Simple Changes For A Healthier Quick Lunch

Mar. 12 2009, Published 9:54 a.m. ET

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When it comes to eating healthier, often all it takes is a few simple tweaks to your usual food choices.  Make the Right Choice is about showing you simple changes you can make when choosing your meals and snacks to boost nutrition and lose weight.  This month we have some quick and healthy ideas for lunch when you’re out and about.

Instead of:

A 6-inch meatball sub sandwich with provolone cheese

(Nutrition Information:  610 calories, 28 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 28 grams protein, 1735 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber)

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A 6-inch roast beef sub sandwich with provolone cheese, 1 cup of minestrone soup and an apple

(Nutrition Information:  484 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 27 grams protein, 1790 milligrams of sodium, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of fiber )

Why:  Meat lovers can still get their beef with this choice.  Switching to the leaner roast beef cuts the heart-clogging saturated fat content by almost a day’s worth.  Plus the addition of a veggie-filled soup and some fruit boosts the heart-healthy fiber.

Instead of:

A fast food large-sized value meal with 5 pieces of breaded chicken with ranch sauce, French fries and a regular soda

(Nutrition Information:  1660 calories, 79 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 45 grams protein, 2530 milligrams of sodium, 205 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber)


A fast food cheeseburger, small French fries, 8 ounces 1% low fat milk, and a peach from home

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(Nutrition Information:  678 calories, 26 grams of fat, 9.5 grams of saturated fat, 26 grams protein, 1005 milligrams of sodium, 86 grams of carbohydrates, 5.5 grams of fiber)

Why:  Think chicken is always the best bet?  Think again.  Just five pieces of these chicken pieces gives you as much fat as almost three cheeseburgers! (The sodium content in this one meal is more than you should have in an entire day.) Go ahead and get your fry fix, just downsize a bit to save calories.  And trade in the soda for a milk to get one-third of your calcium needs for the day.  Healthy eating isn’t always about giving up, it’s about adding new foods and substituting others. This meal still has a lot of fat, saturated fat and sodium, but it’s a far better choice and if  you watch your intake for the rest of the day you will be fine.

Instead of:

One pepperoni personal pan pizza and a large regular soda

(Nutrition Information:  940 calories, 30 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 27 grams protein, 1440 milligrams of sodium, 144 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber)


2 slices of thin crust pepperoni pizza with a medium diet soda with 10 baby carrots from home

(Nutrition Information:  455 calories, 20 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 20 grams protein, 1223 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber)

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Why:  No one would argue pepperoni is a healthy food, but it’s ok to have some once in a while.  Skipping all the extra dough of a pan pizza cuts the calories almost in half.  Adding baby carrots turns this pizza shop trip into a vitamin-A packed lunch.

Instead of:  Half a cup of tuna salad prepared at a sandwich shop

(Nutrition Information:  260 calories, 19 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams protein, 580 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fibe)

Choose: Half a 6-ounce can of drained, water-packed tuna mixed with 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise and a quarter of a red pepper, chopped

(Nutrition Information:  157 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 22 grams protein, 408 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber)

Why:  Take a few minutes the night before to mix this up and stick into an insulated bag to make your own “to-go” meal.  Keep some whole-wheat crackers in your desk or the car and you’re all set.  You’ll end up with more tuna and less mayo—translation: more hunger-satisfying protein and less flab-building fat.

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Instead of: Two to three slices of salami (2 ounces total)

(Nutrition Information:  238 calories, 21 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams protein, 1058 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber)

Choose: Two to three slices of turkey breast (2 ounces total)—any flavor—smoked, BBQ, lemon pepper, buffalo-style, Cajun, etc.

(Nutrition Information:  62 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 13 grams protein, 793 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber)

Why:  This simple sandwich switch saves you the calories and fat of almost 2 tablespoons of butter.  If you have a sandwich every day that’d add up to more than a stick of butter every week or 13 pounds of butter a year!



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