With a busy lifestyle, it's easy for your weekday lunch to become a second thought. So when the clock strikes noon and the stomach growls, many just run around the corner to grab the most convenient meal. But that habit's more expensive and actually more unhealthy, according to the Huffington Post.
Less than 20% of Americans actually take a lunch break away from their desks and 39% just eat at their desks, according to the Washington Post. "If we're hungry, we're pressed for time and then we start responding a lot more to how the food tastes and how convenient it is and we think a lot less about how healthy it is," behavioral economist David Just told the Huffington Post. "We think only about the short term goals."
Many of us fail to realize that eating a nutritious lunch will actually improve the rest of our workday performance, according to the Washington Post. Think avocados, whole grains and fish, according to Fast Company. And in turn, avoid these healthy-sounding lunch foods that aren't all that good for you:
Thought of as the healthier portable cousin to a sandwich, the wrap can carry as many calories as a personal pan pizza, according to Vice. Often, wraps are more processed and less nutritious than actual fiber-packed bread, according to GQ Magazine.
2. Bottled salad dressings
It may be advertised as low-fat or fat-free, but many bottled salad dressings are packed with sugars and other ingredients, while lacking in nutrients, according to Marie Claire. A study found that those eating full-fat salad dressing absorbed double the amount of nutrients from the greens and tomatoes than those who decorated their salad with reduced-fat dressing. Full-fat all the way.
3. Tuna or chicken salad sandwiches
Tuna and chicken salad sandwiches are lunch stapes, and while tuna and chicken are fundamentally healthy, being coated in mayonnaise nullifies that. Instead, make your own healthier version by using avocado, greek yogurt or hummus as your base.
4. Pre-made salads
Unfortunately, not all salads are healthy. Many prepared salads are packed with hidden fats and calories due to heavy dressing, croutons and cheese, according to Cooking Light. Make your own instead and control the ingredients.
5. Sushi rolls
Fresh fish and rice can be a healthy choice, but eating those rolls fried or mixed with mayonnaise or cream cheese can end up more calorie-heavy than intended. Instead, opt for brown rice, add avocado and think about veggie rolls instead of just fish, according to the New York Daily News.
6. Prepared soups
Canned and even prepared soups from delis seem like a light choice for lunch but are often heavy in blood pressure-raising sodium, starch and cream. Instead, make soup at home in large batches. Then freeze and reheat throughout the week.
7. Veggie burgers
Touted as healthy because of the word "veggie," most veggie burgers are processed and empty in nutrients, according to Greatist. Be cautious when thinking of a non-beef burger by checking that its ingredients are real vegetables and whole grains.