Spring has sprung, which means a summer filled with activities, hikes, picnics, and trips to the nearest body of water are just around the corner. And I know that personally, if I’m going to eat healthy through all of my summer escapades, I have to bring my food with me.
As someone with celiac disease, eating basically anything I haven’t personally prepared is risky, and Gary just feels better when we take our own food. So the question is, what’s the easiest thing to take. Sandwiches might be the first thing you think of, but while convenient, you need to keep in mind that a sandwich might not be the best choice.
Instead of a sandwich, you might want to think wrap. A wrap can be just as versatile as a sandwich, and often a lot easier to pack and eat. Whether you go with wheat, corn, rice, spinach, or any other tortilla, the concept is basically the same AND you are saving yourself from the unnecessary carbohydrates and a ton of starch from the bread.
To make your wrap healthy ultimately depends on what you put IN it. Let me start by saying that your typical grocery store lunchmeat or processed deli meat is not a healthy choice. Why? Because most lunchmeats share one common ingredient that can have devastating effects on your health – sodium nitrite/nitrate.
As a food additive, sodium nitrite (also beware of sodium nitrate) serves a dual purpose – it both alters the color of preserved fish and meats AND prevents the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. While sodium nitrite prevents the growth of bacteria, it is also toxic for mammals. Recent studies have found a link between high processed meat consumption and colon cancer, and the evidence doesn’t stop there, a recent study shows a 67% increase in pancreatic cancer for people consuming moderate amounts of processed meat on a frequent basis.
Sodium nitrite can be highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system and can wreak havoc on a number of internal organs, particularly the liver and pancreas. But despite all of the evidence, sodium nitrite can still be found in every packaged meat product you can imagine, bacon, sausage, beef jerky, pepperoni, lunchmeat, ham, hot dogs, and even meat products found in canned soups.
So if your typical lunchmeat or processed deli meat is out, what are some viable alternatives? Well, with wraps, thankfully the sky is the limit, so get creative! Maybe a little leftover chicken from last night’s dinner could turn into a healthy chicken salad, or roast beef, or really any meat that you buy fresh and cook at home. Other alternatives could include organic or raw cheese with fruits or veggies; or a nice quinoa salad; and I’ve even used leftover stir fry. In my opinion, when it comes to building the ultimate wrap to take along, you can add anything that you know would be good for you, wrap it up and get going.
And as far as the remainder of your adventure lunch goes – grab some organic fruits and veggies, maybe some yogurt or string cheese, natural chips or crackers, and any other clean, healthy snacks and treats you might have lying around.
Trust me, if you can take 10 minutes to put together healthy food options BEFORE you head out on your next adventure, you will feel better and probably even enjoy the trip a whole lot more. So pack your lunch and ENJOY your summer!