Working lunch: Healthy eating in the office
Eating at our desks is a daily occurrence for most of us. And on top of this, there are other, sticky lunchtime situations like office canteens, fast-food places or sandwiches on the go... Managing your diet at the office is not always easy when you are watching your weight. Wherever you are having lunch, there are always ways of getting a nutritious, balanced meal. Get the lowdown on how to eat a healthy working lunch.
Eating at your desk
Some cake, an apple or just a sandwich you bought in a shop are on your desk in front of you. This is your classic office lunch... You wolf it down, it doesn’t fill you up and you will get the munchies later in the afternoon. As often as possible, bring your lunch with you to the office, including quiche or tarts, or make your own sandwiches, varying the fillings according to what you feel like: cold chicken, cured or cooked ham, roast beef, lamb, tomatoes and salad. Steer clear of mayonnaise and don’t go mad with the butter either, adding flavour with little gherkins, mustard or ketchup instead.
To complete your lunch, add a slice of cheese or another dairy product along with a piece of fruit to finish off. In this way, you can eat a properly balanced and varied lunch at your desk, all week long
Eating in the canteen
Offices often have communal canteens where you have the choice of different starters and main courses. Cheese, dairy products and desserts are varied. It’s up to you to choose wisely in order to avoid eating too much fatty food at lunchtime. Avoid choosing starters with mayonnaise as much as possible, like salads with a lot of dressing, eggs and avocado and also sliced meats. Opt instead for crudité vegetables or a salad without dressing.
For the main course, steer yourself towards grilled meat and fish rather than dishes with a lot of sauce. As for accompanying vegetables, only get chips occasionally as a treat. Go for greens, preferably, and vegetables accompanied by starchy foods (pasta, rice, potatoes or pulses) which do not make you put on weight, contrary to common belief, when eaten in moderation. These starchy foods will mean your body is properly refuelled so you won’t get the munchies later on.
Finally, alternate between cheese and dairy products, don’t give in to pastries or ice-cream too often and always pick a whole fruit rather than fruit salad.
Regular business lunches
It is difficult to avoid business lunches. Often heavy and washed down with alcohol, these meals pose a problem for those of us who are watching our figures. In the first instance, for aperitifs, avoid or limit alcohol. No need to forgo a single glass of champagne or a glass of wine so as to chink glasses. But do banish spirits like whisky. If possible, go for a vegetable or fruit juice, or simply a glass of sparkling water.
At the same time do not get stuck into those nuts or any other appetiser which comes threatening with the aperitifs. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the dishes and request altered versions.
Choose vegetarian starters rather than charcuterie or dishes with lots of sauce or cream. For the main course, gravitate towards grilled meat or fish. If the dish comes with a sauce, leave it! As for side dishes, make sure you eat as few chips as possible and focus on vegetables and starchy accompaniments.
Get into the habit of asking for still or sparkling water, and limit yourself to just one glass of wine. For dessert, fruit salads or sorbets are good choices but say no to anything with cream.
Contrary to what you might think, it is completely possible to eat a balanced diet when you go to fast-food places for lunch every day. The combination of hamburger, chips, fizzy drinks and ice cream or a doughnut is obviously not a good model to follow. Instead, a menu of a standard hamburger or cheeseburger, accompanied by a mixed salad, fruit salad and water is entirely acceptable. If you want a sugary drink, choose diet versions.
Grabbing a sandwich or snack as you pass a shop
Ham and cheese croissant, quiche, pizza or cheese puff: these are the types of foods we all find ourselves buying while walking down the street. This isn’t a problem if it is just an occasional thing. But if it becomes a habit, you are essentially eating fatty foods and therefore increasing your calorie intake.
|Calorie intake per 100 g|
|Ham and Cheese Croissant
Pasty with meat filling
Make sure you eat sandwiches with salad without too much mayonnaise; these are much more nutritious (tomatoes, green salad, boiled eggs, and obviously chicken or roast beef). And don’t forget to continue your healthy eating in the evenings too with a sufficient, balanced meal at dinner.
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