Nothing is more pressing than satisfying your hunger in time! Many of you find yourself skipping lunch in a bid to meet deadlines, get to appointments and make up time, doing other things that seem more pressing. Unless you refuel in the early afternoon you will find yourself sluggish, irritable and tired come mid-afternoon, which will do nothing for your motivation or your concentration, let alone your attempts at maintaining a healthy weight.
Choose nutritionally sound options that will keep you feeling satisfied and full until mid to late afternoon. For the best results you will need to pre-prepare your food if you are away from home during the day. Preparing your lunch the day before and storing it in a food container overnight will ensure that quality food is always to hand when lunchtime arrives.
Preparing your lunch in advance does not have to be as time consuming or inconvenient as you might think. Why not cook a little bit extra for your dinner each night and store the leftovers in a food container overnight? That way you have a ready-made lunch ready to pop into your bag first thing. Good examples of leftovers that will work are stir fries, casseroles, pasta dishes and chilli con carne. You can add spare chicken breast or cooked meat leftovers to salad and wild rice to make a healthy yet filling cold meal.
When you are out and about, choose foods from quality supermarkets. Always look for a meal option high in protein, from fish and meat, or pulses if vegetarian. If choosing a ready-made sandwich, opt for brown, wholemeal bread rather than white. Forgo options smothered in mayonnaise or sauce (eg: coronation chicken or tuna mayo), to help you dodge excess sugar and fat. Look for lighter dressings. Avoid high calorie fillings such as chicken Caesar, chicken and bacon, prawn mayo or the 'all day breakfast'. Keep things simple, as though you were making the sandwich at home. Ignore 'meal deals' with crisps, drinks and / or chocolate. If you have the option, buy your lunch from a sandwich shop, where you can choose your own bread, fillings and dressings.
Ready made salad bowls are always a good option, but choose options with fish, meat or cheese included. Avoid high mayonnaise sauces. Sushi is another great lunch option. Avoid the self-serve salad bars at supermarkets, which are usually high in sugar.
If you plan to make your own sandwich at work look to buy organic wholemeal pittas, a salad ingredient (such as rocket) and quality pre-packaged chicken slices. For a little bit of spice add a touch of Tabasco, light dressing or organic chutney. Delicious, healthy and filling!
Try these lunchtime options and feel energized for the afternoon;
2 egg omelette with a large green salad – add chopped onion, pepper, mushroom
Small baked potato or sweet potato, filled with tuna and salad, topped with t tbsp hummus
Sliced chicken breast with sun-dried tomato, organic wholemeal pasta, mixed with red pesto
Sliced 2 boiled egg salad with mixed peppers, mushrooms and light dressing
Greek Salad – feta cheese, tomato, cucumber, black olives, olive oil / lemon dressing
Organic Wholewheat Pasta Bake with chicken, peppers, onion, garlic and herbs
Hummus and organic pitta with chopped carrots, broccoli and baby corn
Tuna Nicoise – tuna, sliced boiled egg, red onion, black olives, salad, light dressing
Wholewheat Pasta salad with smoked / grilled salmon, chopped red peppers and pesto
Mackerel and tomatoes in a wholemeal pitta, with cucumber
Ready-prepared sushi – from any major supermarket
Organic Prawns and rocket in a wholemeal pitta
Chicken Salad with Brown Rice
REMEMBER: Go easy on your portion sizes. If in doubt, underestimate and then add more.
Good luck and start eating more sensibly!