Alright, 'fess up. Are you having the same lunch that you've had almost every single day for the past year? If you are, you're by no means in a minority - according to a recent study, almost 70% of us end up having the same lunch despite the best of intentions.
Like make-up ruts, lunch ruts are caused by a lack of time and stress at work. And, it's easier to stick with what you know.
Seven in 10 people said that it was 'easy' to eat the same thing every day, and cost also plays a big part in lunching. At the more extreme end, 1% of the 2000 women polled took the same lunch every day for the past 25 years.
HuffPost UK Facebook fan Caroline Marshall revealed she has crisp bread, yogurt, cream cheese and fruit, while Frederick Robinson reveals: "At home, rather than the office (I'm retired) I usually cut a roll into two halves, spread houmous on them, then chicken, turkey, ham or similar with mustard, topping it all with either sliced tomatoes, pepper and chives, or cold sauerkraut. De-licious!"
But, with 71% of us take a packed lunch every day, there's no reason to get stuck in a lunch rut. Here are some dee-licious lunches from Twitter. There's no excuse for that limp BLT in the future...
This is proper traditional...
While this may be the most elegant lunch we've seen today:
Love the idea of steak for lunch...
But should probably stick with the couscous below.
Healthy ingredients to include in your lunch:
"There's no better iron-rich food," says David Grotto. "The liver gurus I've talked to recommend soaking it overnight in milk to break down some of the fibrous and protein tissues and take away that 'off' flavour. Maybe dredge it in cornmeal or flour and lightly pan-fry it, then pair it with grilled onions."
Beans: Helping The Train Leave The Station Since 200 BC
The musical fruit <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2009/October/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol" target="_hplink">soaks up cholesterol</a>, keeps <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/spotlight/diabetes/12-powerfoods.php" target="_hplink">blood sugar levels</a> stable, promotes heart health and "helps the train leave the station." (i.e., <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/fiber-health-benefits-11/fiber-digestion" target="_hplink">promotes regularity</a>.) Insoluble fiber <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12570825" target="_hplink">also produces</a> a short-chain fatty acid that may help fight off colon cancer, a leading <a href="http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-key-statistics" target="_hplink">cancer killer</a>. Your 2013 goal: a half-cup. "I am convinced that if everyone ate a half-cup of beans everyday, we'd have less obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer," Grotto says. Prevent gassiness by rinsing canned beans to eliminate the indigestible carbs that leak into the fluid. Then, try Grotto's slow-and-steady introduction technique: Add one tablespoon of beans to your favorite dish (omelets, salads, pasta, rice) every day for a week; the next week, up it to two spoons, eventually making your way to a half-cup -- or eight tablespoons -- a day. "Or just get a bunch of friends together to eat them because then, who cares if you're gassy?"
Chicken: The Sleepier White Meat
"A lot of people think the reason we get sleepy after a big Thanksgiving Day meal is because of the tryptophan," Grotto says, "but it's more about food and calorie overload." Then, as many of us recently experienced late last month after T-Day dinner, gorging late at night <a href="http://women.webmd.com/guide/insomnia-tips" target="_hplink">wrecks your sleep</a>, as a bursting stomach reduces restful REM sleep. A smarter option for those looking to nab some peaceful zzzs? Chicken has more melatonin -- a hormone that helps set your body clock -- per ounce than turkey, making it the sleepier white meat. (Other <a href="http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/blogs/vitamin-g/2011/05/afternoon-snack-these-melatoni.html" target="_hplink">melatonin-rich foods</a> include dried cherries, fish, lettuce, milk, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.) Grotto advises combining any of these with carbs, which produce the feel-food chemical serotonin that helps make you feel drowsy. If you're fresh out of chicken, try a bowl of cereal with skim milk topped with dried cherries and walnuts an hour before bedtime.
Coffee: Take Two Lattes And Call Me In The Morning
New research shows that your morning cuppa may <a href="http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20120607/coffee-may-help-turn-tide-on-alzheimers-disease" target="_hplink">help boost memory</a>. (The caffeine is thought to be at play, which means green tea and espresso may also help you remember where you put your keys.) Decaf coffee may also help manage <a href="http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food" target="_hplink">diabetes</a>, lower your risk of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/coffee-health-benefits_n_1064577.html#slide=440650" target="_hplink">depression</a> and ward off <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/coffee-health-benefits_n_1064577.html#slide=440651 " target="_hplink">skin cancer</a>. Hold on to your receipt for your <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-7-dollar-starbucks-finca-palmilera-20121128,0,7281217.story" target="_hplink">$7 Starbucks</a> Costa Rica Finca Palmilera and submit it to your health insurance company for possible reimbursement.
Concord Grapes: No Need To Wine
Pop these juicy morsels for little bursts of memory- and cognition-enhancing power. Just like wine, grape skins contain heart-healthy polyphenols like resveratrol which may help reduce inflammation, which is tied to arthritis, heart disease, memory loss, obesity and more. You can enjoy your nightly glass of wine or just steal some of your kid's Welch's.