When I'm not being lazy, I take lunch to work. I was lazy for a long time, and I put on a lot of weight. I didn't make the connection simply because my body's default is to gain weight regardless of what's going on. Weekend off? Weight gain. Working seven days in a row? Weight gain. Visiting relatives, taking the animals to the vet for boosters, reading about food ... yep. Weight gain. I even gain weight when I start a new workout regimen. For real. (There's actually an explanation for that--I put on muscle much faster than I lose fat. I have my father's super-athlete genes, and it's a good thing. Once the muscle is on, assuming that I keep on working out, I burn fat faster at that point.)
Anyway, I just assumed I was gaining weight because I changed shampoos or something. But it turns out it was the soup I had at lunch every day. I tried to pick the lower calorie ones, and I always bought the smallest bowl.
Well, ladies and gents, I started bringing homemade soup to work and voila! Weight loss. I doubt that my soups have fewer calories than the store ones. But they don't have a ton of salt, or added sugar, or any preservatives except what is found in the one tiny bouillon cube I put in.
Most people would probably find my soup gross, but here's the recipe anyway. It's tasty enough (to me) that I can eat it every day.
A couple handfuls of frozen normandy mix veggies (less if you buy the veggie mixes with smaller chunks--I use the Kirkland brand which has big pieces.)
2-ish cups of water -- please don't measure. Have some pride! Eyeball what's going to fit in your soup bowl with all the veggies figured in and go with that. The veggies don't have to be covered.
2-3 medium or large frozen ravioli--I like spinach and cheese. Use more if they're small.
Dill to taste
Garlic to taste
Salt to taste (watch out! the bouillon cube has lots. I use a small pinch)
1 bouillon cube (I favor chicken)
Put in the water, cube, veggies and seasonings and let it heat up a bit. A few minutes later (mine usually hasn't started to boil yet) add the frozen ravioli.
I top it with cottage cheese. Seriously. That's the part that my family and coworkers think is gross, but it is awesome. The effect is similar to tortilla soup where they put in cheese and sour cream. Same flavor family.
Regardless of what you eat, I think if it's more or less fresh and more or less homemade, you'll be better off. You have to know that when they make soups and stuff in a factory setting, they watch the quality but they'll throw in stuff that's 'good enough' that you might, given your own choice, toss out. Cooking my own food gives me lots more control over what I eat. It makes my inner control freak very happy, happy enough that one of these days I really ought to try making big batches of chicken broth for the freezer so I don't have to rely on the bouillon cube thingy. It's tasty, but I have to not think about what quality of chicken (and what parts) they used to make it. Ick!