Women Diets: Healthy Lunchbox Makeovers
Think what's in your brown bag would pass muster with a professional nutritionist? You might be surprised to learn how poor your diet really is
The "Victim": Jess A. -- Project ManagerThe meal: Eat Right Macaroni and Cheese Frozen Meal, 1/2 cup of watermelon, 1/2 cup of mango, 1/2 cup of sugar snap peas, 2 Girl Scout cookies, 100 Calorie pack popcorn, nonfat blueberry yogurt, 1 whole tomato
Kimberly Snyder's assessment: "First of all, there are so many different foods in this lunch that it is mind-boggling (and definitely belly-boggling). Indiscriminately eating so many different kinds of food groups at once takes an enormous amount of work to digest.
My first piece of advice to Jess is simplify her meal into fewer food groups. A salad with different veggies in it is one thing, as the veggies digest easily and well, but here, there are a few different kinds of dairy (the cheese in the mac and cheese and yogurt), two different kinds of fruit, various forms of starches (in the cookies and popcorn), and a few veggies thrown in there (though none of them are dark, leafy veggies, which would be nice).
To be blunt, the "Eat Right Macaroni and Cheese Frozen Meal" should be called "Eat Wrong." Frozen mac and cheese contains three top inflammatory, allergenic foods: gluten, in the form of the flour for the macaroni, dairy, in the cheese, and most likely various forms of corn, in the form of corn starch, tapioca starch or one of the dozens of other aliases corn goes by.
On to the yogurt. To me, nonfat yogurt screams artificial and problematic sweeteners, and when I checked ingredient lists online I saw such products containing fructose and sucralose. Fructose has been shown to encourage weight gain in lab studies, and sucralose may be linked to numerous toxicity and health issues. I recommend never, ever putting either in your body. We need to avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague.
Then we get to the (seemingly healthy) fruit. The problem? Fruit shouldn't be mixed with the other foods, it should come at least 30 minutes before or 45 minutes after. Fruit digests very quickly in the stomach (around 25 minutes), and if we mix it with heavier foods which take a few hours to digest, it gets backed up in our system like a traffic jam and can ferment, leading to bloating and other issues, so it essentially rots before we can assimilate all of its nutrients."
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