If you don’t have time to wait in line and aren’t ready to sacrifice your waistline to help your wallet, the deli offers the best of both worlds. Low-calorie meals at an excellent cost are not a thing of your imagination:
Here are some things to look for:
If you’re big on sandwiches, your deli offers two options: freshly cut meat or that pre-packaged stuff. While pre-packaged meat is more convenient than waiting in line, freshly cut deli meat isn’t loaded down in preservatives and sodium. Instead of bloating, wait it out: your waistline will thank you.
The first step, as any nutritionist will tell you, is portion control. For sandwiches, it’s about the size of your palm: save the rest for later. Opt for whole-wheat bread and only one slice of cheese to cut back, and feel free to double-up on veggies. Lean meats like chicken and roast beef are best for you, and provide a healthy boost of protein. However, be careful what you’re topping it off with: mayonnaise contains 60 calories in one tablespoon. Mustard and vinegar are better for you, and taste great, too.
Soups are another great option: filling, nutritious, and delicious! Broth-based soups are the best for you, so think about any containing poultry, veggies, soy, or wheat products. Noodle-based soups are higher in calories: 245 calories for chowder compared to 160 for chicken and barley. A healthy portion for soup is one cup, or about eight ounces.
A popular option for calorie-counters is a healthy salad. Leafy-based salads loaded with vegetables are good for you, and the best part is that you can have as much as you want without worrying about calories! Two cups of a spinach-based salad with extra veggie helpings weighs in at right around 30 calories. But shy away from those heavy dressings: one tablespoon of Ranch is 73 calories by itself. Instead, try dressings that are vinegar-based, or simply top your greens with a little black pepper.
Fruit is nature’s candy: full of healthy vitamins and natural sugar, they’re a perfect lunch-time treat. A platter of plain fruit is a calorie-conscious meal choice, but skip out on those sugary dips: two tablespoons of cream cheese dip is 70 calories, more than two medium-sized plums! The natural sweetness will be a perfect boost to get you through the post-lunch slump, so stock up!
If you’re more of a lunch-time snacker, cheese and crackers provides that satisfying crunch without the commitment of a meal. While you may need to pack your own whole-grain crackers, your deli will have a wide selection of cracker-toppers. Reduced-fat cheese, vegetables, fruits, and hummus (or other low-cal spreads) are healthy options that won’t break the bank.
While what’s on your plate is important, so is what’s in your cup. Juice is a relatively safe option, if you’re choosing 100% juice and not those sugar-filled concoctions (which can weigh in at over 100 calories per glass!) Unsweetened teas provide a super low-calorie drink and can be flavored with lemons or cucumber slices. If you’re craving a little carbonation, try carbonated water for that burst of bubble without the calories. Of course, water is always the best option.
Slimming down your body shouldn’t shrink your bank account: knowing what foods benefit both are your best option this spring. Visit your local deli to stock up on healthy lunch options and save yourself time and worry!
Homeland Stores is a grocery chain that offers a wide variety of nutritious, freshly prepared and highly affordable deli food in Oklahoma and Kansas. For more information, visit http://www.homelandstores.com/