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Last week I wrote about breakfast and how important it is to make this part of your day. At the same time I wanted to offer some practical advice about what made up a good breakfast (both quick and easy as well as elaborate). There was a lot of response to that column and it got me thinking about how lunch is important, too.
While it's not the "most important meal of the day," lunch is the one where a lot of folks get into trouble. There have been hundreds of my patients who by simply eating a good breakfast and planning for lunch have made significant changes in their health and had significant weight loss.
One of my favorites was a discussion that I had with a patient about peanut butter. She loved peanut butter sandwiches but wouldn't prepare them and take them to work because the peanut butter was "so high in fat and calories." Instead she was eating out at different fast food joints. She thought that she was eating healthier, but the Smokehouse Turkey sandwich at Panera Bread that she was regularly eating had 700 calories, 22 grams of fat and over 2,300 mg of sodium! (Here's a list of healthier choices at Panera.)
That "unhealthy" PB&J? All of 438 calories, with only 18 grams of fat. Even using peanut butter made with salt it comes in at only 433 mg of sodium. While there's a lot of fat, it's mostly good monounsaturated fat (9 grams of mono for the PB&J vs. 9 grams of saturated fat in the Panera sandwich). Now, keep in mind that she loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Worth it at a savings of 250 calories per day (which is about what you need for a weight loss of a pound or so every couple of weeks).
There's some guidelines about portion sizes and making good lunch choices on the Lunch Guidelines page for eatTHISdiet.
By taking a few extra minutes to package up last night's leftovers, make a sandwich or a salad you'll feel better, eat better, lose weight and be healthier. Best of all, you'll save money. The average lunch ticket at a fast food restaurant is around $6.00, while it'll cost you about $2.00 to take your lunch (sandwich or salad or leftovers and a piece of fruit).
Hmm. . . $20.00 per week, $80.00 per month, $960.00 per year. . . That's a trip to the Caribbean.
Eat well, eat healthy, go to the Islands for a vacation!
August 20, 2007