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Old 07-11-2006, 01:29 AM   #1  
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Default Take your lunch to work challenge

My big dieting Achilles heel is work. For some people its socialising, or managing meals out with partners, or keeping control at weekends, for me it's those 8 hours at work each day. We have the world's greatest cafeteria, its subsidised by my employer and we pay a contribution, it has lots of healthy options and should be a great choice for me. But it's not.

Cake, dessert, and unhealthy main dishes are sometimes hard for me to avoid. The comfort eating fat chick that lives inside my head still says "you've had a hard morning you deserve it, your going to the gym after work, one piece of cake won't hurt"

But it does, it means I am am maintaining but not losing.

So my challenge is to take my lunch to work and stay out of the cafeteria and sit in the sunshine!! I have made a batch of whole grain rolls up with some of my favourite freezable fillings and stuck them in the freezer. I have lots of nice fruit and salad veg and am taking them to work each day.

I'd love for you to join me, if work eating is driving you crazy too!
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:44 AM   #2  
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My office actually has a cafe with fairly decently healthy soups and salads. I just quit eating there because it's so damned expensive. I have been packing my lunch 4 days a week for about 2 months now (the fifth day I go out to lunch with a former coworker, usually at Qdoba where I get a healthy no tortilla vegetarian burrito).

I usually pack the following things everyday:

1 yogurt, sliced fruit for mid morning snack

Salad (spinach, grape tomatoes, sliced peppers, carrots, onions, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, little baggie of chicken that I microwave and put on the salad hot). Work has a refrigerator so I keep my dressing in the frig.

At 2, I get a non fat latte with my coworker nearly everyday. I have a pack of 120 calorie low fat biscottis that I sometimes have if I want something sweet.

fruit for an afternoon snack (cherries or mangos are my big thing right now)

cut up veggies

On Sundays, I cut up the fruit for yogurt (usually strawberries), make 4 salads, weigh/baggie up the chicken in 2 oz servings, cut up 5 days worth of veggies and bag them up. If necessary, I divvy the fruit up into 5 days worth of baggies (if I have to cut up watermelon or bag cherries). Then, I'm ready every morning, I just grab lunch on my way out the door!
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:27 AM   #3  
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The cafeteria at my school is free for teachers, and although the selection is small, it's generally low fat and there are no cakes. It's a bit carby, though. Small portions of chicken or fish, and bins of rice. There is a salad bar, but only low-fat dressings, which I try to avoid (too much sugar). I take protein bars and fruit for mid-afternoon breaks. If not, I'll eat junk when I get home.

We have a refrigerator, but I think it's really a science lab -- it's not cleaned out very often, and I'd be afraid to put anything in there. I'm interested in reading brown bag ideas, too. Glory's look great!
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:14 AM   #4  
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mmm i work in the NHS... no explanation required...
some things unrecognisable... even to the canteen staff... and a college of mine asked "is that vegie" yes was the reply (it was sheppards pie!)

i stick to a jacket spud + salad usually.. lol.. safest option!
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:30 AM   #5  
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At my job, I often have lunch meetings 3-4 days a week. Over the last year I went from eating lunch each time it was offered to trying to eat only the "healthy looking" ones to making a committment to bringing my lunch and eating it no matter what was being served. Although others think it's a little weird to give up free food, it was the best decision I ever made. When lunch is just brought to you from random places, you can't really know what is in the food, and you can easily be fooled. If you haven't brought your lunch, you have no alternative.

After a very short time of making a committment to always bring my lunch, I no longer even had a desire to look at/eat the provided food. Occasionally, if they had a plain salad, I would just add some fresh lettuce to my meal from home. The only work lunch I ate this year was the one at a luncheon that was planned for me, and I made sure that we could order off a menu (which I looked at beforehand). I ordered a turkey salad w/ ff italian dressing, and it was great.

Also, I haven't even gone to the cafeteria in over a year. I don't even know what they're serving these days.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:40 AM   #6  
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I am convinced that it was work that made me fat. In school, I ran competitively, walked to and from classes, etc. but now I sit at my desk most of the day. What's worse is that they feed us for free, so every day they have white-bread sandwiches and sodium-filled commercial soups and pizza and cookies (the cookies are the worst, they have white chocolate chunk macadamia and double chocolate every day). If people don't eat the free food, there's a variety of takeaway available, and if we are working late (always) we can bill takeaway to my employer.

Now I have got into the habit of bringing my lunch every day. A good way to remember to do this is to make an extra portion of whatever I had for dinner last night (my lunch and dinner tend to be the same sizes). So today I am bringing in baked ginger tilapia with brown rice and asparagus for lunch -- heck with the cookies!

It does get funny sometimes because I do eat some "weird" food. My co-workers are entertained by it, though I think they wonder why I don't eat the free stuff. I think I got some wrinkled noses with my tofu quinoa salad yesterday, but it was delicious.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:52 AM   #7  
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Originally Posted by iconoclast
baked ginger tilapia with brown rice and asparagus

tofu quinoa salad

Yes, corporate meals are difficult to turn down because they usually look great and they're free. I started a new job in December and started bringing my lunch every day (instead of getting into the bad habit of eating at work), and I think that has been a major key to weight loss for me.

I do the same thing ... I either bring dinner leftovers (planned-overs, actually), or I prepackage everything on Sunday afternoon.

I always keep a sweet potato at my desk, along with Ryvita crackers and Laughing Cow cheese, in case I forget my lunch one day.

I often will make some kind of "pasta" salad (I use a tiny quantity - no more than 30g of carbohydrates - of whole-wheat pasta, 1-2c of vegetables, 3oz protein, and dressing) and some fresh vegetables on the side. I've done Indian dishes (baingan bharta), teboulleh, chili, stew, etc.
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Old 07-11-2006, 10:21 AM   #8  
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WOW can I ever relate to this topic!
I'm on the road a lot for work. Plus I work in hospice. SO I often eat out because it's convient & second I eat when I need to relax or reduce stress. Bringing my lunch is so challenging because I may or may not be in the office. If I bring lunch it usually gets neglected or left in my car. Then there's the office goodies that magically appear at every meeting or sometimes treat baskets from our patient's families. Plus my employer provides free soda all day long, every day. UGH! I'm convinced I've gained minimally 20 lbs in the past three years because of work.
BUT that's the griping part and the realism is that I can make a choice and an effort to change. I'm a newbie to the sonoma diet and am trying to alter my eating habits to make me a healthier person.

Again, LOVED reading everyone else's thoughts on this topic!
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:46 PM   #9  
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I try to bring my lunch 4 days a week and probably succeed 80% of the time. (On Fridays, I get together with 2 GFs, and in our little town there are only 4 non-fast-food places, so I always know what I'm having.) I either bring leftovers or salad with some sort of protein. In addition, I bring a hard boiled egg for morning snack and cottage cheese and fruit for afternoons. Sometimes I have a ff latte - esp if I have to leave the building for a meeting - amazing how many places there are to get coffee!

Today for lunch I had a leftover salmon patty, plus a salad with fresh lettuce (a woman a church on Sunday was giving this away!), cut up yellow pepper and onions, plus avocado and a bit of blue cheese. And I'm just about to eat my cottage cheese with cantalope. Yum. I like to bring stuff for a large salad, and often I'll cut it up at work. (I work in a library, and there are only 5 of us FT, so no cafeteria, etc.) My favorite is to make a semi-Mexican salad. Lots of lettuce, and sometimes shredded cabbage, plus tomato, onion, avocado, peppers and for protein warmed up beans (the canned S&W seasoned ones are great for this). For a dressing I use ff sour cream and salsa. When you put it with the warm beans, it all gets runnier and coats the veggies nicely. Hmmm, must have this tomorrow!
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Old 07-12-2006, 04:11 AM   #10  
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OMG! I am glad this topic come about! I sooooooo suffer so badly at work! Infact I think I have put on about 20lbs since starting this job! (been there almost 8 months now!) I too sit in front my computer all day, get up and walk around only occasionally, but I desperatly need to bring my lunch to work and avoid the fast food game! We did buy some turkey and some salad so hopefully I can bring that in!

Anybody have some nice creative ideas for turkey? Its oven roasted turkey slices like for sandwiches, etc. from the deli. Thanks for all the yummy ideas above!

We can do it!
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:55 AM   #11  
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I'm so glad I'm not the only one. It's now Friday here and i have taken my lunch every day and have not ventured into the cafeteria. I hope that the 300 calories or so I am saving every other day (I was having cake/dessert about 3 days a week) will make a difference on the scales!
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:41 PM   #12  
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There are 4-5 huge cafeteria's in my university. the biggest one is very healthy (0 trand fat oils, fat free dressings...salads, fat free icecreams, yogurts, veggies, fruits raw and steamed etc...) I usually eat a nice big salad with very little fat free dressing. I also add fat free yogurt or v8 at times.

But I am always tempted to go to the other cafeterias which serves pizza's smoothies, pasta etc...

I should join in the lunch from home challenge!
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:43 PM   #13  
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It's hard for me to tote things that I like because most of them are better refridgerated (like yogurt).

I generally love sandwiches or wraps with tofu, tomato and spinach. I occasionally tag along a piece of bread with bruschetta (very little oil/dressing) and some cut up veggies and a few whole toasted almonds (my fav). If all else fails, cut up fruit for a sugar break and some decaf coffee.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:03 AM   #14  
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In the last two weeks and a bit weeks I've had 12 work days and taken lunch 11 times

I'm pleased that I seem to be getting better at this!
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