LIVING

Healthy Lunch Ideas: 6 Easy Swaps You Can Make

06/11/2013 02:57 EDT | Updated 07/31/2013 11:37 EDT
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Despite your best efforts, some of your everyday go-to lunches may not be the healthiest option. And if you're watching your weight, the same old sushi or homemade sandwich aren't necessarily going to cut it.

"Because of the cheap ingredients used in fast foods, the price of a head of kale at the grocery store is the same price as a whole meal at a burger chain,"says personal trainer and holistic nutrition coach Ange Peters of Hol-Fit.com, based in London, Ont. "What's important to realize is you will always pay the price for cheap food through the cost of expensive health care and reduced quality of life down the road.

If you're worried about putting a dent in your pocket, Peters says even through superfoods are pricier, Goji berries and chia seeds don't necessarily have to be everyday foods.

"Those [superfoods] are just nice to have foods and not necessary for living a healthy lifestyle," she says. "There are wonderful options that are definitely super foods that nature has provided us such as avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas and eggs."

We challenged Peters to come up with a healthy lunch swap list readers can make for under $10. In the gallery below, Peters list common lunches like Cesar salad and soups and offers healthier alternatives.

"An effective meal plan would need to be in place that would have you making meals in batches and utilizing leftovers for efficiency in the kitchen and no waste."

LOOK — 6 easy healthy lunch swaps:

Healthy Lunch Substitutes

THE LUNCH: Salads

Skip the Caesar salad salad topped with Parmesan cheese and white bread or croutons.

THE LUNCH: Salads

Instead, try replacing lettuce with arugula or kale mixed with avocado, veggies and dressing with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper, says personal trainer and holistic nutrition coach Ange Peters of Hol-Fit.com, based in London, Ont.

THE LUNCH: Sushi

Sushi isn't as "unhealthy" as most fried fast foods, but you may want to avoid eating white rice on a regular basis if you're looking for something healthy.

THE LUNCH: Sushi

If you're a sushi lover, try sushi with brown rice or a nori wrap minus the rice, Peters says.

THE LUNCH: Soups

Still relying on packaged noodles for lunch? It's time to move on.

THE LUNCH: Soups

Try puree soups that aren't cream based or opt for a homemade soup instead of packaged or canned ones.

THE LUNCH: Sandwich/Sub

Submarines and sandwiches can hold a lot of hidden sodium and calories. The large veggie delux sub from Quiznos, for example, has over 1,000 calories and 54 grams of fat. Yikes!

THE LUNCH: Sandwich/Sub

Go for flat bread instead, Peters says. "Or put the sub ingredients on top of a bed of greens".

THE LUNCH: Rice Dishes

If you love Indian or Chinese food during lunch, you may want to reconsider your rice option.

THE LUNCH: Rice Dishes

You may not be able to find this replacement at most fast food joints, but if you're bringing lunch from home, try replacing your white rice with quinoa.

THE LUNCH: Burrito

Burritos are an easy go-to lunch because their simple, packed and easy to carry around.

THE LUNCH: Burrito

But if you're looking for a healthier alternative, try having your burrito as a bowl, over a salad or on a plate without any sauces.