Perk up your lunchbox
A healthy lunch is essential to keep the brain working efficiently during the afternoon as well as keeping blood sugar levels steady for those afternoon meetings. Preparing a healthy lunchbox at home will not only help you make healthier choices over the food you eat but will also save money, too. Win-win.
With a little bit of planning and prep, it means that you can throw lunch together the night before and assemble when you’re ready to eat. Confused about what foods you should you be including? We’ve got you covered with this list of healthy ingredients that you can mix and match to make your ultimate healthy lunch that is packed full of protein, fibre and veggies.
Low in fat, rich in protein, tune contains healthy omega 3 fats, great for keeping the brain working. Inexpensive, it's perfect for flaking into sandwiches, adding to salads and layering in sealable jars with sweetcorn, chopped tomato, olives and pasta. We've even found some delicious tuna recipes for you to try.
Let's face it, everyone has a cucumber in their salad drawer in the fridge. Don't let it turn into a watery mess, chop it up and add to anything and everything, even your glass of water. Packed with water to keep you hydrated, cucumber can also help you go to the loo (yes, really).
An excellent source of calcium, feta is lower in fat and calories than your usual cheddar. Perfect crumbled into a Greek salad. Look out for supermarket own brands, which are equally as delicious as the expensive ones.
Rich in ‘good fats’, to keep your heart and brain healthy, olives are popular in healthy Mediterranean diets for a reason. Buy ready-pitted olives as they’re less fiddly to handle, or try an olive tapenade spread onto seeded crackers.
Jacket sweet potato
If you have a microwave at work, it’s worth taking in a ready-cooked jacket sweet potato. High in fibre, sweet potato slows down digestion, stopping you from reaching for the biscuit tin mid-afternoon. They also contain Vitamin C, vital to keep the skin glowing. Top with a tuna & cannellini bean salad for added protein and avocado because, well, every loves avo. Beans and pulses are high in protein so are a great healthy vegetarian lunch alternative to meat and fish. They are also inexpensive and high in fibre, so will keep your bowels in tip-top shape. Tesco's also have a variety of super healthy sweet potato recipe ideas you can try out.
Tomatoes are low in calories, rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, keeping your heart healthy and boosting your immune system, so are a great addition to any packed lunch. Cherry tomatoes are ideal for lunchtime salads, but you can't go wrong by adding a common or garden sliced tomato to a low fat turkey sandwich.
Made from healthy chickpeas, humous is naturally rich in fibre, it tastes amazing, is inexpensive and is a great healthy lunch idea. Use as a dip with veggie crudités, spoon onto a salad or enjoy as a jacket potato topper.
Made from chickpeas, these little balls of goodness are packed with plant-based protein, fibre, calcium and iron – great for vegans and vegetarians. Make your own or grab a pack from the supermarket. Stuff into a wholemeal wrap with salad and coleslaw or houmous, sliced cucumber and olives. Yum.
Burrito bowls are the perfect healthy lunchtime eat and a great way of using up leftovers from your fridge. Consisting of a protein - prawns, shredded pork or jackfruit are ideal, beans (we love black beans), starchy carbs, including sweet potato or rice, and veggies and fruit, such as avocado, cherry tomatoes, peppers and broccoli – throw it all into a transportable bowl - what’s not to love?
Bread or not to bread?
Oh and a small side note on bread. Many people avoid eating bread for fear of weight gain, but you don’t have to leave it out of your diet entirely, just go steady on the white varieties. Choose wholemeal pitta, oat cakes, seeded crackers, rye or sourdough instead.
So, stock up your fridge, buy yourself some snazzy airtight containers, pack them with goodness and enjoy a healthy lunch tomorrow.