Archive | November, 2010

Pack A Punch With Lunch

1 Nov

Here is a question that I received from

I have diabetes and work long hours.  I usually eat lunch at my desk while working.  I’m struggling with what I can have for lunch.  Could you give me some tips on what to pack for lunch at work?

Packing a lunch is essential to keep your diet rid of processed and sugary foods.  It is important to eat every 2 to 3 hours in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable and having the right types of food will help you keep your diabetes in check. I often pack my lunches for the week on Sunday because of the convenience.  If you plan on packing daily lunches, set 10 to 15 minutes aside during the evening to take care of your meals and snacks for the next day. If you find it difficult to do this, just think of the time you sit on the couch watching commercials. Usually that time adds up to about 10 to 15 minutes, so why not use it wisely.  You will be thankful the next day when your tummy starts to rumble.

When planning your meals for the work week, make sure you begin with the right amount of food for your body type. Incorporating food items that are to your food preference will keep your appetite satisfied. Purchase an igloo for your food items and keep them fresh with a freeze pack. Don’t forget your utensils and napkins.


Beverages: Water is essential to keep the body hydrated and keeps your electrolytes balanced. If plain water bores you, add a few slices of lemon, lime, or orange for added sweetness.

Healthy Salad: Try packing a salad with non-starchy vegetables, fruit, healthy protein, and healthy fat.  A mix of dark greens, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a few slices of bell pepper taste delicious when paired with a few sliced strawberries, 1 to 2 ounces of low-fat seasoned tofu, and a vinaigrette dressing. For your dressing, try a Sesame Soy Vinaigrette or Miso Ginger Vinaigrette.  Whole Foods and Trader Joes carry these types of dressings. For your healthy fats, try adding *¼ ounce raw, unsalted almonds. If you prefer a typical ranch salad, just make sure you use the dressing sparingly.

*¼ ounce of almonds=6 whole almonds

Healthy Sandwich: Always make sure that you incorporate a whole grain into your lunch. Try Oroweat Double Fiber bread for your sandwich making. It provides 6 grams of fiber per slice along with several vitamins and minerals essential to your diet.  Use low-sodium turkey slices or skinless chicken breast. For your healthy fats, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado instead of mayonnaise with some honey mustard. Make sure to add plenty of veggies in your sandwich and remember the *rule of thumb when it comes to portions of fat in your diet.

*Rule of thumb: Your thumb is about the same size and volume as 1 tablespoon of salad dressing, mayonnaise, or oil.

Variety of Snacks: Add in an apple or orange for that extra fiber and vitamin C.   Pack a low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt for your calcium and protein needs. Remember that flavored yogurt has added sugar in it and it will elevate your blood sugar levels much more than compared to the plain type of yogurt. If you are not used to plain yogurt try adjusting your taste buds by adding in natural sugars like fruit.  Add ¼ cup of blueberries or a few strawberries to your yogurt to pleasure your taste buds.  I prefer Greek plain non-fat yogurt because it is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. Another great snack option is 1 ounce of almonds with 1 tablespoon of raisins.  It will fill your tummy up and may help increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Healthy Soups: During the winter months, you may prefer soups over other foods.  Healthy soups for diabetics include broth based soups with vegetables and lentils. Soups can provide a good amount of fiber and are low in calories compared to other foods.  Add in some bok choy, bean sprouts, and tofu for an Asian inspired soup preference.  Bok choy is another non-starchy vegetable that will help fight free radicals. Always keep your sodium intake at bay with low-sodium soups and make sure to stay hydrated with water to keep your electrolytes balanced.

So, take care of your diabetes and get your igloo ready for the week. Be consistent with your lunch packing, and before you know it, it will become second nature.