It’s 1pm on a Monday afternoon and that must mean it’s lunchtime! More and more of us are bringing lunch into work to save money.

Look down at your soggy cheese sandwich and packet of crisps for the last time. In this article I will explain why lunch is so important and hopefully create inspiration for healthy, quick and simple lunch ideas!

Your body cannot make it’s own energy, so making the right food choices for lunch is crucial. These decisions can help maintain energy levels, keep you productive and stop cravings or energy drops come 4pm.

Top Tips for healthy lunches

  • Ensure your lunch contains one of the following foods: Brown rice, wholegrain pasta, wholemeal bread, wholemeal couscous, beans or lentils, sweet potato, and a variety of vegetables/fruit. These all contain good levels of energy, which are released gradually, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and feeling fuller for longer. Avoid foods such as white bread, pasta and rice. These foods do contain energy but lack fibre resulting in an energy surge and crash, meaning you will probably be reaching for the biscuit tin later on!
  • Balance Lunch with Protein Foods: These are needed for balancing moods and appetite control. Choose one of the following that provide easily digestible protein, such as chicken, fish, eggs, beans and lentils or tofu. Try and avoid proteins that are harder to digest such as red meat and full-fat dairy, as they use up more energy being digested.
  • Don’t Forget to Eat Fat! No I’ve not gone mad. It is so important to choose foods that contain “essential” fats. These are needed for digestion, healthy cells and efficient brain functioning. The human brain contains a high percentage of “essential” fats, therefore daily consumption is crucial for maintaining concentration and memory during the working day. Choose one of the following: oily fish such as salmon, or mackerel, avocado, un-salted nuts (except peanuts), seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables.

So now you know which foods to go for Here are 3 healthy recipes that will have you watching the clock for lunch hour.

Chicken and roast vegetable couscous

Chop half a red pepper, half a courgette and half a red onion into small chunks. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, a sprinkle of rock salt and roast at 180 c for 45 minutes. Pour 50ml of boiling water over 40g wholemeal couscous. When cool, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a handful of chopped coriander and mix well.  Tear 3 slices of ready cooked chicken breast into small pieces. Add with the vegetables to the couscous. Finish with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and a sprinkle of chilli flakes if desired.

Turkey Sandwich with a twist

Tear leftover or supermarket turkey breast into chunks. Cut one avocado and one small tomato into small pieces. In a small bowl add low fat mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic salt and fresh mint leaves. Mix well. Take 2 wholegrain pitta breads and cut in half. Add mayonnaise, turkey, and avocado. Simple!

Tuna Pasta Salad.

Boil 100g of wholegrain pasta until soft. Add ½ tbsp of olive oil and leave to cool. Add 1 tablespoon of low fat mayonnaise. Add half a tin of tuna to the pasta mixture. Chop a handful of baby spinach into small strips and half a red onion. Add to pasta mixture and mix well. All you have to do now is enjoy!

Hopefully I have given you inspiration for some quick, healthy and delicious lunches! When taking lunch into work all that is needed is a good imagination and time to get organised to prepare the night before.  Happy lunching!

Until Next Time!