Spring is officially upon us. As the weather starts to brighten and the days become longer we turn our thoughts to the summer months and for many to ‘operation bikini’. Many spend the spring mentally preparing for the summer and thinking how they would like to be in good shape and healthy when the time comes to don summer attire.
Good intentions can be hard to maintain with a hectic lifestyle. Whilst dinner may be home-cooked thus controlling what is consumed in the evening, lunch is often a ‘grab -what’s- available’ affair leaving little choice to eat healthily. Even the low-fat options may be high in sugar and don’t necessarily do any good to your body. The key is not to focus on being on a diet, but to try to achieve a healthy routine which turns into part of your lifestyle and comes naturally. This way you won’t have to battle in the lead up to summer but will maintain a good balance throughout the year. Here are some tips which may help you achieve this by focusing on nutritious lunches.
Healthy Lunch Tips
Part of eating healthy lunches is being prepared. This does not require a great amount of extra effort; it is a simple question of getting onto of your food shop organisation, planning what you will eat in the week ahead and shopping accordingly.
If you cook a healthy dinner such as a vegetable or lentil soup – cook double! This way you can freeze a few portions and simply take them out of the freezer in the morning to be eaten at lunch. If you do this, eat with one slice of wholemeal bread.
Healthy Lunch Idea 1: Wholemeal pasta salad. Chop tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, cucumber and celery and mix with boiled and drained wholemeal pasta, olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. If you have seeds to hand such as sunflower seeds, add them in too!
Healthy Lunch Idea 2: Soup dish: Using a blender, blend up 225g boiled potatoes, two leeks and one onion lightly sautéed with 2 pints of vegetable stock. This will make enough to freeze a couple of portions and enjoy the other with a wholemeal slice of bread.
Healthy Lunch Idea 3: Whole meal Rice Salad. Mix 250g cooked rice with a can of black beans, a shredded carrot, a can of green beans and seasoning to taste. (This will last a couple of days – halve ingredients for less or eat as a dinner as well another night!)
Healthy Lunch Idea 4: Tomato salad with wholemeal wrap. Prepare a tomato salad, 3 tomatoes chopped into cubes, a tin of tuna, a few spring onions chopped and some olive oil. Take in a tub and place into the wrap at lunch time avoiding soggy wrap!
Healthy Lunch Idea 5: Turkey salad sandwich. Nice and easy to prepare and tasty. Prepare a sandwich on wholemeal bread of turkey breast (or chicken if you have any already cooked), lettuce, light cheese spread and a tomato sliced.
Drinks: Replace fizzy drinks, tea or coffee with water, a fresh juice or a herbal tea. This naturally decreases your sugar intake and bloating that may be caused by caffeine.
Mid- morning snacks – Instead of eating crisps or chocolate bars/sugar based products, eat fruit, nuts or vegetables as snacks. This way your consumption of fibre, minerals, vitamins and water is increased which also lead you to feel fuller making your appetite less at lunch time.
Avoid fried lunches. Only eat fried food once a week when possible.
If you don’t manage to make your own lunches and rely on bought go for Sushi or a tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread. If you are out go for salad with your dish instead of chips.
If your focus is weight loss, this is also dependent on how much exercise you do on a weekly basis. Healthy eating accompanied by regular exercise will result in weight loss if that is your goal. Changing your lunch habits, drinking abundant quantities of water and resting well will impact on how positive you feel in the run up to summer. Taking the initial step to preparing your own lunches is the hardest part, once it becomes part of your daily routine it is the easiest thing in the world!
Question: Do you have a tip or recipe to share in creating healthy packed lunches?