We’re all spending a lot more time at home at the moment, which means we’re eating more meals at home. Unless you live very near a high street or in a city centre, the chances are that most days you’re having to rustle up your own lunch. It can be a bit of a struggle to think of interesting, tasty and healthy lunch ideas on a regular basis. When you add a busy work day or dealing with kids into the mix, it’s no wonder a cheese sandwich or last night’s left-over pasta can seem very appealing! But just because you need something quick and easy for your lunch doesn’t mean that you have to forgo nutritious or delicious.
I’ve been making and eating homemade lunches pretty much every day since I made the switch from working as a London based lawyer to running my energy coaching business from home, 5 years ago.
Occasionally, when I’m really short on time, I’ll have a shop-bought soup (and there are a lot of lovely healthy ones out there, so it’s not a bad option) and I’ll admit to being partial to beans on toast on a cold day after a run or walk. But most days, I try to spend 10- 15 minutes preparing something homemade that I know will nourish and energise me.
I find that this time in the kitchen, away from my laptop and phone, helps me switch off from thinking about work. Taking the time to make myself a nutritious lunch feels like a real act of self care – much more so than wolfing down a Pret salad in front of my computer, which is what I used to do in my lawyer days.
Then when I take the time to sit and enjoy what I’ve made, rather than trying to eat and do personal admin or a load of washing, my lunch break feels like a proper break, especially if I sit outdoors. I feel so much more focused and energised in the afternoon. If I can squeeze in a lunchtime walk, it turbo-charges those benefits.
Making your lunch can seem like yet another thing to squeeze into your busy day, but there are some shortcuts you can take to help speed up the preparation process. You can also use these to help you make packed lunches for those days when you have to go into the office or when you’re out and about, instead of buying your lunch. Good for the bank balance and the environment!
My top time-saving tip is to have plenty of ready-made and quick to prepare ingredients in your fridge and pantry. Things like eggs (which you can hard boil in advance), smoked salmon or mackerel, tinned salmon, chickpeas, hummus, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, avocado, salad greens, olives, flatbreads, ready cooked chicken breast, cooked beetroot and my all time favourite, feta cheese – the only thing you need to do with these ingredients is open the packet (and wash in the case of vegetables), chop them up and combine them into a yummy salad, mezze plate or open sandwich.
I also recommend batch roasting a load of vegetables at the start of the week such as sweet potato, carrots, red peppers, red onions and courgettes. Simply chop them up and roast them in olive oil with a bit of seasoning and some herbs, and once cooked you can keep them in the fridge. Just add some protein and healthy fat – feta cheese, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds are my favourites – and you’ve got a pretty much instant lunch.
If soups are your thing, you might find it easier to make a big pot of your favourite soup at the weekend and saving portions in the freezer or fridge. Some other quick to assemble lunch ideas include:
*A slice of rye bread with hummus, roasted or fresh red pepper, rocket or watercress with some extra protein such as tuna, turkey or feta.
*Falafels (shop bought or homemade) in a pita pocket or wrap with hummus, avocado, rocket and cucumber.
*Smoked salmon, quinoa (from a ready to eat pouch), radish and cucumber salad with sour cream, dill and lemon juice dressing.
*Skinny bagel with roasted sweet potato, chicken or fresh mozzarella and red pesto
*Sliced boiled egg, mashed avocado and watercress on rye bread.
If you’re interested to learn how my signature ENERGISE Coaching Programme could help you work healthier habits into your lifestyle, why not book a free discovery call? Get in touch via the Contact Page.