healthy eating – lunch

Here’s part 3 of the healthy eating series (read up on part 1 – research and part 2- breakfast).

As a reminder, this was my resolution:

  • drastically reduce sugar intake and sweets
  • eat less empty carbohydrates (white flour products like bread rolls, pasta, etc.), switch to whole grain products where possible and find alternatives to wheat
  • eat a more plant based diet, fruit and vegetables first, everything else second
  • continue to buy local fresh produce
  • grow my own salads and vegetables again on my balcony with a better plan on what I want to grow and actually need
  • build up a collection of tried and trusted healthy recipes that we can return to again and again
  • use less dairy products

LUNCH

What did I change?
I am eating lunch at the office where there is a variety of hot lunches to be had as well as salads, desserts and rolls. I’ve never been much of a meat eater so I usually stuck to pasta, potatoes, anything baked with cheese or fries. I also almost always got a dessert, most often pudding.
Since doing my research I felt I could now make some informed choices and plans for lunch. I especially liked the 5 a day campaign by the WHO (in the US it’s called fruits & veggies – more matters). It basically tells you to eat 5 hand fulls of fruits and veggies a day, ideally 3 helpings of veggies and 2 of fruits. One fruit portion can be substituted by a hand full of nuts.
True to my resolution I am now trying to stay away from the carbs and especially the fries and the foods drowned in cheese (saturated fats). Instead I pick whatever veggies are offered and fill my plate with them. Since I have no say on the menu this is easier on some days than others. I still eat pasta or potatoes when they come with a veggie side or sauce. I try to stay away from fatty sauces and I eat fish whenever it’s on the menu. Often I have a little bowl of salad with my hot meal.
With the salad I choose organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing instead of heavier premade dressings. Instead of dessert I get a glass of freshly pressed orange juice with my lunch, which serves as one portion of fruit for my 5 a day plan.
I realize these choices are highly dependent on the environment and may not be possible for everyone but I think we all need to work with what’s there and make the best food choices available to us.

I also always take a 20-30 minute walk after lunch. I need to get out to breathe a bit of fresh air and stretch my legs before sitting down at the desk again. It’s refreshing and especially in spring gives your body a chance to soak up some sunshine and much needed vitamin D.

How did it work?
Man, staying away from fries and cheesy gratins was hard! When you get there hungry those hot, fatty foods look mouthwatering. The veggies and salads look much less appealing and filling.
But I promise once the withdrawal period is over it gets so much easier! It took about two or three weeks for me not to crave fatty foods any more and I now easily and happily choose the veggies. It helps to tell yourself how much better you’ll feel when you make the right choice and how proud you will be of yourself!
Sure I still have days when I crave a certain thing on the menu and sometimes I get weak and give in (it’s ok, we need to love ourselves).
When you switch from fatty foods and lots of carbs to a veggie based diet at first you feel like those still leave you hungry, like they are not as filling. I found that too subsides after a few weeks as your body adjusts to it. Instead I now feel pleasantly full after a meal whereas when I eat fries or heavy foods now they make me feel tired and bloated.
I used to have an afternoon low after lunch when I would get very tired and sleepy and concentration was impossible. Changing my eating habits has made this afternoon slump disappear almost completely!
Overall I feel much better with this diet and that’s enough encouragement to stick to it.

What’s planned?
Honestly I think lunch is fine for me like it is now. I could say I planned to do more home cooking to take to work but I know myself and it ain’t happening any time soon 😉
I’ve found what works for me and the challenge will be sticking with it. It’s a choice to make every single day and while it gets easier and easier with time the temptations are still there. I’m looking at you, chocolate pudding dessert with cherry compote.

Stay tuned for the next part which will be afternoon snacks!

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10 thoughts on “healthy eating – lunch

  1. Martha

    It is hard to resist the temptations of the comfort food that we enjoy. I try to pack my lunch everyday so I’m not tempted to eat those things that I’m trying to avoid. I’m pretty much on the same diet you are: I eat mainly plant base foods and avoid bread (which I love) and sweets.

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    1. Kristina Post author

      Packing lunch is definitely a good idea! I love to eat a warm meal at midday so I don’t pack anything but it’s hard when you’re hungry and have to choose not what looks mouthwateringly good to you at that moment. I love bread too! I plan to experiment a little with making my own bread from spelt flour and whole grains so it’ll be healthier.

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  2. lvaletutto

    It’s great that you plan to grow as much food for yourself as you can with your balcony space this year! I am eagerly awaiting the start of our vegetable garden this year with the garden share “Meine Ernte” and have lots planned for our balcony garden this year too. If you are interested in a good spelt bread recipe and want to start making your own bread you can try this one if you like.
    http://theartfulgardener.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/spelt-bread-with-sour-cream-and-chives/
    Be sure that your yeast is well activated before you mix everything together and that the dough almost or does double in size when risen before baking and you should have no trouble making a nice loaf. 🙂

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    1. Kristina Post author

      What will you grow on your balcony then? Thanks for the recipe! I actually used the rainy weather on Saturday to try out a recipe from Chefkoch.de and it worked perfectly. I will be posting the results soon 🙂
      Yours sounds so yummy too! I’m not sure if the sour cream has lactose in it though(I’m trying to stay away from anything with lactose since I noticed my body doesn’t like it), I’d probably have to replace it with water.

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      1. lvaletutto

        I plan to grow strawberries again in one of our large planters, herbs and flowers in the other, the leeks are already pretty big (it was never cold enough this winter to kill last years carry-over crop). I have bärlauch in a raised bed that I made and will be planting different types of balcony tomatoes again too! About the bread… I forgot that you are lactose intolerant, sorry. I know that you can buy vegan sour cream in the states, I’m not so sure about here though. Also, does it still adversely affect you even after being baked? Looking forward to your next post!

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        1. Kristina Post author

          Oh, Bärlauch sounds great, I didn’t know you could grow it at home!
          About the cream, I’m not sure if I still react to it after baking, I’ll need to try. For now I’m just staying away from any dairy products as much as I can. I’ll have that recipe up soon 🙂

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  3. Lindsay

    Oh man… I don’t usually eat lunch at noon like most people at my office. I get to work a little later, so I eat my lunch at 2pm, and if I had to rely on making healthy choices from a menu, I think I would definitely struggle. Some of the smells that come out of the cafeteria when people are preparing their food are sooo mouthwatering. Sometimes I have to take out a pack of nuts or a Lara bar just so I have something to nibble on. Props to you for making good choices!

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    1. Kristina Post author

      It’s definitely harder than just sticking to the right choice at home, but it’s possible. It gets easier with each passing day. With desserts I usually promise myself I’ll get one if I still feel hungry after lunch and then I’m always full and don’t crave one any more 😉 We just have to find a way to trick ourselves. That said, I had chocoloate yesterday and officially failed my no sugar resolution for lent twice already. Nobody’s perfect 😉

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  4. Stefanie Neumann

    Ja, ich finde auch, dass es nach der Entwöhnungsphase viel leichter wird und man nach relativ kurzer Zeit die gesündere Ernährung (was auch immer dies für jeden individuell bedeutet) sogar bevorzugt – besonders im Hinblick darauf, wie viel besser es einem bekommt. Das ging mir genau so und ich habe es auch schon von anderen gehört.

    Jetzt habe ich Hunger auf Salat…!

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  5. Pingback: healthy eating – snacks | little home by hand

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