with your favorite social networking sites.
If you missed this post last month, we talked a little about heart healthy lunches to
pack for work that are high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
Knowing it may take some time before packing your lunch becomes the new routine, don't forget it's one simple step you can make towards a healthier diet as well as savings. This month we'll focus on another component of
a healthy diet: eating a variety of foods.
Why focus on variety? These foods contain a combination of
nutrients and other healthy substances. No single food can supply all the
nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, cheese contains calcium but no
vitamin C, tomatoes provide vitamin C but no calcium. Focus on eating the
recommended servings from the five major food groups found in the Food Guide
Pyramid (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein). You will also
eliminate the need of a multivitamin by eating this way. Consuming a wide variety of foods increases the likelihood
that you will be exposed to sufficient quantities of all essential nutrients,
which vary in amount and combination among different foods. This will help to
improve your health and may help prevent diseases such as diabetes,
cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as help you maintain your weight.
Here are some examples of balanced snacks to pack for work:
For meal planning, I’d suggest aiming to eat at least 3 food
groups per meal. The more the better!
This is a perfect example of a quick, throw-together,
one-dish meal that contains a variety of food groups: grains, protein,
vegetables and dairy! The incorporation of a heart-healthy unsaturated fat such
as olive oil (used in the dressing) has been linked to reduced risk of heart
disease. Paired with the pasta, vegetables and chicken, which are all low in saturated
fat, this is the perfect heart-healthy lunch.
Light on the pasta, heavy on chicken and veggies, this dish
is satisfying, easy to make the night before and tasty. I always have cooked pasta
in the fridge for the kids (lightly dressed with olive oil & garlic salt), as well as rotisserie chicken. Veggies are another staple in our refrigerator. With so many different options, you won’t get bored easily with this one!
Heart-Healthy Lunch Option
Pasta Salad Bowl
1 cup pasta, cooked according to directions1 cup raw spinach, roughly chopped1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken1/4 cup black beanshandful of grape tomatoes2 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil1 tablespoon red wine vinegar2 shakes of: garlic powder, coriander and cumindash of salt & pepper
In a medium size bowl (one that you plan on taking to work),
toss the pasta with the next 6 ingredients (through cilantro). In a separate
small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and stir well. Pour
dressing on pasta salad and stir to combine.
Options: For the protein you can substitute any leftover
meat (grilled chicken, steak, fish, shrimp, pork). Instead of Mexican-inspired
flavors you could try Italian-inspired flavors by substituting basil for the
cilantro and fresh mozzarella for the feta. Switch the spices in the dressing
to Italian seasoning. If you prefer you can even use your favorite bottled
dressing to toss with the pasta salad.
All you need is a piece of fruit (and some yogurt for an
extra filling meal) and you have every food group covered with this easy,
balanced, heart-healthy lunch!
Oh thank you thank you thank you! I was just on the verge of getting tired of my usual salad bowl for lunch, this is a perfect alternative that can fit into my diet!
Oh good Erin! Glad to hear it ;)
Traveling by air this summer doesn't have to mean tiny bags of peanuts or even spending a little bit of coin to have a decent meal. With a little planning and a few ziplock bags, you won't be flying the skies on an empty stomach.
Summer is the perfect time to gather the family together. And one of my family’s favorite summer pastimes is going on a picnic. Every year for our annual Independence Day celebration, we pack a picnic. Here are some simple ways to make your next