Every now and then I like to do a quick round up of a foods that don't do our bodies any favors. Today's post is about popular, but not-so-healthy lunch foods - and alternatives that make them a little bit better.
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Nothing against eggs - I think they're great, but it's all the stuff that goes along with the egg salad that can make something go from healthy to downright hellacious. Mix in a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise compounded by a slice or two of refined bread and you've got trouble. Don't be surprised if most restaurant chain egg salad sandwiches are 500+ calories. A better alternative would be to make the sandwich at home substituting mustard for mayo and pairing it with a slice of whole grain bread, or just adding it on top of a big plate of leafy greens.
Pasta salads often slide under the radar as a side dish to lunch entree. Even though a small cup might only be a couple hundred calories, don't waste your caloric budget on this food that has virtually no nutritional value. Think of it as a high-calorie condiment. Forgo the pasta salad entirely, or request a mixed greens salad instead.
Cheesy or Creamy Soups
No, I'm not talking about the kind your mom or grandma used to make, I'm talking about the mass-produced variety that get loaded with more ingredients than you can shake stick at, including bad-for-you fats that often times account for more than half the calories. In fact, one serving of Broccoli Cheddar soup from Panera contains 19 grams of fat. The best soups are always homemade, but if you're scouting a steamy cup of something good, look for lower sodium broth-based alternatives.
Unless you want to catch some Zs right after lunch, steer clear of big smoothies - particularly the fruit variety. A lot of these smoothies are nearly fat free. The flip side of a big smoothie that is free of fat is that they're full of sugar. In fact, the 383 calories found in the original-size Pomegranate Pick Me Up from Jamba Juice contains 90 grams of carbs. No, you don't need it. Still like smoothies? Check out these healthier smoothie recipes.
If you have any tips or suggestions other readers might find useful, go ahead and post them here, or on my Facebook page. I know I’d love to read them.