Maybe you’re trying out a new diet or are practicing a course of mindful eating. No matter what healthy diet tips you’re following, it’s not uncommon for everything you’ve learned about good eating to fly out the window the minute you start thinking about lunchtime. When our bodies start to get hungry, our brains become way less concerned with sticking to our resolve to eat healthy. That’s why you might find yourself heading to your local deli huntington and ordering the same unhealthy options during your lunch break or after a late night at the office. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you’re suffering from serious hunger pains, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy at home, at a restaurant, or even at your corner deli. The main thing to remember is that you always have options. If you find yourself making poor choices at the deli counter, here are some tips to keep you on the right path.
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Processed Meats are a No-Go
Protein might be all the rage these days, but you have to pick the right protein in order to get the actual nutritional benefits. That means that choosing heavily processed meats at the deli counter, such as bologna, capicola, and salami, can end up having a detrimental effect on your health, while opting for grilled chicken breast, sliced turkey, and nitrate-free cuts of meat can help you stay full and energized for the rest of the day. You can get your proteins in unexpected places, too. If you’re trying to cut out meat altogether, try tasted a side of chickpeas or an edamame salad. Most nuts and beans offer a terrific source of protein without the extra fat and added sugar, and with the right seasoning, they can be every bit as delicious on your salad or on the side.
Skip the Mayo
While you might be tempted to skip the carbs and opt for a chicken or tuna salad plate instead, take a minute to ask about (or simply observe) the mayonnaise content in any deli-made salad. If you’re eating a mayo-soaked chicken salad, you’re gaining in unhealthy saturated fat what you lost in carbs. Staying away from mayo and most condiments is a good idea in general. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick to simple dry seasonings like salt and pepper, and ask if you can have your tuna or chicken salad mayo-free. If you’re making your own salad, beware of high mayo or oil content in dressings as well. While most salads are heart-healthy by nature, a single serving of any traditional salad dressing, such as thousand island, Caesar, or ranch, can add up to as many as 200 calories. Instead, try mixing up your own salad dressing with a bit of salt, pepper, lemon, and a dash of virgin olive oil.
Carbs might make you feel full through the day, helping you get through that post-lunch slump and into dinner. However, another unfortunate side effect of overloading on carbs is that you’ll tend to crash an hour or two later. If you’re not a fan of that sleepy, bloated feeling after eating a huge sub, try subbing out bread for a deconstructed (breadless) sandwich, a salad, or a protein plate made of fruits, veggies, and cheese. You can feel fuller by choosing whole grains over white bread and opting for healthier options like couscous and quinoa rather than white rice or traditional sandwich bread. If you’re still feeling hungry after, swap out that bag of chips for a handful of raw almonds or cashews to help tide you over until your next meal.
Bulk Up on Veggies
When it comes to eating all you want without endangering your health, veggies are your best friend. While many people still think of vegetables as being largely flavorless without heapings of salad dressings or oils on top, it’s simply not true. Adding tons of fresh vegetables to a salad can create a pleasant array of different flavors, and you don’t need much more than a dash of salt, pepper, lemon, and oregano to create a flavorful seasoning that brings out the bouquet of tastes. As long as you’re eating your veggies fresh, you can load up on tons of leafy greens, good fat-rich avocado slices, and heart-healthy peppers and carrots without feeling guilty or bloated.
Try Something New
Don’t view your daily lunch as a punishment. Eating healthy isn’t just about constricting yourself. It’s actually about creating more choices. Use this opportunity to try things you would never have thought to sample had you just stuck to your regular lunch order. Mix and match different salad options and flavors until you find something that hits the spot.