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Eat smart, work healthy!
Let’s face it, many of us who work often feel guilty about picking up fast food at lunch time, or maybe even for breakfast. The calories add up, and the cholesterol count doesn’t look any better at the next medical checkup. Many large companies have in-house cafeterias that provide meals for employees who wish to buy them, but however delicious this food may be, it’s always a bit scary as we really don’t have any control over what ingredients go into preparing these meals. Many work-related meetings take place at restaurants or sites where a meal is provided, and no consideration is given to the fat content or preparation style of the food to be served. If you consume a few of these meals a year, then it is unlikely that it will affect your health, but if it becomes an integral part of your routine, then you stand to gain weight and it may affect your health.
It is not difficult to work, eat and be healthy all at the same time; it just takes a little planning and some time in the kitchen before work the next day. If you plan to eat lunch at your desk, then pack a brown bag lunch with a salad or a fat free sandwich, on whole grain bread with low-fat mayonnaise, add some lettuce and tomatoes to the sandwich and don’t forget fresh fruit.
If you are arranging an in-house business meeting that includes a working lunch, you can stress to your caterer you want a platter of sandwiches with roasted chicken, cheese and egg fillings. Ask them to provide the condiments on the side, and order a fresh fruit platter in addition to the dessert tray. Provide fresh juices, water, tea or coffee and try to avoid soft drinks for your guests. If you go to a restaurant for a business meeting you can speak to the chef beforehand and let him or her suggest some healthy and delicious menus for your guests. If you do many meetings a day, try to schedule power breakfast meetings at a well-established hotel, where you can have a choice of fresh fruit and other breakfast items that are not high in hydrogenated fats. Starting the day off with a high-protein, low-fat breakfast will fuel you for a full day ahead. Here are some healthy and tasty alternatives to purchasing lunch.
EGG ’N’ PASTA SALAD
1 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsps chopped garlic
8 to 10 fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (or 1 cup tinned mushrooms)
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsps minced fresh chives
1 tbsps fresh thyme
1 egg lightly beaten
Pepper sauce to taste.
Heat oil in a skillet, add onions and garlic, sauté until fragrant, add mushrooms, cook for about three minutes more. Remove from heat.
In a food processor add rice, carrots, chives, thyme and sautéed onion mixture.
Pulse food processor until mixture is of a mealy consistency.
Transfer to bowl.
Add breadcrumbs and mix well.
Season with salt, pepper and pepper sauce.
Stir in egg.
Make mixture into six burger patties
Broil on a lightly greased pan until lightly browned, about five to seven minutes per side.
Serve with whole-wheat buns and a fresh green salad.
• Serves four to six
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps wheat germ
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low fat yogurt
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, wheat germ, spices and raisins and nuts.
In a small bowl beat egg with milk, yogurt and vanilla
Add oil and stir.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until done.
• Makes 12 muffins