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Brown-bagging for nutrition, economy and good taste

Apr. 14, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

The average grab-it-and-get-back-to-your-desk lunch packs more than 800 calories; 34 percent of folks chow down more than 1,000 calories! And that's before they pile on a sugary beverage or a sweet treat (any added sugar or sugar syrup is a no-no). That's a formula for poor performance at work, weight gain, heart disease and dementia -- just a partial list of the problems you set yourself up for if you aren't joining the brown-bag revolution. (Some food revolutionaries have figured they save $47,000 in 10 years by taking their lunch to work!)

When you take your lunch to work with you, remember: Eat away from your desk, and stop working! That stretches out mealtime, which lets your "I'm full" hormone, leptin, kick in so you don't overeat. Start with six walnut halves at your desk as a snack 30 minutes before lunch. Then, eat with friends: Social interaction reduces stress and boosts everything from your work performance to your immune strength -- and helps make your RealAge younger!

What to take? Pack a protein: The baked chicken nuggets recipe at RealAge.com is tasty; canned salmon delivers calcium plus omega-3s. Add in: 100 percent whole-grain carbs (quinoa, brown rice), veggies (steamed broccoli or salad with red pepper, carrots, a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar); and a midafternoon pick-me-up of nonfat, no-sugar-added Greek yogurt with fresh berries. Tip: Keep healthy frozen meals in a fridge at work for days you can't pack lunch. More great lunchtime ideas are at RealAge.com and DoctorOz.com.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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