Whether you’re eating at work, at school, or maybe even in a hospital, making healthy choices in a cafeteria can be a seriously frustrating task. Although there are often plenty of options to choose from, the cold hard truth is that most of those options are pretty unhealthy. In recognizing this, many workplaces and schools are working toward making lunchtime meal options more health conscious. But, unfortunately, it is a slow-moving trend. Until this change is in full effect, there are a few things you can do in the meantime, in order to ensure that you’re making the healthiest possible choices in the cafeteria.
Did you know many fast-food chains are trying to give customers a healthier option? McDonald's is incorporating new items into their menu, so check out our McDonald's coupon page to learn about their latest options and find coupons for your meal. For healthy lunch options when you eat out, check out our coupon pages for Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Sweet Tomatoes.
1. Be smart about snacking.
It’s absolutely okay to snack in between meals. In fact, it’s actually beneficial to your metabolism to have small, healthy snacks in between meals. Just be mindful of how often you’re snacking and what you’re snacking on. Having a snack isn’t really considered having a snack if you’re doing it all day long. At that point, it’s more like unhealthy grazing. In terms of what you’re snacking on - try to replace unhealthy sugary snacks with healthy snacks filled with macronutrients. For example, grab a greek yogurt cup instead of a pudding cup, or some apple slices with peanut butter instead of chips and dip.
2. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
We all have things that we like and things that we don’t like. Often times, many of the things we don’t like are things that we’ve never even tried. In the case of most people, these disliked, never-tried things...are healthy things. Because healthy options in cafeterias tend to be limited, it is important that we suck it up and try new foods. Having a broader palate provides us with a greater selection of healthy foods. Try something new every day - or every week at the very least - and you may be surprised by the healthy foods that you actually like!
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3. Hit up the salad bar.
Rather than ordering a plate of soggy house salad drenched in dressing and who knows what else, many cafeterias are now offering salad bars as an alternative. If your cafeteria does give you the option to serve yourself from a salad bar, I suggest you load up your plate with these healthy greens! Feel free to throw on some extra veggies, meats, fruits, nuts, and healthy simple dressings from some added flavor and nutrients!
4. Take your lunch to go.
To put it simply, grab your food and move along. Take it back to your office, cubicle, or desk to eat. Or, if this isn’t an option, then just sit down, eat it quickly, and then get back to work. Why? Because if you allow yourself to sit and socialize while you eat, you’re more likely to continue eating without even realizing it.
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5. Stick with water.
Although there’s always the temptation of soda, juice, chocolate milk, or other sugary drinks in the cafeteria, the smartest choice you can make here is to stick with water. You may think you’re doing the right thing by choosing juice over soda, but sadly, most juices are filled with sugars other added ingredients, and are just as bad as soda. Although unsweetened tea and coffee are okay, it is still best to grab a nice, cold, bottle of water whenever possible.