Critique my lunch
November 7, 2007 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Is cashews + raisins a good long-term lunch strategy?

I'm trying to cut back on calories, with some success (porridge for breakfast has been my main weapon). Recently I've taken to having about 100g of mixed raisins and cashews for lunch, because it tastes nice and is portable. The information on the packet tells me that this gives me about 400 calories, which I factor in to my daily intake.

If I had these every day for lunch, would I be harming myself? I probably need to factor in some fresh fruit and veg in breakfast and/or lunch (plenty of those with dinner). Other than that, might I have found my ideal lunch?
posted by altolinguistic to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You may want to consider something else. Cashews are, even for nuts, relatively high in fat. Almonds might make a better choice.

Maybe a handful of almonds and an apple might be better.
posted by rachelpapers at 4:37 AM on November 7, 2007


Don't you want something starchy, too? Just raisins would cause me to have a blood sugar crash...
posted by Coventry at 5:10 AM on November 7, 2007


We can argue what the proper level of protein is, but I'm pretty sure that your lunch falls short of whetever number we would settle on. If you eat equal (caloric) amounts of each, you're getting only 5% of your calories from protein.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:30 AM on November 7, 2007


If you're not vegetarian, you might consider a can of tuna, drained, perhaps on bread (tastes excellent on potato bread). That will get you to about 300 calories. Throw in an apple - which will also stave off the post-lunch sleepies - and you're still at 400cal, but a much more balanced meal.
posted by notsnot at 5:39 AM on November 7, 2007


Honestly, if you're watching calories, basing an entire meal on nuts seems really counterproductive. Yes they are delicious and nutritious, but they're very dense in terms of calories. I've recently successfully been losing weight, and making sure that I have variety in my lunches as well as stuff that has a bit of volume has really helped me to avoid being starving come dinnertime.

Portable should not be a problem - get yourself a nice insulated lunch bag and you are good to go with sandwiches, leftovers, whatever floats your boat.

A sandwich with a good amount of protein & whole grains, a piece of fruit or a baggie of raw veggies, and a container of yogurt (you can freeze it the night before if you are concerned about it spoiling), would make a very balanced and filling lunch.
posted by tastybrains at 5:59 AM on November 7, 2007


No, a lunch of cashews and raisins won't harm you if you are otherwise eating a balanced diet.

It's going to get pretty boring, though, and if you're buying pre-packaged, you're wasting a lot of money on the packaging.
posted by desuetude at 6:28 AM on November 7, 2007


Response by poster: I take the point about getting more protein - but as it's not saturated fat, and I am controlling the calorie intake, is it a problem that they are high in fat?
posted by altolinguistic at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2007


My problem with cashews and raisins would be portion control. I can easily eat a pound of each at one sitting.
posted by Bruce H. at 7:48 AM on November 7, 2007


I once would have suggested tuna as well. However, one 8-oz can of tuna has about 2x as much protein as your body can metabolize in one sitting, and more importantly, has roughly your weekly limit of mercury.

Don't overdo it on the tuna.
posted by adamrice at 8:01 AM on November 7, 2007


According to this deleted MeFi post from yesterday, almonds and apricots would be a better choice if you want to go the fruit and nut route...

http://www.metafilter.com/66251/Top-10-healthy-snacks
posted by odi.et.amo at 8:15 AM on November 7, 2007


but as it's not saturated fat, and I am controlling the calorie intake, is it a problem that they are high in fat?

Fat in itself is not evil and is necessary for processing many vitamins/nutrients, plus it helps satiety levels. However, fat has 9 calories per gram whereas protein & carbs each have 4 calories per gram. Because of this, when you are watching calories, you should try and limit your fat intake to an extent.

Cashews have a lot of fat in them, so while a small handful a day wouldn't be terrible, I don't think it is wise to make them the focus of your meal.

Also, raisins, being dried fruit, are also not really good from a calorie-restriction standpoint. Each raisin was at one point a grape, and think about the size of a grape compared to a raisin and how much more filling 30 grapes would be compared to 30 raisins.

Dried fruit is usually fairly high in calories because it's dehydrated and smaller and people tend to eat more. Dried apricots are a great example - normally you might eat 2-3 apricots fresh. But dried apricots? It's not hard to polish off 10 or so without even thinking about it.

I also think dried fruit is too high in sugar to base a meal on. Instead I would substitute a piece of fresh fruit with your lunch - it's more filling & lower in calories.
posted by tastybrains at 8:21 AM on November 7, 2007


My long-term weight loss strategy has been to eat a can of low-sodium soup (typically a chicken and vegetable kind of thing and not a high-fat soup like a chowder) and a banana for lunch. Round about 400 calories, very filling, and reasonably balanced, nutritionally. Not a ton of protein in there, but I make up for it at dinner. My 'watching my weight' diet is not balanced for an active exercise regime, however.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 8:40 AM on November 7, 2007


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