The decision to make healthy meal choices must be one you practice from breakfast to dinner. However, you may often find yourself rushing from meeting to meeting, or to class and family commitments, and feel like healthy lunch choices are not as easy as fast- or high-fat food options. You can order a healthy lunch when eating out, but you must know what to choose and what to avoid. Always speak to your physician before making dietary adjustments, however, to ensure your diet options benefit your health and medications taken.
Find Made-to-Order Sandwich Shops
If you are feeling like eating a sandwich for lunch, skip the pre-prepared stuff, recommends Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This allows you to choose the healthiest options without added high-fat items, such as mayonnaise. Choose lean deli meat options, such as turkey or roast beef plus lots of veggies, such as tomatoes or onions. If you can opt for mustard instead of mayonnaise, you can save on calories and fat. Also ask for wheat and whole-grain bread options whenever possible because these options increase fiber to keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Pick Fresh Salads
Greens and grilled protein sources, such as tofu, chicken or salmon, are nutritious lunch items. However, beware of restaurant salads that incorporate high-fat items, such as full-fat Caesar salad or Thai peanut dressings. Look for salads served with lite or fat-free dressings on the side. Avoid fried additives, such as friend chicken, or steaks that have visible fats. Adding mixes such as corn and black bean salad add fiber.
French fries and onion rings do not typically make for the healthiest restaurant options. However, many fast-food restaurants and lunch locales are adding healthier side options to the menu to complement your healthy sandwich or entrée. Examples include a garden side salad, Mandarin orange cup, side of fruit or grilled vegetables.
You can order pizza as a healthy lunch option, but portion control and healthy toppings are vital for choosing the most nutritious. Individual-sized pizzas can have double the calories of simply choosing two slices of pizza, according to “Cooking Light” magazine. Choose thin-crust pizzas whenever possible and pile on the healthy vegetable toppings. Avoid cured meat products, such as bacon or ham, because these can contain excess salt.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.