Since we're all friends here, I hope you don't mind if I ask: How many of you vowed to eat better in 2013? Come on, lift your hands high and be proud! That's the beauty of January—it signifies a new beginning. In my case, I'm beginning to bring lunch to work more often. Perhaps you've made the same goal, but are unsure of how to follow through. Well, I'm here to give you the inside scoop each month by revealing what members of my nutrition practice, Nutritious Life, and I are brown baggin.' Read which foods we like to pack up and pick up, plus a few healthful tips from the experts.
What's in the bag?
NL: What's your favorite part of the meal?
A: Ever since I was little, I always enjoyed Asian-inspired flavors and dishes. But when I started studying nutrition, I learned just how bad some of those childhood favorites were. Egg roll? General Tso's chicken? Not exactly nutritious by anyone's standards! I've learned to recreate many of them in significantly healthier ways that are tastier, too, in my opinion. I love the simple flavors of broccoli, tofu, and brown rice mixed together with some garlic and low-sodium soy sauce. I steam broccoli, cook the rice, and lightly saute firm tofu with about a ½ teaspoon of chopped garlic. Mix this all together with a little soy sauce, and I have a favorite dinner, along with leftovers for lunch. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I'm a firm believer in incorporating meatless meals into my lunch and dinner routine. Tofu is a great plant-based protein that is high in protein, low in fat, and loaded with calcium. Brown rice is one of my favorite grains because it's simple to cook, and I even make extra to throw on salads or to use instead of oats for breakfast.
NL: Why did you decide to bring the carrots and hummus as well?
A: I brought the carrots and hummus to eat later in the day as a snack. I love hummus, but I can absolutely overdo it if I don't portion it out. When I bring hummus to work, I put it in a little glass container that fits about two tablespoons. Hummus is packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants and healthy fat. So just these two tablespoons of it have the power to keep me satisfied until my post-work workout. Oh, and the carrots? Way better for you (and more satisfying) than dipping with pita!
NL: Is there anything you wish you had packed differently?
A: To be honest, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. It's not that I wind up eating a pint of ice cream (although who doesn't want that), but I do like a little something sweet after my meal. I would have liked some berries to round out the savory meal and snack. Next time, perhaps I'll include a cup of raspberries.
Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the country. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her fourth book, The New You and Improved Diet, will be released in December. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on YouTube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!