Both children and adults face a serious dilemma during lunchtime on weekdays as they enter the cafeteria faced with a plethora of choices ranging from healthy to downright unhealthy. While many schools and workplaces are taking advantage of the benefits of better nutrition in the cafeteria such as a fitter, more attentive group of students or employees, there are still some landmines to avoid come lunchtime. Here’s how to steer clear of the biggest cafeteria dangers so that you spare some calories and get a more nutritious meal on the go.
Stock your plate at the salad bar
Most cafeterias have stepped up their salad bar game to offer fresher choices that won’t weigh you down. When you fill your plate with these options, you’ll have less room for the fried or cheese-covered selections further into the cafeteria. If your workplace or your child’s school doesn’t offer this type of fresh selection, you might work to start a healthy eating initiative that will bring more fruits and veggies to the table. In some schools, community gardens are making a big difference by providing fresh, local produce that is naturally more delicious.
Drink water instead of soda or juice
Many cafeterias are following the example set by the Googleplex, where healthy choices are made a priority. Part of their cafeteria design is that sodas and energy drinks are put out of the way, allowing water to become the most popular choice for employees. Most school cafeterias have taken soda out of the immediate area or perhaps even off campus entirely, but you might still have to fight the temptation of soda on college campuses or at the workplace. Try carrying a reusable water bottle with you to fight the urge – you can even infuse your water with fruit if you find plain water too boring.
Keep the sweets out of the cafeteria
If you’ve made it a habit to eat a candy bar or pudding pack after your lunch, you may be training your body to crave the midday sugar rush. You can reduce the cravings by keeping sweets out of plain sight, or skipping the dessert and replacing it with fruit or yogurt in your child’s lunchbox.
With a few simple changes, you can make your work or school day much healthier. Better nutrition begins with small steps, so start with different habits in the cafeteria using these easy tips!