You never know where he’s going to pop up next. This week, TOC’s Healthy Carrot checked on the employee lunches at AARP (222 N LaSalle St, 312-372-2277), while we asked Toby Smithson, a registered Lake County Health Department community dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman, to give us the skinny on how healthy they are.
Nancy Nelson, advocacy manager
Subway seafood sub and Diet Coke
Expert says While fats and oils are part of a healthful diet, the type and amount of fat we consume is also important. Thanks to the mayo base in Nelson’s crab-salad sandwich, there’s too much saturated fat, which increases her risk of heart disease. Her meal contained some fiber (6 grams) but could be a little higher in order to meet the 25–30 grams per day recommended for women. Adding a piece of fresh fruit like an apple or pear would increase Nelson’s fiber intake by about four grams.
David Irwin, director of communications
Chipotle chicken burrito
Expert says The average male needs about 100 grams of protein, so Irwin pretty much nailed it with 40 grams in his lunch. That’s good because protein helps to repair and maintain all your body tissues. Just don’t overdo it; when adding up the protein you’ve consumed, remember there’s a small amount of protein in cereal, breads, grains and vegetables as well as your lean meats, fish, dairy products, nuts and seeds.
Heather Underwood, program coordinator
Lean Cuisine chicken and vegetable entrée, yogurt, 100-calorie pack of crackers, fruit and water
Expert says Underwood’s meal logs an ideal amount of calories, fat, fiber and protein. While it’s a bit high in carbs—with nearly 30 grams’ worth coming from the frozen entrée along with the yogurt, fruit and crackers—Underwood chose nutrient-rich carbs, rather than empty carbs from foods such as chips and cookies.
Cachet Griffin, program assistant
Homemade side salad with tomatoes, carrots and ranch dressing; turkey sandwich and water
Expert says Griffin’s meal showed good results for nutrition value. Her trouble area is the sodium content—too much can cause high blood pressure—which is high due to the processed, store-bought deli meat in her sandwich. If she uses fresh turkey, this would cut down on the sodium level tremendously.
Paula Sitar, senior operations administrator
Yogurt parfait of low-fat vanilla yogurt with blueberries, strawberries and low-fat granola, and a bottle of Propel
Expert says Sitar’s meal was the lowest in calories, fat, fiber and protein. But Smithson warns it’s too scant in calories and nutrients to be healthy. She suggests adding some protein (lean beef, chicken, fish or low-fat cheese) and at least one serving of veggies so Sitar is not ravenous by midafternoon.