Monthly Archives: February 2014

Are You Packing a Sandwich?

I was running some errands last week and I knew I would be out shopping over the lunch hour.   I had basically three choices to consider.  I could wait and eat when I got home, grab a quick bite through a drive-thru or sandwich shop, or bring food.  I have coached many people who would not have thought twice about these options and would have headed out the door with the list of errands on their mind.  But packing a sandwich is not a novel idea.   The fourth Earl from Sandwich, John Montagu, was credited for the sandwich concept when he asked a servant for a piece of meat between 2 slices of bread avoiding an interruption of his poker game and getting grease on his playing cards.  Sandwiches can be taken anywhere and can be eaten while keeping your hands clean.

The Decision

Let’s look more closely at my choices.  I was heading out around 10 that morning and I knew that I would not get back until mid-afternoon.  I could have powered through the shopping but I knew I would be tempted by some of the chips and cheese cookies at Home Goods or come home starved and grab what ever came quickest like cheese and crackers or a can of nuts.  Not that either of those are a horrible choice but with an ounce of cheese containing 110 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat (almost half of my daily allotment of saturated fat) and a quarter cup of nuts having 200 calories, good fat or not, I’m going to be eating more than just a serving of either one when I’m that starving.

Knowing that my errands were going to take me by some of my favorite fast food restaurants where those crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, lightly salted morsels of french fries, were going to be wafting in the air as I drove by, I decided it would be best to pack my lunch.  At least keeping my hunger at bay, I was going to fortify my resistance to temptation.

A Sandwich, The Perfect Lunch

So what could I take that would be quick, nourishing and fulfilling?  lunchWhy a peanut butter sandwich, a fruit, and a seltzer water, of course!  I’m getting a perfect amount of protein, fiber, good fat and carbohydrates and not tempting myself with fries and diet sodas, and chips or crackers.  And I’m avoiding the huge food fest when I get home.   Eating a bunch of chips or crackers would be like putting a whole bunch of soft wood on my digestion fire causing a high quick burn, followed by smoldering embers of hunger two hours later.  Eating a burger and fries would be like putting a whole bunch of knotty soft wood that would pop, crackle, burn quickly and again just leave me smoldering with an unsettled stomach.  Not eating for 6 or 7 hours would be like not putting any wood on my digestion fire, leaving me with in the cold dark with no energy and pangs of hunger that would make me voracious when I got home.   Packing my sandwich and fruit would be like putting seasoned hard wood on my digestion fire, creating a nice slow burn, keeping my hunger satisfied and in control throughout my day of errands.

What’s In My Lunch

Teddy Label

Notice no sugar or trans fats in the list of ingredients!

Barwoski LabelThe USDA recommends for a 2000 calorie diet 25 grams of fiber, no more than 300 grams of carbohydrates, no more than 16 grams of saturated fat (no more than 7% of daily calories should come from saturated fat), and about .8 grams of protein per     kilogram of weight.   The key to avoiding a huge blood sugar spike with a crash later and to staying full is to eat protein, a good amount of fiber, some good fat and not too many carbohydrates at every meal.  A lunch should deliver about 1/4 to 1/3 of one’s total daily calories and should contain about 1/4 to 1/3 of the other recommendations for fiber, carbohydrates, protein and fat.  my lunchMy lunch (see chart at the right) of a peanut butter sandwich and a fruit comes close to meeting all these criteria.  The protein is less than 1/3 but fine for my weight and with the usual deck of cards recommendation of meat or fish at dinner I will get about 30 grams of protein at dinner with meat and fish delivering about 7 grams of protein per ounce.  This lunch takes 2 minutes to make, doesn’t need any refrigeration and doesn’t kill the budget.  It keeps me from temptation and overeating and it keeps my body’s furnace running smoothly and at peak performance.   It can also make a great breakfast.  Isn’t this the obvious choice out of the three choices?  What are you going to do on your next long day of errands?  Start packing your lunch or packing pounds, your choice!


Do You Have A Health 401k?

What is in your health 401k?  You might be making regular contributions to your work 401k to insure financial security for your retirement but what are you doing to invest in your health for your future? gold You can look at your 401k, see its performance and even estimate how many years of work you will need to work to secure a comfortable retirement.  But how do you look at your future and gauge your health?  Do you look at your health today and predict realistically what your health might look like when your retire?  Do you think about whether or not you will be able to walk a few miles without getting out of breath, carry your small grandchildren in your arms if they are tired, have enjoyable sex with your spouse or significant other, or even work in your yard with vim and vigor?  Do you consider whether your sedentary lifestyle today, compounded with your sports injuries and perhaps being overweight might plague you in your retirement years?  If you are already taking blood pressure or cholesterol pills, some pills for back or knee pain, a pill for heartburn and something to help your sex life, do you wonder how many more pills your might be taking later and at what cost both physically and financially?  Do you think it has to be this way or do you want to make changes today to invest in your health in your retirement years?

You do have a choice and your decision today, whether you are in your 20’s, or even 50’s can make a huge impact on your future health. Instead of letting your work, family and house demands dictate your entire day, take 30 minutes and do these three things today that will make huge deposits in your health 401k for the future.

Do These Three Deposits For Your Health 401k

1.  Eat a healthy breakfast.   We know that people who skip breakfast eat more calories over the day than those who eat breakfast.   Most people either skip breakfast or have cold cereal.  Most cold cereals lack adequate protein, have little fiber and healthy fat.  We know the key to fullness and energy is to have adequate lean protein, some good fats and a healthy amount of fiber in every meal.  The following are some great ideas for breakfast and can be packed quickly or kept in your office.

Breakfast Ideas That Will Grow Your Health 401k:


  • 1/2 cup dry old-fashioned oatmeal cooked with water, mixed with 2 tbsp of ground flax seed (super source of heart healthy omega 3′ and fiber) topped with two tablespoons low fat french vanilla Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt has more than twice the protein as regular yogurt), and 1 tbsp chopped walnuts.
  • Two slices of whole grain bread (first word in the list of ingredients should be the word “whole” or “100% whole”) toasted with 2 Tbsp all natural peanut butter like Teddy.
  • 2 scrambled eggs with 2 pieces of whole grain toast.  Keep your spread to 1 tsp per slice and try whipped butter to reduce the saturated fat.
  • 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese with 1 fruit and 1 muffin (try this almond muffin recipe)

2.  Bring lunch to work.  People who bring lunch to work are exposed to less temptation and can make healthier choices.  It also saves time to do number 3.

Lunch Ideas That Will Grow Your Health 401k:triscuits

  • Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread topped with lots of veggies and a fruit.  Keep the mayonnaise to 1 teaspoon.
  • One 6 oz low fat Greek yogurt, 12 almonds, 1 fruit, and a bag of cut up celery and carrots.
  • Whole grain crackers like 4 Grainsfirst or 15 Triscuits Thin Crisps, 1 low fat cheese stick, 1 fruit and small bag of chopped veggies with 2 tbsp of humus.  )Notice how these Triscuits only have three ingredients and made with whole grains).triscuit label
  • Large salad with variety of greens, cucumbers slices, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado, then tossed with 1 tbsp of oil and vinegar dressing.  Top with 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese or 3 oz of leftover meat.  Include one serving of fruit.

To save some time, cut up all your vegetables on the weekend for the week.  Buy pre-washed greens and prepackage your crackers.  Make extra meat sources on the weekend and slice the leftover chicken, salmon or steak to top on your salad or have in your sandwich.

 3.  Exercise for 20 minutes every day.  Exercise strengthens your heart, raises the heart healthy good cholesterol (HDL), reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL), strengthens your joints thereby reducing osteoarthritis pain, reduces stress, improves sleep, improves mood and burns calories.  No other pill can accomplish all of that.  The time you save by going out for lunch or buying your lunch can be spent going on a vigorous walk around your building.  Find some hills for some great interval exercise.

Get Great Dividends From These Deposits in Your Health 401k

Think of the impact on your self-talk when you reach the end of the day and you can say that you accomplished all these things.  Notice the impact on your energy level during those days that you eat a healthy breakfast, bring your lunch and exercise.  Notice whether or not you are tired or more alert two hours after you eat. Notice your self confidence at the end of the day.

We are a society of instant gratification. We take care of the demands of the day, neglecting our hunger signals and then over-feed them with restaurant food that delivers way too many calories in the form of carbohydrates and fat and not enough nutrients to nourish our body.  We come home tired and hungry causing us to make poor food choices, to overeat and snack on way to many unhealthy carbs in the evening when we least need it. Think of the impact of taking these three steps on your future.  these steps will bring the real gold to your golden years.  You might have wealth in your 401k, but what good is that if you do not have good health. Why not start your health 401k for your future today?