Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eating smart in your work cafeteria

I got a late start this morning and didn't have time (or the energy) to pack a lunch. It's raining and unseasonably cold here in Baltimore, and my 2-year daughter decided to wake up at 5 a.m. In a sleepy daze, I grabbed some granola bars and orange juice for breakfast. But in the mad rush to leave the house on time, lunch didn't even cross my mind.

I lack the discipline to prepare my lunches the night before, so all too often I find myself wandering around the Greenspring Cafe, the Sinai Hospital cafeteria, looking for something affordable and (preferably) healthy to eat.

As the Washington Post's The Checkup blog points out in today's posting, "In-house cafeterias aren't always bastions of healthful dining." Nancy Szokan toured The Post's cafeteria with a dietitian and offers several tips for selecting a healthy meal in such settings.

Here at the Greenspring Cafe, flat screen monitors display calorie, fat and other nutritional information for hot foods served each day. There's a standard salad bar, a sushi bar, and some stations offer healthy alternatives on select days (eg, the pizza stand will offer whole wheat crusts).

And on Thursday, April 23, the Greenspring Cafe will debut a new Light and Fit bar, where every meal will be 400 calories or less. The initial menu will feature vegetarian lentil stuffed peppers, polynesian chicken over brown rice, mahi mahi vera cruz, and a mixed berry crumb dessert.

Of course, the granola bars didn't fill me up today, and the dreary conditions outside have left me wanting comfort food - it's going to be hard to resist the cheeseburger and fries.

What are you having for lunch today? How much thought do you put into planning lunches?

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