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Nearly 70% of working Americans buy their lunch instead of brown-bagging it. Problem is, 96% of entrees at popular chain restaurants exceed the USDA’s limits for calories, sodium, and saturated fat, reports the journal Public Health Nutrition. Making simple ingredient swaps can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your meal without sacrificing taste. Here, dietician Megan Madden, RD, show how to easily improve your midday eats.
Lunch Makover #1: Beef burger with lettuce, pickles, and ketchup on a bun
- Swap out the ground beef in this burger for skinless chicken breast for big-time savings on calories and saturated fat.
- Replace lettuce with washed raw spinach. Spinach is a good source of folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
- For extra flavor but much less sugar and sodium, opt for fresh salsa instead of ketchup.
- If none of these swapouts will work for you this time, try to eat 1/2 of 3/4 of the burger instead of the whole thing!
Lunch Makeover #2: Tossed salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, dried cranberries, mozzarella cheese, bottled dressing
- Swap out: iceberg lettuce. Swap in: romaine.
- Swap out: dried cranberries. Swap in: grapes…or pear slices, or beets for the same hint of sweetness, but fewer calories.
- Swap out: bottled salad dressing. Swap in: olive oil and lemon juice.