Trends in the Dieting Industry: Desktop Dining Made Simple


Chances are you're not the only one in your office glued to your chair during lunch so you can multitask while you munch. As many as two-thirds of workers eat lunch on the job more than once a week, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods, which makes more than 35 brands of packaged foods. The practice has its perks: Not only do you save time when you dine at your desk, but preparing your own lunch is also the best way to stay in control of what (and how much) you eat, says Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, associate professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. Not to mention the fact that you can save a few bucks—and splurge on a special lunch later.

Here's the quandary, though: How do you grab healthful choices that go beyond the sorry frozen chicken piccata but that won't require a lot of work in advance? Assembling a "kit" of supplies to keep at your office will give you a veritable grocery store of options and allow you to throw together a delicious meal at a moment's notice.

With a collection like the one we suggest below, lunch can still be a walk in the park even if you never leave the building. Use your imagination to mix and match ingredients, or try these combinations.

1. Steep rice noodles in hot water, and add julienned carrots, peas, or your favorite veggie. Cube prepackaged flavored and baked tofu; then toss all three together for an Asian treat.

2. Top a baked potato with some Fontina cheese, black beans, turkey breast, and corn.

3. Combine black beans, shredded Cheddar cheese, and salsa in a whole-wheat tortilla. Fold in half and microwave for about 40 seconds.

4. Dress up a frozen burrito with salsa.

5. Add pizazz to a salad with chickpeas or natural chicken nuggets.

And here's another dash of inspiration to bring your own healthy lunch to work: the Workplace dish set from Vessel ($49, pictured above), our favorite new alternative to plastic forks and desktop crumbs, which makes dining at your desk nice, neat, and stylish. Its generously sized placemat—about 2 feet long and 8 inches wide—doubles as a holder for the set. And inside youll find a retro-inspired plate, bowl, and cup large enough for chicken-noodle soup or your favorite winter warmer. The melamine dishes come with stainless-steel cutlery, and the whole kit is dishwasher-safe. The set cant replace plastic storage containers, though, because its not seal-able. But with this much style, were willing to bet youll be packing a (healthy) lunch much more often this year.
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