What’s For Lunch?

Bringing lunch to work instead of eating out can save money and improve health. But choosing nutritious, tasty and easy-to-make meals day after day can be challenging. Meet Diane Vizthum, Meghan Ames, Melissa Moser, Hong Brereton, Susan Oh and Bobbie Henry, six Johns Hopkins dieticians who shared in the July/August issue of Dome their favorite lunchtime inspirations as suited to their lifestyle.

All six women shared that they load up on fruits and vegetables, avoid foods made with artificial ingredients, and drink lots of water. They also eat healthy fats, enjoy occasional indulgences--including pizza!--and don’t obsess about calories. Check out what tips they have to offer and share your own comments on how you eat healthy during the work day.

The Low-Carb Eater: Bobbie Henry, 31, began eating a low-carbohydrate diet about five years ago to combat reactive hypoglycemia, a condition that impairs her ability to regulate blood sugar. As a result, her dramatic energy spikes and troughs have disappeared, she says. Henry treats patients in the Adult Epilepsy Diet Center, where research is showing that diets that are high in fat and low in carbohydrates can lower seizure rates. Her indulgences: super-dark chocolate (85 to 90 percent cocoa), pizza.

The Local and Sustainable Advocate: Diane Vizthum, 29, gravitates toward food that is locally grown. Recently, she and her husband purchased one quarter of a cow—more than 100 pounds of meat—from a Harford County farm. The grass-fed beef is portioned, packaged and in their freezer, and is ready for quick meals made with “a lot of vegetables, healthy fat, whole grains and protein,” says Vizthum. Her indulgences: dark chocolate, cookies, brownies.

The Athlete: Melissa Moser, 25, runs about 70 miles per week and needs a diet that fuels all those footsteps. She tries to get about 60 percent of her calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent from protein and 20 percent from fat. Her research showing the dangers of food additives for people with kidney disease inspires Moser to “eat real food.” Her indulgences: apples with peanut butter, trail mix, dry cereal, ice cream, chocolate.

The Antioxidant and Estrogen Proponent: Hong Brereton, 66, likes to cook, modifying recipes from her native Vietnam to meet her nutrition goals. She adds broccoli sprouts and other members of the cabbage family to prevent cell damage and fight disease, andshe includes flaxseed and other foods with plant chemicals called phytoestrogens to combat the symptoms of menopause. Her indulgences: fruitcake, mango, dates and a banana eaten with a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese.

The Busy Food-Lover: Meghan Ames, 27, captains a bicycling team, rock-climbs, hikes and takes yoga classes. When she can grab a few minutes in the kitchen, she’ll make a big pot of something easy, like soup or a grain-based salad, and bring the leftovers with a green salad for lunch. Ames, a nursing nutrition instructor and state obesity program coordinator, offers simple weight-loss advice: Move more, and eat lots of produce. Her indulgence: mint chocolate chip ice cream.

The Working Mom: Susan Oh, 43, sneaks as much produce as she can into the diets of her three children, ages 8 to 12. She often makes entrees with tomato sauce, which contains the antioxidant lycopene, and adds pureed vegetables, including butternut squash, mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, onions and garlic. She cooks on the weekends so she can heat up dinners during hectic weeknights; her family brings leftovers for lunch. Her indulgence: chocolate cake.

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aviva August 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

I bought a "Planet Box" lunch box-bento style, high quality, dishwasher safe, metal, trim lunchbox that makes it fun to pack lunch and easy to control portion sizes. Its pricey but worth it, all details are considered. There is even an insert that is leakproof for things like dips or yogurts. The box is guaranteed for 5 years and their website and facebook page are full of inspiring ideas and photos. Planetbox.com. I have no financial relationship with this company, I just love their product. I always get comments about mine at lunchtime.

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Edward August 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

I try to eat non-processed foods. When checking ingredient labels, if I can't say it, I try to not eat it.

I'm wondering what these dieticians take is on our hospital offering all Diet Sodas. Most recent research I have seen states that diet soda may cause weight gain and Type 2 Diabetes. Here is an article about it from Yahoo Health:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/what-one-can-of-diet-coke-does-to-your-body-in-one-125854448827.html

I try to drink only water but, when I do drink a soda, I purchase the smaller 8 ounce cans. I try to limit myself to 1 or 2 a week.

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