If you're trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, reducing your sugar intake is a good way to start. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, you'll also want to eat a healthy diet, cutting back on added sugars at mealtimes. For lunch, there are numerous healthy and sugar-free food combinations from which you can choose. Check food labels whenever possible because added sugar is an unexpected ingredient in many prepared foods.
Sandwiches and Wraps
Enjoy sandwiches featuring ingredients that have no added sugar. Tuna, which is low in calories but high in protein, is a healthy choice. Mix canned tuna with lemon juice and herbs, instead of the customary mayonnaise. Make healthy and nutritious egg salad sandwiches using egg whites only and light mayonnaise. Avoid breads that are made with high-fructose corn syrup or other sugars, and go with whole-grain versions for the best nutrition. Instead of bread, wrap ingredients in a whole wheat tortilla or lettuce leaf.
A salad with dark, leafy green vegetables is a sugar-free lunch choice, as long as you avoid store-bought dressings that contain sugar. Romaine lettuce is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Add your favorite vegetables, such as carrots, onions, tomatoes and peppers. To increase your protein, add cooked tofu, turkey, chicken, shredded low-fat cheese, seeds or chopped nuts. Make your own salad dressing by mixing balsamic vinegar and olive oil and avoid sugar-laden commercial brands.
Soups are a good option for a hearty, delicious and nutritious lunch. Make your soup at home so you can control the amount of sugar, sodium and calories -- and add plenty of fresh vegetables. For a filling soup, add legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils or black beans. These ingredients are high in fiber, helping you to feel fuller longer and less likely to munch on sugary snacks later in the day. For healthier soups, choose vegetable broth selections over creamy soups.
Desserts, Beverages and a Little Something on the Side
If you enjoy something sweet after lunch, treat yourself to a sugar-free gelatin snack that is low in calories. Puddings and ice pops are also available in sugar-free versions. A handful of dry-roasted or raw nuts or seeds can complement your lunch without adding any sugar. Ensure that you drink water along with your lunch. If you prefer another beverage, try natural fruit juices that contain no sugar.
- Vanderbillt University; The Sugarbuster Diet; Elizabeth Hauser
- What's Cooking America: Lettuce Wraps
- Colorado State University; Health Benefits and Safe Handling of Salad Greens; M. Bunning and P. Kendall
- Fruits and Veggies Matter: Vegetable of the Month: Beans
- Joslin Diabetes Center: What is Pre-diabetes?