Following on from last weeks article about breakfast when we are busy, this week I want to help you with lunch. Like our breakfasts, it’s important we try to have a balanced meal, containing protein, health fats, complex carbohydrates and fruit/vegetables at lunch time to sustain our energy throughout the afternoon and avoid the dreaded 3pm slump. Below I have listed some tips for preparing lunch at home and, when you haven’t had time, what you can do for lunch on the go.
Make double the amount of your supper the night before and bring the leftovers in for lunch the next day.
Batch cook roasted vegetables (onions, peppers, courgettes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc) on a Sunday or Monday (or any other day of the week you have time) and store in an airtight container in the fridge to use for lunches during the week. Add these to some cooked quinoa, brown rice, beans, pulses, or lentils (use ready cooked sachets from the supermarket or tinned if you don’t have time to cook them at home), and have alongside some cooked meat or fish (batch cook this at home or buy ready cooked from the supermarket).
Batch cook a hearty soup with lentils, beans or chickpeas for the week ahead (see my recipe)
Make a large frittata at the beginning of the week using the roasted vegetables, some feta and 8 eggs and cut into slices to eat with a side salad for lunch during the week.
LUNCH ON THE GO
If you are unable to bring lunch with you, making healthier choices in the shops is easy. Build your own balanced plate with shop bought ready cooked/made food;
Salads – Niçoise, Caesar, tuna and egg, chicken.
Ready-cooked protein (salmon fillet, chicken, tinned tuna, prawns, egg, cooked meat) with shop-bought salad. Beans, lentils, quinoa, roasted peppers, olives, marinated mushrooms, grilled aubergine all make great additions too.
Shop bought soup – when heating it up add 3 tablespoons of ready cooked beans or pulses (Merchant Gourmet do these or most supermarkets now do their own brand ones) and a handful of spinach (this then means you are adding in 2 of your 5 per day!).
Vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, cucumber, raw peppers) with hummus or guacamole.
Leon does tasty balanced meal boxes, for example their aioli chicken box.
Pret do some good options too like their sesame salmon and black rice, and bang bang chicken salad, and falafel mezze.