I recently added my “No White Stuff” challenge to the FatSecret website, a great online food journal/calorie calculator. To my surprise, nearly 200 people signed up to join me in this challenge and it’s been great to hear their feedback and questions as they embark on this great step toward a healthier body. Since many of you have been wondering some of the same things, I thought I would post this recent message that I posted to the group.
Hi Natasha!I am excited to start this challenge, BUT I am nervous! Do you have suggestions for lunches at work?
Good for you for taking the bull by the horns, despite the thoughts of “what the heck am I doing?!?!”
There are plenty of lunch options when eating whole foods, the trick is to pack a lunch and get rid of the crap in your house! If you are eating out every day, you’ll have a much harder time doing this but it’s still possible.
Remember to pack snacks, too — ideally, you are eating small portions every few hours.
Here are some of my favorite go-to meals and snacks:
1. Fresh fruit & veggies.
I cut up my fresh fruit because I find it’s more appealing to eat that way. Veggies can be more interesting when you add some healthy hummus to dip them in.
2. Rice cakes. These are great for a quick snack. Put some all-natural peanut butter and honey for a sweet treat that gives some protein, too. You can also find all-natural jams with no sugar/sweeteners added. My favorite brand is St. Dalfour.
3. Trail mixes of all sorts: Dried fruit, nuts, seeds. Foods like pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds…they all pack a mean protein punch. Not only will they keep you going through the day, they’ll have a huge impact on things like your skin, nails and hair.
4. Salads (use a balsamic vinaigrette or my favorite homemade honey mustard dressing to avoid the added sugars of most dressings). Add some lean meat (grilled chicken breast) or hard-boiled eggs for extra protein.
5. Homemade energy bars (here is a great recipe for my staple PB & Apricot Energy Bar —- SUPER easy to make, cheaper than store-bought, and WAY tastier!).
7. Whole grain rice. Throw on some cooked chicken breast and veggies for a healthy stir-fry. A little rice vinegar and soy sauce makes an easy marinade when cooking up the chicken and then the veggies. Make extra the night before so you can bring the stir-fry to reheat for lunch.
8. Once you get through the basics of whole foods, you’ll be ready to try more adventurous grains, like quinoa (cooks up just like rice) and flax. Try my curry quinoa: cook up the quinoa as per the package directions but add a tsp of curry powder. Just prior to serving, mix in raisins and let sit for a few minutes. Flax is great to add on your yogurt or spaghetti sauce.
9. Natural yogurt. Find one that has only natural fruit sugars. Or, use a plain sugar-free yogurt and mix in some sugar-free jam for a bit of flavor.
10. Lean proteins: it’s been proven that lean proteins can boost your metabolism by 30%. Try lean chicken breast, turkey, eggs, salmon, tuna, white fish, bison, beef or elk. I like to make tuna salad and wrap it up in lettuce leaves.
Next up, I’ll be posting about my personal favorite — smoothies!
Until then, good luck everyone!