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Old 10-04-10, 01:21 PM   #1
truman
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What's for lunch?

I'm looking for dead-simple, healthful, economical, higher-protein, lower carb lunch ideas.

Currently, I tend to lunch on canned soup, primarily Progresso varieties, with saltines and maybe a little prepackaged, mixed fruit cup. Sometimes, I sub Ramen noodles or what have you. When available, leftovers are always nice, but I tend to go lighter at lunch then at dinner and don't always want the same thing as I had the night before. Also, I can walk to a few faster-food joints, and sometimes fall back on those, blowing any budgeting out of the water.

I work in an office environment, and have a microwave, a refrigerator and scalding hot-water tap available for use.

I have never been able to manage assembling a proper sandwich/fruit/veggie lunch on a daily basis, so I'm looking for meals I can either prepare once a week and freeze or assemble and cook quickly at the office. I usually have a piece or two of fresh fruit in the morning, and some oatmeal on colder days.

I'm an omnivore, but I tend to weight my diet heavily toward delicious breads, which isn't very good for maintaining my weight.

I'm 45, I have a 20 mile roundtrip commute as well as weekly MTB rides with friends, and my metabolism is such that with my current diet/activity levels, I maintain a slightly heavy weight. I'd like to drop some pounds, so I'm looking at my diet choices as a means to that end.
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Old 10-04-10, 01:52 PM   #2
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I just made a batch of chili yesterday. I have 3 servings left over that will be used for lunches. It's simple, cheap, and you can vary the ingredients (meat, veggies, legumes) depending on your diet. It freezes well and is easy to nuke in the microwave at work. You can also bring a slice of the delicious bread to go along with it.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:24 PM   #3
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My lunch today - tuna salad on an onion bagel, cup of low fat blueberry yogurt, apple, and some processed 100 calorie deserty thing. Leftovers are always good and nothing is better than leftover chilli, nothing!! Key is to put everything together the night before and store it in your refridgerator, so that you don't have to think about it the next morning. Also, most canned soups, (and Ramen Noodles especially), are loaded with sodium - not good if you have high blood pressure and are watching your sodium consumption.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:26 PM   #4
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Thanks, chili already holds a place high on the "desirable leftovers" list. Especially now it's cooling off outside. My Beloved Redhead makes homemade cornbread to go with.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:26 PM   #5
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Beans are your friend. I tend to make a big pot of some sort of beans with protein (veggie sausage for me) and greens on the weekend. Divvy it up into small containers and nuke at work.

Whenever someone mentions ramen noodles as cheap subsistence food I suggest beans. Super cheap and full of fiber and actual nutrition. It's possible to eat for a week on $2 worth of beans. I'm not suggesting going that far, but beans rule.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:33 PM   #6
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I have to agree with the chili.

We have a local business here that delivers soup (by bicycle!) to your home. I get deliveries every week. The last delivery included bison chili. I had some for lunch a few hours ago.
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Old 10-04-10, 02:34 PM   #7
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I've been doing roast beef sandwiches lately (Albertsons had their London Broil roast on sale last week). There is still the bread, but you can get 35 low-carb for that, I think 7 carbs per slice (or maybe that's for two slices). If you have the cold cuts and cheese on hand, the sandwiches can be quickly made in the morning or even at work if you have a fridge there.

The other bread I've been going with lately is Jewish rye. There is something about the flavor of a good rye bread that compliments sliced meat. I think they tend to be slightly lower carb counts than normal white bread.
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Old 10-04-10, 03:19 PM   #8
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From your post, I'd say you're pretty close. I'd suggest mixing it up a bit so as to not get boring. Low sodium progresso soups are good. I prefer Trader Joe's if available in your area. We're on the same page with a good rye, or caroway bread; much tastier and less starchy carbs than the mainstream crud. Bring a bunch of sandwich fixings to keep in the work fridge. I like to just prepare and eat, not prepare - store- carry - then eat. I'm much too lazy for that kind of organization and preparation. Add a leftover or two now and again so you're not having the same thing days in a row. Nix the ramen, ugh.. empty fat calories and the texture is gross.
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Old 10-04-10, 04:12 PM   #9
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What about this: on off-days, cook up boneless, skinless chicken and divide into bags for the week. Prepare each one differently: olive oil and rosemary over a (little) pasta one day; barbecue sauce the next, etc. When chicken becomes abhorrent, switch to some other "anchor" meat, or sub tofu, mushrooms, or some other substantive thing to which you can add veggies, nuts, etc.

As you mention wanting to lose a few pounds: how about adding a side of resistance bands or something to use to lift weight while at work (if possible; I do this) or at home. If your fitness level and specific skill level have adapted such that the commute and rides are no longer of a high enough intensity to build muscle, that will make it harder to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Our bodies in adulthood naturally lose muscle as we age if we don't actively do resistance training. Muscle tissue is metabolically expensive to maintain! Pack on more muscle and you'll burn more calories while at rest Good on ya for posting and good luck!
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Old 10-04-10, 04:59 PM   #10
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I usually grab some Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones lunch meals when they're on sale. I have plenty to choose from, they are balanced and they keep me on track to avoid eating fast food or our crappy & over priced cafeteria food. I also have a piece of fruit...
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Old 10-04-10, 05:02 PM   #11
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To loose weight, the process is simple; eat less calories than your metabolism burns daily--this is the one and only way to loose weight over the long term. Do this and the type of food doesn't matter. Nutrition aside, you could loose weight eating nothing but ice cream.

There are a number of studies to indicate that diets don't work. People tend to regain the weight and then some. The key is not a diet, but a change in long term eating habits.

Carbohydrates are not bad things; for instance vegetables are mostly carbohydrate. The key with carbs is to eat high quality carbs (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and avoid processed grains and sugars.

There are noted long term health issues with high protein, low carb diets. The experts say that they can cause severe health issues over the long term (and keeping the weight off means long term eating habits).

High carb, low fat diets are considered better by the experts, but still subject to problems since they can encourage the eating of low quality carbs.

To quote my doc, "Everyone should eat as if they are diabetic..." Which translates into a balanced diet of carbs, protein, and fats (40-50% carbs, 20-30% protein, and about 30% fats) We need about 6 oz of meat a day for protein (or the equivalent), the fats should be the good ones whenever possible (monounsaturated, Omega-3's...) A 2,000 (typical for male) calories per day intake should have about 165 grams of carbs.

Diet is another area where variety is a good thing. It helps insure you get the micronutrients and helps avoid boredom.

Making extras for dinner and bringing for lunch is a great way to go. Another option is to cook one day a week and freeze the meals... For meals, the proverbial one-pot meals make great leftovers...

Here are some recipe books suggested by my doctor/nutritionist (no I don't have diabetes)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158...ef=oss_product

http://www.amazon.com/4-Ingredient-D..._bxgy_b_text_b

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158...ef=oss_product

Last edited by myrridin; 10-04-10 at 05:09 PM. Reason: added cookbook links
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Old 10-04-10, 05:31 PM   #12
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+1 for leftover chili, I know you're trying to cut carbs but when I do spaghetti I'll cook some extra pasta to take to work the next day. Before buying any of the frozen meals check their sodium content, there was one brand I really enjoyed until I read the label.....way too much sodium.

Depending on how trustworthy your co-workers are your could stock up the fridge at work with some deli meats (roast beef, lean ham etc) keep some lettuce, tomatoes and cottage cheese there and you've got a quick, nutritious lunch.
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Old 10-05-10, 07:59 AM   #13
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To be clear: I'm not trying to eliminate carbohydrates, rather I want to stop overdoing them and balance things out better. Life without tortilla chips would be a pathetic life, indeed.

I'm simply trying to get out of the habit of say, eating an entire baguette and skipping the greens or other, better stuff. The complicating factor is that a baguette is easy to pack, not messy to eat, fast and tasty, and requires no prep and little cleanup.

I like sandwiches, but it's tough to get enough good food on one to balance out the bread 'penalty'.

I'm thinking that if I bring some veggies like carrots and add them to my midmorning apple, I might cut the hunger enough to be more easily sated by my lunch.
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Old 10-05-10, 09:05 AM   #14
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I went primal about two or three weeks ago, and caved a couple times. I.e., i'm cutting out grains.
Most days that I bring lunch, I'll bring an apple and some peanut butter and some chopped carrots or celery in a bag.
I also do roast beef (just roast beef) wraps with mustard, fruit, nuts, veggies.
Nuts are a huge staple of my diet, and hardboiled eggs are good in a pinch (but I don't particularly enjoy them).

Who says you can't cut out grains? Do it for thirty days, because, why not, ya know?
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Old 10-05-10, 09:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by myrridin View Post

There are noted long term health issues with high protein, low carb diets. The experts say that they can cause severe health issues over the long term (and keeping the weight off means long term eating habits).
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What's 'high' protein? And please do show proof.
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Old 10-05-10, 09:33 AM   #16
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What's 'high' protein? And please do show proof.
High protein diets such as Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters, etc...

Recommended sources for daily calorie intake generally fall into the following ranges:

Carbohydrates (High quality sources such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains): 40-50%
Proteins (preferably low cholesterol sources) ~25%
Fats (with a preference for monounsaturated and an avoidance of transfats) 25-30%

How is the American Heart Association for a source? In an advisory to clinicians, it concluded that people who follow high-protein diets are at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalties overall" (Circulation 104, no. 15, (2001); 1869-1874)

Another study showed a risk of atherosclerosis (one study showed more than a 50% increase with long-term use) (J Am Coll Nutr [2000]; 19:578-590)

Further studies indicate that much of the weight loss on a low-carb, high protein diet is accountered for by losses in body water (Denke M. "Metabolic effects of high protein, low carbohydrate diets" Am J Cardiol [2001]; 88:59-61)
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Old 10-05-10, 09:37 AM   #17
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Maybe you guys could start another post to argue carbs - I'm just trolling for lunch ideas, here.

Jasonvelo, although, I'm not interested in cutting out delicious grain products, I've heard what you describe referred to as 'Paleo', but not 'primal' - same thing?
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Old 10-05-10, 09:39 AM   #18
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To be clear: I'm not trying to eliminate carbohydrates, rather I want to stop overdoing them and balance things out better. Life without tortilla chips would be a pathetic life, indeed.

I'm simply trying to get out of the habit of say, eating an entire baguette and skipping the greens or other, better stuff. The complicating factor is that a baguette is easy to pack, not messy to eat, fast and tasty, and requires no prep and little cleanup.

I like sandwiches, but it's tough to get enough good food on one to balance out the bread 'penalty'.

I'm thinking that if I bring some veggies like carrots and add them to my midmorning apple, I might cut the hunger enough to be more easily sated by my lunch.
The types of grains matter, whole grains are good for the body. Also vegetables are a major source of carbohydrates. If you use pre-washed lettuce and vegies, salads are an easy dish to prepare the night or morning for lunch and just wait until eating to dress (if you even do).

The current recommendations are to have between 40 & 50% of your daily caloric intake in the form of high quality carbs (whole grains, fruits, and veggies)
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Old 10-05-10, 09:58 AM   #19
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Please STOP!

You all are making me hungry!
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Old 10-05-10, 11:59 AM   #20
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FYI: Today's lunch was homemade green chile, pork and posole stew - with fresh cornbread!
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Old 10-05-10, 12:18 PM   #21
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Sliced my self up a garden veggie salad last night. Just grab and go in the morning. I have all the good stuff in this one... turkey, feta, tomatoes, and a little lettuce too. Top it off with 3 hard boiled eggs on the side and 2 slices of cheddar it's a sure winner for my tummy here in about 15 minutes.
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Old 10-05-10, 01:24 PM   #22
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can of tuna, drain water, add pepper and eat.
or
yogurt with cottage cheese
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Old 10-05-10, 04:09 PM   #23
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Man this makes me hungry. I usually take what was leftover from dinner. or some green beans, almonds, carrots, salad and anything else I can find.
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Old 10-05-10, 06:30 PM   #24
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Drain the liquid from the Raman Noodles. Top with some chicken, tomato and mozzarella.
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Old 10-05-10, 06:58 PM   #25
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Not in an office environment, but my work lunch is a plain bagel and a can of soup. And that's a can of soup as in Step 1. Open can, Step 2. Eat. Sometimes I'll have another bagel as a mid-morning snack.

Easy, cheap, quick, no hassle.

No particular brand or type of soup or bagels. Whatever the wife picked up on sale.

The only rule is no tomato soup. We tried that once and it was like trying to eat a can of ketchup. Didn't work out.

Last edited by CommuterRun; 10-05-10 at 07:02 PM.
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