Lunchbox

Mark Watson, 27, IT consultant, ate a pork escalope with boiled potatoes, courgettes, carrots and brocolli, a small portion of tortellini in cream sauce, an apple and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice
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The Independent Culture
"I have lunch at the canteen where I work. There are always loads of choices and you can help yourself to as much or as little as you want," says Mark. "Today, the pasta dish looked so nice I ended up having a couple of spoonfuls as well as potatoes."

According to Juliette Kellow, a state registered dietician and deputy editor of Slimming magazine, such a meal contains 730 calories. Of these, 38 per cent come from carbohydrate, 35 per cent from protein and 27 per cent from fat, of which 12 per cent are saturates.

"All in all, this lunch is reasonably well balanced. Fat intakes are well within healthy eating guidelines which recommend no more than one third of our calories should come from it," says Juliette. "This meal is also packed with a wide range of nutrients, including most vitamins and iron."

Most people should aim to have five servings of fruit and veg each day and this meal is a good example of how this can be achieved. Typical serving sizes include one whole piece of fruit (such as an apple or pear), a small glass of fruit juice, a large salad or two large spoonfuls of vegetables.

As well as providing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables are good sources of fibre, especially if they are eaten with their skins, if appropriate. As well as helping to keep the bowel healthy and preventing constipation, a good intake of fibre can also help to control our appetites. This is because fibre-rich foods are very filling and stop us from feeling hungry, especially between meals. So we're far less likely to snack on fatty and sugary snacks if we fill up on fibre-rich foods at mealtimes.

If you're looking for healthy options on a canteen menu, good choices include soup (preferable not the creamy ones), salads without oily dressings or mayonnaise, sandwiches filled with lean meat, chicken, tuna, egg or prawns (without mayonnaise) and jacket potatoes with low-fat toppings such as cottage cheese or baked beans.

To keep fat intake down, it's a good idea to stay away from pastry products such as pies, pastries, flans and quiches. Meals served with rich, creamy or cheesy sauces such as cauliflower cheese, macaroni cheese or chicken supreme are also likely to be high in fat - instead, choose dishes with tomato-based sauces. Boiled or jacket potatoes offer a good low-fat alternative to chips. All in all, Mark made some sensible choices from the menu."

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