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Taking a healthy lunch to work can help resolutions

Tulsa World (OK)


Jan. 08--It's easy to cheat on resolutions to eat healthy when looking for something to nosh on at work.

But planning ahead and shopping for flavorful foods packed with protein and fiber will make it easier to stick to a diet and stay away from the vending machine.

"When you are thinking about eating healthy, look for foods with protein, fiber and essential fatty acids for overall health. They also keep you feeling fuller so you are not wanting to eat all day long," said Kalli Castille, director of nutritional support and culinary at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Consider using avocados as a spread in place of mayonnaise for the sandwiches that you bring to work. While high in fat, it's "the good fat," Castille said.

"Avocados are good on whole grain bread, crackers and I like them spread on rice cakes," Castille said.

"They are just one of those really healthy foods. They are also great for your skin, which is good because people get dry skin this time of year."

To add extra flavor, try mixing some salsa with some diced avocado and eating it with baked pita chips.

Boiled eggs are also a good source of protein. Try spicing them up with splash of hot sauce instead of salt and pepper. With some sliced fruit, they make a good, well balanced lunch, she said.

Hummus -- made with chickpeas -- is another suggestion Castille had for a grab and go lunch. With vegetables as a dip, the hummus provides plenty of protein and fiber and makes a perfect lunch, she said.

Keep nut spreads, yogurt and whole pieces of fruit available at the office, Castille said.

"If you have these on hand you have them as an option when you get hungry and you don't have to go for the vending machine," Castille said.

For snacks to have in between meals at the office, Castille suggested nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

"Try having a variety of nuts ready for when you need a snack. The trick, however, is not eating the whole bag. That's where you get in trouble. Buy packages that have a single serving or portion them out by a serving ahead of time," Castille said.

While sitting at your desk, it is also important that you drink lots of fluids, but make sure they are healthy fluids such as water and herbal teas.

She suggested making fruit infusions to add a little flavor to the water and provide some water soluble vitamins. Try cubes of pineapple for added flavor, Castille said, or two of her favorites, cucumber and rosemary.

Here are some ideas for healthy, nutrient-rich foods for lunch and snacks at the office.

Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459


1 cup oat bran

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats, plus about a tablespoon to sprinkle on top

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons Canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine the dry ingredients together and then add the dried cranberries and shredded carrots and mix thoroughly.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together and then add it to the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.

3. Spray the muffin cups with cooking spray and then spoon in the batter. If you are making mini muffins, you can fill each one to the top, but if you are making regular muffins, only fill each cup, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle some rolled oats on top of the batter.

4. For mini muffins (makes about 36): Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out clean. For regular muffins (about 12): Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center, comes out clean.

5. When they are done, allow them to cool for a couple minutes before popping them out of the muffin tray and transferring them to a cooling rack.


1 cup uncooked quick-cooking pearl barley

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup (2 ounces) Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

1. Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain barley in a colander, and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.

2. Combine black beans, next 6 ingredients, and, if desired, cilantro and red pepper in a medium bowl.

3. Add barley to black bean mixture; toss gently.

-- adapted from Health magazine


1/4 cup diced avocado

1 (1-ounce) slice toasted whole-grain bread

Black pepper

Kosher salt

1. Mash avocado onto toasted bread.

2. Sprinkle with black pepper and a dash of kosher salt.

-- adapted from Cooking Light Magazine


4 (8 inch) whole what tortillas

1/4 cup honey mustard

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1/2 pound deli turkey, sliced

1/4 pound lowfat swiss cheese

1 pear, cored and sliced

1. Spread one side of the tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the honey mustard.

2. Divide the spinach, turkey, cheese and pears amongst the tortillas and wrap up.


2 teaspoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Basil leaves (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in the broth, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Stir in basil.

3. Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl, and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

-- adapted from Cooking Light magazine


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