Do you struggle to find time and inspiration for healthy lunches? Most people are in a rush and have limited options available to them. So even if we all know we should be opting for a healthy lunch sometimes it’s just easier to grab a quick sandwich. Or eat nothing at all. So what’s the secret to having a healthy lunch?
Making a healthy choice at lunchtime will support energy levels throughout the afternoon and help you avoid the biscuit tin. If you struggle at lunch, this may be a key area for you to focus on this year (read our recent don’t diet blog for other ideas). Just think, you have about 260 week days in 2018 to play with. If you chose a healthy lunch for even half of those, that’s 130 opportunities to increase your intake of vegetables, healthy protein and slow release carbs. The one thing that will make this possible – a little planning and preparation.
Think one step ahead
At least once a week, cook a little extra at dinner to have as your next lunch. Curries, stews, casseroles all taste even better the next day. If you are having salmon, tofu or roast chicken for dinner, cook enough to have left overs and make up a salad with some leaves, chopped veg (cucumber, peppers, spring onion, radish, tomatoes, sugar snap peas …….). Dress with a little balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil or try our tasty smokey and spicy tahini dressing.
Use your oven…..
When you have the oven on to cook dinner, roughly chop some vegetables, toss with a little olive oil and roast for 20 – 30 minutes. Use whatever you like, from peppers, onions, fennel and courgettes to cauliflower, and broccoli. These can be stored in your fridge for 3 or 4 days and form the basis of several lunches. Make a salad with cooked quinoa, roast veg, some canned chickpeas and a little feta cheese with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. Use to fill a wholemeal pitta together with some hummus. Or add to an omelette and have lunch in the table in less than 5 minutes.
And your cupboard
Stock up on tins of chickpeas and mixed beans to add fibre and filling protein to a salad or soup. Use peanut or almond butter to make a nutty Asian-style dressing, to top our easy noodle salad. Mix tinned salmon with a little natural yoghurt and some sweetcorn or avocado and rocket and use to fill a wholemeal pitta. Miso paste, stored in the fridge once opened, is another great ingredient to add taste and nutrition to dishes. In addition to adding unami to soups, stirfries and marinades, it’s also great in a dressing. We know that kale is so last year, but it’s still a true superfood, in season, good value and locally grown. One of our favourite recipes is our miso maple kale salad.
Need more ideas to get healthy?
We know how hard it is to make healthy choices. Nutrition information is confusing and often contradictory and we are surrounded by temptation every time we walk into a supermarket, café or petrol station. If you want support to learn how to eat healthily for good, sign up for our new Slimplicity 12 week course. Including weekly meetings, recipes, meal plans, friendly support and expert advice, Slimplicity can help you to establish eating habits that will make a significant long term difference to your waistline and your health. Courses start next week and limited places are still available in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny. Call us on 01 4020777 or click here for more information.