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 10 Tips for Eating Healthy at Work & School 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Staying Healthy Tips by . View all columns in series

  • When you prepare healthy foods at home for you and your family, make extra so you have tomorrow's lunch or a couple days of meals that consist of your good foods.
    Take them to school or work. Use primarily whole (wholesome) foods -- fresh fruits, veggie sticks, nutritious dips, nuts and seeds, healthy crackers, salads, sandwiches, sprouts of all kinds, and more. See some examples of good choices in the article, Healthy Eating at School and Work. Start by substituting more healthy ingredients in foods you already prepare. Vegan spreads like almond butter, avocado, or humus can be used instead of mayonnaise, for instance, or on bread, crackers or rice cakes. Try to avoid substituting cheese for meat. Although cheese has protein, it is very high in saturated fat, and may be hard to digest for many people.

  • Shop at some of the natural food delis, if available to you, for fresh-made foods.
    Many of the major natural food stores such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Fresh Fields have great components to your healthy diet -- fresh juices, wholesome sandwiches, salads, baked proteins, tofu dishes, good roasted veggies, and exotic grains (quinoa, couscous, and buckwheat). This is a good second choice if you cannot make the time to cook yourself. Yet, if you can, then prepare one fresh bowl of vegetables or salad, squeeze some lemon on it, and place in refrigerator. Stir some of these veggies in with rice or tofu and you are set. Try a wheat-free cookie or some low-fat organic chips, not made with terminator corn. Also, try rice milk, soymilk, or almond milk -- all now available in stores. Or you can make your own lemonade to take with you. Also, have some unsweetened trail mix for snacks, or some quality protein bars.

  • For variety to help rotate your diet and minimize food reactions--find foods that are free from wheat, yeast, dairy, and sugar (but not 'diet' foods with the controversial artificial sweetener, aspartame) at your local store or make your own.
    You can find recipes and guidance for these products in my books, A Cookbook for All Seasons and The False Fat Diet.

  • Remember portion size.
    Check the recommended serving size for anything you are considering at the store. Many foods, especially snack foods, seem innocuous when you check the label, but you may be eating two or three times the amount that is recommended. This is also true for take-out. Consider buying a half-sandwich (an option in most delis) or splitting with a friend. And remember the Glycemic Index and about eating whole foods lower on the Index (slower sugar absorption). Also, eat slowly and chew well, and watch your food combining to assure best digestion. Be sure to include some healthy fats and whole grains, as these foods fill you up and satisfy your hunger without putting on weight.

  • Don't forget water.
    Having water available at all times (at work, school, in the car, wherever) helps everybody stay healthier. Start substituting water for juice, soda, coffee, or whatever you usually drink. Keep some healthy snacks and protein bars at work, or carry them with you. These can save you from a binge when energy is low. They also help you avoid the temptation of going out for a little something.

    Copyright Elson M. Haas, MD, 2003 All Rights Reserved
    This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format.
    If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Elson Haas is required.

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     About The Author
    Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...moreElson Haas MD
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