Back to school time is the perfect opportunity to save a little more money and eat a bit healthier. As you say goodbye to summer vacation and hello to a busy fall, take the time to pack a substantial lunch for the whole family. If extra money doesn’t convince you, the time saved and energy boost will.
Eating lunch out every day adds up quickly – on your waistline and in your wallet. Buying your sandwich out regularly can cost anywhere from $6 to $12, or $120 to $240 a month. In addition to the cost, chances are the lunch you’re buying is not the healthiest choice either. One stressful meeting can turn a well-intentioned salad into a quarter-pounder with fries in the blink of an eye.
Packing ahead of time is the best motivator to eating healthy and saving money at lunch. After all, you won’t let a delicious and nutritious meal go to waste over buying a lunch, would you? When preparing your lunch, emphasize at least one serving of vegetables (v) and lean protein (p). To add more substance, pack a serving or two of healthy fat (hf), whole grain (wg), low-fat dairy (d), and/or a piece of fruit (f). Try out some of these ideas below. If you are not sure what counts as a serving, note the abbreviation in parentheses (for example, a healthy fat is abbreviated as hf).
California Club Wrap
- Throw some sliced, low sodium turkey breast (p), a few slices of avocado (f & v), romaine lettuce (v), and sliced tomato (v) into a whole grain tortilla (wg). To spice it up, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, cilantro, and a splash of lime. Enjoy with carrot sticks and hummus.
Robust Italian Salad
- Chop up 3 huge handfuls of romaine (v) and red leaf lettuce (v). Add slices of tomato (v), red onion (v), and pepperoncini (v). Combine one tablespoon each of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil (hf), and parmesan cheese (d) and pour over the salad. Add some chicken breast (p) for protein and a fresh peach (f) for dessert!
Caprese Pasta Salad
- Combine ½ to 1 cup cooked whole grain rotini pasta (wg) with ½ Tbsp olive oil (hf), ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ¼ c shredded mozzarella (d), and 1 handful of chopped cherry tomatoes (v). For bonus veggies, toss in some chopped cucumber, bell peppers, fresh greens, and red onion. Add in some grilled chicken or shrimp for extra protein.
These lunch options are not just for adults, they are kid-friendly too! Involve your child in making some of these dishes and allow them to experiment with the ingredients. Remove some of the added spices if needed. If you have a picky eater, ask them to choose what they want in their lunches. Fruit, cheese sticks, and healthy dips like hummus are always a hit with kids.
Sure, occasionally you may opt for lunch out with a co-worker. On a regular basis though, you need that healthy option right in front of you. After all, there is no need to eat out with these fast and flavorful options!
-Megan Lautz, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT
We are proud to announce that we have just opened several new locations in Alabama and Maryland. After opening our first location in Severna Park, Maryland six years ago, we are excited that CoreLife has officially arrived in Alabama.
Our first locations in Alabama, Mountain Brook and Hoover, are now open with additional planned openings in Vestavia and Alabaster. Overall, we are planning eight locations in the Birmingham area through 2018.
In Maryland, we have expanded out to the eastern shore with a new location now open in Salisbury, and a couple more coming soon. We have Easton scheduled to open on Monday, September 10, (patients can schedule consultations starting Tuesday, September 5), and Berlin opening planned for late October. We also have expanded into Western Maryland with new locations now open in Westminster and Hagerstown. Additional locations planned in Frederick, Chester and Columbia will be announced hopefully later this year.
This growth is a byproduct of our unique model – a multidisciplinary care center that combines and coordinates the core disciplines necessary to treat overweight, obesity, and their underlying lifestyle factors. The facilities in these new locations, just with all our CoreLife offices, feature a medical office staffed by licensed medical practitioners, registered dietitians, dedicated trainers, a private fitness studio furnished with a variety of equipment, and much more. “The direct coordination and management of these services are at the heart of what makes CoreLife unique and is the solution to long term success, safety, and sustainability.” said Sean Kostkowski, President at CoreLife. “We are committed to improving community health by acting as a local, comprehensive care center for the treatment of overweight and obese individuals. We take pride in the trust that the medical community has in us as leaders in weight loss healthcare.”
We will continue to partner with healthcare systems and physicians and are strategically positioned within the preventive healthcare market providing services to communities, hospitals, businesses, governments, and healthcare providers. If you are looking for a new, innovative and comprehensive approach to weight loss, please contact us today.
Summer cookouts are awesome. They’re also often very high in foods low in nutrition, but high in taste. The recent “menu” for a BBQ read something like this: “Burgers with buns, pasta salad, potato salad, chips, dessert. Everything with an italic is a simple carbohydrate. In other words, low nutrition, high sugar, and a basic diet for health “no-no”. So, what are you to do? Just say “no” to all cookout invitations? No way! Just make yourself a really great guest. By bringing something nutrient-dense to the cookout, you’ll know you have at least one good option to add to your plate, regardless as to the rest of the menu.
1) Fruit plate or fruit kabobs
Easy, great if there are kids, can be used as part of dinner or dessert. Choose a variety of fresh fruit, like berries, melon, and pineapple or mango for a really awesome looking and tasting option.
2) Veggie platter with hummus
Veggies are great with dip, it’s a well know BBQ fact. Upgrade the dip to a flavored hummus to really pack a nutrition punch. Carrots, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and even spears of zucchini are great options to create a stunning platter.
3) Kale Salad
Traditional salads often don’t make it to the BBQ picnic table because they just get all soggy and don’t hold up to the weather. Kale salads, however, just get less bitter and more tender the longer they “marinate”. Do a nice Kale chop salad with a simple vinaigrette, fresh berries, and nuts.
4) Roasted Veggies –
The grill will already be hot, why not add some veggies to it? Chop up bell peppers, onion, zucchini, and yellow squash, toss into a bag with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce. Let it marinate on your way to the party, and then toss on the grill.
Make your summer fun and healthy. Say yes to the BBQ, but no to derailing your wellness efforts!
– Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
Many people do a great job at meals, but impair their weight loss and health success through excessive or unhealthy snacking. To make snacks work for you and add to your nutritional intake for the day, rather than derail your otherwise great diet, remember to include fat and/or protein with every snack, not JUST carbs. Snacks should be eaten mindfully, be smaller than a meal (think about the side of one hand), and nutrient-dense to keep you going until your next meal. Here are 5 of my favorite snack options:
1) Snack balls
Process walnuts or almonds with dates, prunes, or apricots in a food processor. Too sticky? Add more nuts. Too dry? Add more dried fruit. Feel free to add in hemp seeds and/or ground flax for added benefits. Roll into bite-sized balls and then toss with dried coconut flakes to make them less messy to grab and eat. Store in the fridge or freezer.
2) Trail Mix
Yea, I know, the best part of trail mix is the chocolate/M&Ms. BUT, you can still have your chocolate and eat it too, if you add in some other friends. Choose at least one nut (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), and then a chocolate flare (M&Ms, dark chocolate chips, chocolate coated sunflower seeds). Some combo ideas….”Nutella” trail mix: hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and pumpkin seeds; “Chocolate Covered Cherry” trail mix: Almonds, dark chocolate chunks, unsweetened dried cherries, and sunflower seeds; “Tropical Paradise” Trail Mix, macadamia nuts, unsweetened dried mango, and sunflower seeds.
Hard boiled eggs are a PERFECT snack option. Sprinkle a little “everything” spice mix on top for a truly delicious, balanced, treat.
4) Hummus + Veggies
Hummus comes in all sorts of amazing flavors. Change up the ones you keep on hand, vary the veggies you use to dip, and you’ll have a pretty endless supply of options!
5) Avocado + toast/crackers
Avocado toast is a great snack option. Sprinkle with that “everything” spice mix, top with a slice or two of tomato, or put those avocado slices on some seed-filled crackers for a great crunchy twist.
Snacking can be a great way to keep your energy up and meet your nutritional needs throughout the day. With these simple snack ideas, you can make snacking work for you, instead of against your waistline.
– Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
The summer season is typically full of fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers markets, and local produce stands. It’s also full of BBQs, 4th of July and graduation parties, weddings, and any other number of festivities that can be anything but “healthy”. So, how do you make the most out of your summer and all it has to offer?
1) Local and Seasonal
Take advantage of the lovely weather and visit your local farmers market over the weekend. Stroll through and plan your week of meals based on the freshest, local, peak of ripeness produce. You’re supporting local farmers, getting fruits and veggies at the height of their nutritional value, and more likely to grab fruits or veggies for your next meal if that’s what you fridge if filled with!
2) Veggies First!
Whether at a BBQ, restaurant, or just a typical Monday dinner at your own table, pile your plate high with veggies first, then compliment it with some protein and healthy fat.
3) Nature’s Dessert
Opt for fresh fruit when you’re craving some sweetness. Berries are juicy, full of vitamins and antioxidants, and easy to dress up with a dollop of whipped coconut cream. Grilled peaches or pineapple is one of the best summer treats the season has to offer. Plus, when it’s on the grill, there’s no need to heat up the house with an oven!
4) Grill Everything
There’s something extra delicious about meat off the grill, veggies with a little char, or fish with a nice grill mark. Get some extra time outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and make those veggies from the farmers market and fresh fish taste their best. A nice grill pan makes veggies easy on the grill. You can even make some fresh, homemade pizzas on the grill! Just work with small pieces of dough, grill one side, top it with preferred goodies, and put back on the grill to finish the other side.
Spinach, kale, arugula, basil, mint, beet greens, radish greens, cilantro…the list goes on and on. Every single one of these makes for a fantastic pesto. Pick one or a combination, blend or process with olive oil, garlic, and seeds or nuts (sunflower, pumpkin, walnuts, almonds). The options are endless! Use it to top salads, grilled veggies, salmon, as a dip for fresh veggies, or a spread on a wrap.
Summer eating can be vibrant, varied, and delicious. Take advantage of all the season has to offer to make your diet as nutrient-dense and tasty as possible.