Posted August 26, 2017

By Regina Boyle Wheeler

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The choices you make during your lunch hour can make -- or break -- your "bottom" line. Picking smart carb and calorie options will help keep your weight loss efforts on track.

First, ditch the soda. It contains a lot of sugar without providing any nutrients, says Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant. A 20-ounce bottle has more than 220 carb-laden calories while water has none. Kick your H2O up a notch with a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you're a fan of flavored bottled water, be sure to pick a sugar-free brand -- or else you could be drinking your calories instead of eating them.

Brown bag it at least three days a week so you can better control sugar, salt and fat intake. Cut down on the carbs in bread by having turkey or tuna on open-faced sandwiches or tucked into lettuce roll-ups.

Pack pre-cut fruit and veggies as your sides. A whole bell pepper, cut into strips, will save you almost 120 calories over a one-ounce bag of chips, not to mention all the nutrients you'll be getting in the veggies. A half-cup of pineapple instead of three small cookies cuts your dessert calories in half without missing out on a sweet finish.

Another advantage to packing fruits and vegetables is that they're loaded with water and fiber. So, you'll feel fuller longer. And that means a lunch that will help keep you satisfied throughout the afternoon on far fewer calories.

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