We all know we should be making our quinoa, avocado and kale salad the night before to take into the office for lunch, but the reality is that life is just a bit too busy sometimes. It can be so tempting to grab a sandwich, soft drink, bag of crisps and maybe even a cheeky chocolate bar when you are crazy busy with work or running around with kids but the truth is you are not doing your body any big favours.
Fortunately, there are lots of good on the go lunch options out there. The high street food chains and supermarkets have embraced healthy eating and there is now more choice than ever.
My top 5 tips for choosing a healthy lunch on the go are as follows:
1. Try to choose a salad over a sandwich. Look for a salad that contains lots of vegetables and some carbs (ideally wholegrain), lean protein (e.g. skinless chicken breast, tuna or salmon or legumes or pulses if you are vegetarian)and good fats (avocado, seeds, nuts, olive oil). Steer clear of creamy salad dressings and croutons.
2. Soup is a great option but make sure it’s not cream based as cream ramps up the calories and fat. Go for a hearty vegetable based soup with pulses (i.e. lentils or chickpeas) or other protein or a broth with noodles and meat or tofu to fill you up.
3. If you are faced with only sandwiches, then always opt for wholemeal bread. Choose healthy fillings that don’t have too much mayonnaise or butter. Sandwiches are usually a bit scant on vegetables, so try to have a piece of fruit or some raw carrot sticks as well as your sarnie to keep you on track for your 5 a day.
4. Sushi bars can a good option. I’ve had some absolutely delicious salads at the big sushi chains made with teriyaki chicken, salmon and avocado and lots of green vegetables. Sushi itself is normally made with white rice which is less healthy than brown rice and can lead to post-lunch energy slumps. If you are really craving sushi, try getting mixed box of sushi and sashimi and add a small side salad for some greenery.
5. A trip to Tesco Express or Sainsburys Local can actually be a fairly healthy and cheap option if you make the right choices. A simple mezze platter of hummus, wholemeal pitta bread, cherry tomatoes and avocado, with a piece of fresh fruit and some nuts would be a great choice and perfect for an al fresco lunch in the spring sunshine.
Finally no matter how busy you are, always try to make time to eat lunch and if possible, have it away from your desk. That way you give yourself a proper break and you’ll be more energised and focused for the afternoon ahead. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.