5 Ways Your Lunch Is Making You Fat

5 Ways Your Lunch Is Making You Fat

Find out how your lunch may be contributing to weight gain. 

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By Taylor Lupo

You may think you’re making smart choices at lunchtime, but some so-called “healthy” lunches could be contributing to unwanted weight gain. Avoid these calorie bombs, and learn effortless ways to pack your lunch without packing on pounds.

Check out ways your breakfast may be causing weight gain, too.

Sugar-Laden Energy Bars

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A busy schedule can make finding time to prep and pack a well-balanced lunch a real struggle. But grabbing an energy bar on your way out the door may be doing your body a disservice. Packaged energy bars are often high in fat and loaded with quick-burning sugar in the form of brown rice syrup or other additives. And they pack a high-calorie punch for such a small wrapper. One two-ounce bar by a popular brand contains almost 200 calories.   

Instead, make your own granola using almonds, chia seeds and ground cinnamon for an easy, on-the-go snack. Pair this fiber-rich and delightfully crunchy nibble with a piece of fruit and a protein source, like non-fat plain Greek yogurt, for a quick and easy lunchtime options that won’t tack inches on your waistline. 

Carb-Heavy Sandwich Wraps

3 / 6 Carb-Heavy Sandwich Wraps

Surprise: many brands of sandwich wraps contain more fat, calories and sodium than two slices of whole grain bread! A typical sandwich wrap contains more than 200 calories, five grams of fat and a whopping 580 milligrams of sodium. Don’t be fooled by the whole wheat and spinach wrap options, either—they’re often just as bad for your waistline.

You don’t have to swear off sandwiches as a lunchtime option, just make smarter choices. Opt for whole grain bread, with about 70 calories a slice, or lettuce wraps, which contain fewer than five calories per leaf. If a wrap is what you’re really craving, munch away, just choose a smaller wraps and check the caloric content.

Calorie-Dense Avocado

4 / 6 Calorie-Dense Avocado

Avocados are high in antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats, making them a great addition to yours salads, sandwiches, smoothies and more. If you’re looking to lose weight however, the fat and calorie content of this green fruit might not be best suited for whittling your waist.

In moderation, avocados are super healthy, but it can be easy to overindulge. A proper serving is smaller than you think—about one-fifth of a medium fruit. One avocado contains more than 300 calories, so eating much more than the recommended serving can add hundreds to your daily intake.

Unhealthy Salad Additions

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Eating a salad for lunch is an easy way to get your daily dose of veggies, but if you’re topping your greens with high-fat and high-calorie ingredients, it may not be so healthy after all. Salad saboteurs like cheese, bacon and croutons are high in saturated fats, which can lead to high cholesterol.

High cholesterol levels can up your risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death among American adults. Not to mention, these ingredients are jam packed with calories—almost 60 in a half-cup serving of croutons and 41 in a single slice of pork bacon.  

To build a better salad, opt for crisp, dark greens topped with nutrient-dense veggies like broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts. Next, toss in three ounces of lean protein, like chicken breast, garbonzo beans or tofu. Ditch the creamy salad dressings, too, and try making your own vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine vinegar, thyme and black pepper.

High-Calorie Tuna Salad

6 / 6 High-Calorie Tuna Salad

Chunk light tuna is high in protein and omega 3s, so it tops the list of healthy lunchtime options—unless it’s smothered in mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is notoriously high in fat, and easy to overdo.

Most tuna salads contain far more mayonnaise than the recommended serving of one teaspoon. Even a tablespoon contains more fat and calories than you should be adding to your afternoon meal. A single spoonful of the creamy stuff contains 100 calories and 11 grams of fat.   

Lose the excess fat by keeping your tuna salad simple: put plain tuna over a bed of lettuce or mix it with plain non-fat Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is creamy, high in protein and contains those good-for-your-gut probiotics.

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