Whichever way you look at it, making sure you eat a healthy lunch at your desk or on the go means that you will have to do a little preparation beforehand. Setting a little time aside on a Sunday night or while you are preparing your weekday evening meals to prep a few lunches will go a long way toward ensuring you eat well and can get through the afternoon without falling asleep or going hungry.
Below is my list of 10 alternatives, and if you REALLY don’t have time to prep anything, a short list of what you can pick up at the supermarket on your lunch break rather than grabbing a rubbish sarnie.
- Half bag of ready-made quinoa/brown rice (I use the Tilda pre-cooked variety) popped in a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and cooked off with a handful of chopped peppers, (you can add spinach or whatever else you fancy too) popped in a tub with grilled halloumi and tomatoes.
- Wholewheat pitta bread stuffed with salad leaves and falafel (I buy the Cauldron variety if I can’t be bothered to make my own), or left over-cooked fish from the night before, or tuna with a side of tomatoes. If you go for falafel, make sure you use a little dressing on the salad as it can be dry.
- 70g cooked Wholewheat or buckwheat (GF) pasta, mixed with olives/ toms/peppers/mushrooms that have been cooked through with a little pesto. Or you can cook off the pasta and add some tinned tuna and sweetcorn. This can be popped in a plastic container and is fab cold as a filling lunch. NB: I am a big believer in not eliminating carbohydrates from your diet, so long as they are the right type and eaten at the right time. Look for good quality wholegrain varieties, when using pasta and rice.
- Wholewheat pitta bread, salad, hummous and chopped pepper.
- If you can heat things up somewhere homemade soup and wholemeal pitta is a winner. Try the Mean Green or Sumptuous Squash recipes from my site.
- Cooked brown rice mixed with sweetcorn, cubed chicken breast, and rocket with a little seasoning and salad dressing.
- Leftovers from the night before if they can be eaten cold.
- The ‘old school’ favorite of cottage cheese on rye bread served with chopped apple or tomatoes.
- Bean wraps. Wholemeal tortillas filled with a bean mix and salad leaves. I use canned mexican beans (a little spicy) mixed with sweetcorn. You can add a little brown rice or quinoa to bulk it up if you wish. Wrap them like this in your lunch box and place them flap side down to prevent them from spilling out.
- Couscous mixed with feta, peppers and chopped tomatoes.
If you really don’t have time to make it yourself, here’s a list of healthier alternatives you can buy off the shelf:
- Fish or veggie sushi
- Bean salads – these are often better and just as filling as the pasta salads that are soaked in mayonnaise
- Fresh soups (if you can heat them up)
- Ready cooked chicken breast, a tin of sweetcorn (check for ring pull lid!) and leafy salad
- Pre-cooked oily fish like salmon or mackerel with a side salad
- Rye crackers, cottage cheese, and vegetable crudites
To learn more about joining me on one of The Mindful Cook food retreats, click here