthy snacks and over-indulging at dinner can lead to weight gain, slowed metabolism and increased risk of chronic lifestyle diseases.

While it’s easy to blame a lack of time or options for not-so-great meal choices, there are plenty of healthy choices out there that are fast – and nutritious

She shares her top 5 tips to make lunch count in 2014:

1. If you cant make it out of the office

Have a desk drawer or locker stash of food. Store nuts, seeds, canned soups, microwaveable rice cups, canned tuna and salmon and individual tubs of chopped fruit in juice. That way, if you can’t make it out of the office you can still eat something nutritious.

2. Lunchtime is perfect for leftovers

If you do take a packed lunch, it’s easy to re-invent your dinner from the night before. Use leftover meat like chicken, beef or lamb, slice and place into rolls, pita or wraps and add salad. Or cut the meat into strips and add a hard-boiled egg, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few celery sticks. If you can cook an extra steak or chicken fillet for dinner, it can be easily transformed for lunch the next day by adding some coleslaw or rice salad for a healthy midday meal.

3. Not all fast foods are created equal

If you’re buying lunch go for a wrap, some sushi or a sandwich with lean meat to keep control over kilojoules, and add as many fresh salad fillings as you can. A standard Subway Six-Inch® Sub includes 84 grams, or over one cup of salad vegetables, including lettuce, capsicum, cucumber, onion and tomato, which provides over one serve of an adult’s daily “2&5”.

4. Get out – its good for your sanity

Do yourself a favour and don’t eat lunch at your desk. Take a break and eat lunch with a friend, or enjoy lunch outside. If your time is limited, eat a quick lunch and power walk around the block. Getting a little exercise will boost your energy and up your productivity for the afternoon.

5. If you do miss lunch

Don’t over-indulge at dinner – it’s not a great time to be stacking up on kilojoules and big portions which can cause bloating and fullness which isn’t great before bed.  Try and squeeze in a healthy snack before dinner, like some vegetable sticks and hummus or a couple of crackers with cheese – that way you won’t be tempted to go for inflated portions.

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