Healthy Lunches to Take to Work to Lose Weight

Healthy Lunches to Take to Work to Lose Weight

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Be prepared with heart-healthy foods to curb your appetite while working.

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images

Stave off mindless munching and lose weight by keeping your hands out of the candy dish, your eyes away from the pastry tray and -- most importantly -- your healthy lunch in tow. With a focus on plant-based foods, adequate lean protein and even a bit of healthy fat, you can control your appetite and lose weight without sacrificing flavor or satiety.

Kicked Up Cottage Cheese

Forget the no-flavor crackers and boring cottage cheese -- sure, it's got plenty of satiating protein, but cottage cheese can be bland. Kick this protein up notch by adding a few tablespoons of your favorite salsa or sweeten it up with a loose handful of raisins and some Meyer lemon juice. Swap out the crackers for three or four toasted pita chips and serve it all over a base of mixed spring greens. For more flavor and satisfaction, add a little lemon juice, a few sprigs of cilantro and a generous handful of cherry tomatoes. These simple makeovers keeps the caloric load low, but the flavor quotient high.

Have a Healthy Salad

Tired of the same old salad? Add some protein and a little healthy fat to those greens to keep you satisfied longer and prevent late afternoon or evening binges. Protein options include chunks of lean poultry, mild fish, beans or your favorite meat substitute. Keep the nutrient-dense greens as a base and vary your veggies. Try fresh cucumber, chopped tomatoes or chopped fresh basil. Add an ounce of crumbled feta and toss with lemon and up to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to liven up the flavors.

Make Those Carbs Count

Enjoy a sandwich without the guilt; just choose your bread wisely. Be sure it contains whole grains and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Enhance lean turkey, chicken or your meat substitute with any of the following combos: thin spread of light cream cheese and cucumber slices; an ounce of low-fat cheese and sliced bell peppers; or sliced tomato and avocado. Opt for low-sodium lean meats, go light on the cheese and swap your mayo for a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar -- or just use mustard. Add in plenty leafy greens, increasing volume with sprouts.

Lighten Up Your Pasta

Pasta isn't off limits if you control your portions; just use less and bulk up your dish with chopped steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms and onions. Pasta has protein, but if you'd like a little more, add in a couple of ounces of chopped skinless chicken breast to your marinara. The poultry pairs nicely with tomato sauce and this is a simple way to liven up leftover chicken. A little fat can go a long way in terms of flavor, so sprinkle on some dried grated Parmesan cheese.

Say Hello to Yogurt

Don't forget the power of yogurt. According to a 2008 study in "Obesity Reviews," and researchers of a 2004 study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," calcium-rich dairy foods can be useful in weight management and obesity prevention. Yogurt contains adequate protein and gut-friendly probiotics to keep you satisfied and improve your intestinal health. So grab some plain Greek yogurt, add in your favorite fruit and five to 10 chopped nuts for more flavor and crunch. Enjoy with some lightly steamed snap peas or a cup of mini carrots. For a refreshing combo, add shredded cucumber, lemon juice and just a bit of honey or Stevia to plain Greek yogurt.

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