Healthy Lunches For Work
Packing healthy lunches for work, or meal prepping if you are working from home, is one of the best ways to not only ensure you are feeding your body with the best foods, but it is also a great way to save some money too.
Take away lunches are often laden with sugar, cheaper ingredients and the portions are often not balanced and too big or too small. Having your own homemade healthy lunches for work and choosing foods that are good for your gut will help you with your mood, help you better cope with stress, get a better nights sleep, stay in shape and more. The key is to plan and be prepared.
The big hurdles we see when it comes to packed lunches are:
- Not doing the preparation and losing motivation to organise your lunches at home;
- not enough time in the morning to make lunch before work;
- Not feeling full and satisfied because your meals aren’t balanced with protein, fibre and healthy fats; and,
- Suffering from the “3pm slump” prompting unnecessary treats which can affect your food choices for the rest of the day.
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How you can overcome some of these hurdles:
- Use leftovers to your advantage – we often make healthy dinners to feed the family, so make an extra portion or two so you can take a serve for lunch the next day. Better yet, stick a few extra portions in the freezer to pull out when you’re short on time. You can change the number of servings in your meal planner to make this a simple change to your lifestyle.
- Batch cook some lunches – make a big batch of frittatas at the start of the week, or roast up a tray of veggies to add into salads – if storing in the fridge batch cooked ingredients should last 3-4 days to feed you for the week.
- Continue to follow a low-carb Mediterranean-style diet – it’s low in sugar and starchy carbs while packed full of disease-fighting nutrients. This combination helps control your blood sugar levels, to keep you feeling satiated and keep your mind sharp.
- Balance your meal – ensure you’re following the principles of a Med-style diet by having a portion of protein, some healthy fats and filling your plate (or lunch box) with a variety of non-starchy veg.
- The key to avoiding the 3pm slump is to eat foods that will keep you fuller for longer and keep your blood sugars stable. Have a glass of water and take a walk at 3pm (or whenever that slump usually hits) to boost your energy before you reach for a snack that you don’t really need.
Build your healthy lunches for work from these suggestions, to keep you satisfied and well-fuelled:
- Start with greens. Dark, leafy greens, like spinach and kale, have amples of nutrients and have both been linked to improved heart health, weight loss and immunity. However, if using raw, kale can be a little tough so just be sure to massage with a little olive oil before using it as the base of a salad. Other great leaves are gem lettuce, rocket, chicory, swiss chard, watercress and romaine. This list is certainly not exhaustive; any leafy greens you enjoy will be a winner!
- Add protein. The downfall of many lunches is that they’re lacking in protein, which is often the reason they don’t keep you full for very long. Protein is vitally important for growth, repair and the maintenance of muscle mass. It also helps to curb cravings throughout the day. Protein can be found in both animal and plant-based sources. Try eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, ricotta, tempeh, lentils or edamame beans.
- Include healthy fats. Fats help keep you fuller for longer and also add flavour to your food. Fats also help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Monounsaturated fats come with a number of scientifically proven health benefits including; weight loss, decreased inflammation, increased sensitivity to insulin and reduced risk of heart disease. You can find very high levels of monounsaturated fats in extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Add some more veg. The more colours you have on your plate, the more nutrients! Adding vegetables, such as colourful peppers/capsicum or tomatoes can add plenty of vitamins and minerals to your lunch. Load up on non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colours.
- Add some extra flavour. If having a salad, try not to drench your salad in dressing, or buy store bought ones laden with sugar, additives and preservatives. Salad dressings are absolutely delicious with just a few ingredients that you’ll probably already have in your cupboards. You can keep it simple with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice or try this simple recipe: whisk together 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp dijon or wholegrain mustard with salt and pepper – enjoy! If it’s a hot meal add some herbs and spices to really make it sing.
Here are some of Gabi’s brilliant recipes, perfect if you’re looking for healthy lunches for work ideas:
If you’re looking for additional support, Gabi has over 500 recipes available on our Online Programme, with plenty of options for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, those following a keto plan or others looking to maintain weight but improve metabolic health by following a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet.
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