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NOURISH

Choose a lighter lunch

Grabbing a bite out has its perks: no kitchen clean up or having to wake up early to pack your lunch; however, there can be a lot of decisions to be made at the diner. Here are some tips to manage the menu.

Soups

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Cream-based soups are often heavy on the calories and high in artery-clogging saturated fat, even when veggies are the star such as cream of broccoli.

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Pick chili, especially vegetarian chili, as it's heartier enough to satisfy you and is lower in calories and fat. Another option is broth-based soups, like chicken and vegetable; however, even broth-based soups like minestrone or chicken noodle can be high in sodium.

TIP: 86 the bowl and opt for a cup of soup. Balance the rest of your lunch with choices like fresh fruits and veggies

Salads

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Many salads are disguised as healthy when they are actually high in calories, fat and sodium, such as a Cobb salad. With bacon, cheese and a creamy dressing, a Cobb salad isn't giving you the healthy lunch you may have hoped for. A Caesar salad can also pack a pretty big caloric punch with salty anchovies, parmesan cheese and croutons. Use caution with add-ons that tend to be higher in fat, calories and sodium such as cheese, bacon, nuts, seeds, creamy dressings and croutons.

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Don't be discouraged from salads! Salads can be a great choice when veggies and fruits are the star, so choose one with a rainbow of colors on your leafy greens: cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, pea pods or dried fruits.

TIP: Ask for dressing on the side; it's the best way to manage extra calories. Also, there is no harm in asking your server if you can add or remove a certain item to make it the meal you want.

Sandwiches

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While not entirely against a BLT, bacon is not a great source of protein and is high in sodium and saturated fat. The extra bread, cheese and mayo in sandwiches like a clubhouse can make your lunch a heavier meal than you intended. 

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Opt for whole grain bread or wraps and healthy fats, like avocado, instead of mayo. A turkey avocado wrap is a delicious option by sticking to the basics: skip the cheese and extra dressings. You can ask for those on the side and be in control of the amount you add. Keep in mind that just a little dressing or cheese can go a long way in the flavor department. 

TIP: The great thing about ordering sandwiches is that they typically come cut in half. Save time (and money) by taking the other half to go and enjoy it for tonight's dinner or tomorrow's lunch. 

As with most meal options when you're dining out, tailoring your menu selection is your best option for managing how many calories you consume. Making just a few simple changes in how you order can really add up and help keep those calories at bay.  

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