Whether you are embarking on a diet, or you just want to eat a little bit better, we all start new eating plans with the best of intentions. Where most of us end up falling down though is by giving in convenience. Healthy eating can require a little forward thinking, and so when time is short and things get busy, your diet is often the first thing to slip.
In support of National Nutrition and Hydration week, starting on the 12th of March, we are providing ideas and advice for preparing a healthy working lunch. Lunch is often the first meal that we choose convenience over health, particularly when we are at work, so it’s important to plan ahead and avoid reaching for something unhealthy during a busy day…
A great diet is all about balance, ensuring each meal provides your body with a variety of nutrients and minerals. Each meal should include protein, healthy fats and low GI carbohydrates. This approach will provide your body with everything it needs to repair, regenerate, and provide the energy that you need for a working day.
Low GI carbohydrates are key. In choosing high GI carbs, you’ll create a burst of energy, followed by a sugar crash, as your blood sugar spikes and drops again. This will leave you feeling low on energy, and grabbing for sugary snacks to perk you up again. Carbohydrates to avoid include: white bread, white pasta, cakes and biscuits. Instead choose wholewheat options, or even better opt for lentils, beans and pulses.
Your lunch should also include plenty of greens, a low fat protein option, and a small serving of healthy fats. To incorporate healthy fats, try cooking your food in coconut oil, or add a tablespoon of all natural peanut butter to your lunch, or you could even sprinkle a handful of chopped nuts over a salad.
Make Things Simple
Avoid over complicating things and keep your lunch prep simple. For busy weeks, try prepping a weeks worth of lunches in one evening and storing in the fridge. It’s important to strike a balance between keeping yourself interested in what you are eating and avoiding making things too complex – have just three or four ‘go-to’ meals to make for lunch. In choosing just a handful of meals, you can ensure you don’t become bored of what you are eating, but you will also have meals that you can rely on, that you know how to prepare and what you need to buy. In doing this the whole routine is kept simple, making it easier to follow.
A few examples of a well balanced and simple lunch would be:
Halloumi, chicken and lentil salad: this well balanced meal includes everything your body needs to get you through the afternoon. Add in raw spinach, tomatoes and cucumber for a well balanced salad.
Wholewheat turkey wrap: opt for wholewheat pittas and pack them full with cooked turkey, a spoonful of peanut butter and salad leaves.
Celebrate National Nutrition and Hydration week by aiming to take a healthy lunch to work everyday of the week. Once you get going you’ll soon see how easy it is to stick to, and preparing your meals at home might even save you some money too.