Need some ideas for healthy lunches for work? Find out just what makes a lunch 'healthy' and try our simple but nutritious ideas
Eating the same old sandwiches for lunch each day is not only boring - you may also be packing in a lot of unwanted calories!
The key to a perfect lunch is to make sure it's enjoyable but also well balanced, leaving you feeling full for longer. Preparing healthier lunches at home allows you to put together just the right mix of ingredients - plus it's fun to do!
Most importantly of all, homemade healthy meals taste so much better than their store-bought alternatives!
How to put together a healthy lunch
To make the most of your healthy lunch, you should include foods from at least three of the food groups - protein, vegetables, fruits, grains and foods rich in calcium.
By opting for whole foods and avoiding - or at least limiting - processed foods, your lunch will instantly become much healthier. A good balance of whole foods will give you enough energy for the rest of the day and stop you reaching for those calorie packed mid-afternoon snacks.
You may think that you don’t have time to make healthy lunches, but by preparing yourself and setting aside a little time on the weekend, you can plan a healthy week ahead. Picking up lunch from a restaurant or choosing something from the grab and go may seem convenient, but these types of meals aren’t that healthy - even if they claim to be!
The best time to prepare your lunches is after dinner when you’re feeling full; this will help you make healthier food choices!
Take a little time on the weekend to plan your lunches for the week; invest in a planner, schedule your meals and create your shopping lists. Make sure you always have plenty of veggies, fruit, eggs, and lean proteins on hand (think along the lines of tuna, chicken or turkey breast).
By being prepared ahead of time, you won’t be in a last minute scramble to just grab something for lunch, which is likely to end up being unhealthy and processed.
The pros and cons of salad
Salads are a great lunch option, but you must be mindful of the calories in your salad accompaniments; toppings such as nuts, croutons, dressings, bacon and cheese can send your calorie consumption soaring.
When you do make salads, be sparing with these toppings. Weighing and measuring out your additions will help you stay in control and keep your salad healthy, not a calorie trap.
To make your lunches even healthier, try pairing them up with water! Yes, it's tempting to reach for a sugar-filled, fizzy soda or fruit juice, but to avoid a sugar crash and a lack of energy later in the afternoon, water is key! If you get a bit bored of plain water, jazz it up with some sliced lemon, limes, cucumber, and mint, or any other combination you enjoy.