I love lunch – don’t you? It gives us a much needed break in our day and a great way to refuel and recharge ourselves for the afternoon.
In my opinion, the best lunch is a balanced lunch. This means that your lunch should include some lean or low-fat protein and some complex carbohydrates. The combination of protein and fibre from whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables are great for keeping us full until dinner. This means that we get to avoid that mid-afternoon craving for snacks and sugary treats!
Here are a few guidelines I have passed on to Julie to help her stay sugar-safe. You can be sure she will be sticking to these as best as she can – she knows I will be watching!
There is nothing wrong with eating out for lunch every so often. You may be out with colleagues or just having a much needed break away from the office. Whatever the reason, you can still opt for good choices while having a restaurant lunch. I make sure that I avoid fried foods, choose filo-pastry over standard pastry, and go for fresh foods such as freshly toasted sandwiches, salads and my all-time favourite sashimi. Julie loves her salmon so I am sure she will be thrilled that this is on the list. Salmon is high in fatty acids that keep us full while providing a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are great for our hair and skin, as well as our immune function and heart health!
For those of you who aren’t big fish eaters, you can always take our Omega-3 Fish Oilafter your lunch to get these benefits.
A great way to save time and make sure you make good food choices is to prepare food the night before.
If you love sandwiches, use a variety of whole-grain bread, pitas or wraps and opt for lean fillings like sliced eggs, tuna, cheese or lean meats. Then add some assorted greens, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onion or tomatoes. I try to avoid processed meats like ham and sauces such as barbecue sauce or mayonnaise as they contain plenty of hidden sugars and other “nasties”. I advise instead mashed avocado, a pinch of salt, pepper and some paprika. You can also add in some home-made chutney (a condiment made up of spices, vegetables, or fruit). YUM!
Salads come in all varieties and they are one of my favourite lunch options. I try to mix up my salads during the week; so for example, Monday I have a roast salad, Wednesday a bean salad… and so on… I often add a portion of protein to my salad, in the form of shredded chicken breast, two poached eggs, or a few slices of cheese. My only advice is again to stay away from those high-sugar sauces, and to make sure your salad is as colourful as possible. The more colours on your plate, the better!
Here is a recipe for one of my favourite salads. Use fresh vegetables wherever you can but tinned or frozen options make it very practical and easy!
Bean and Corn Salad
1 cup of whole kernel corn
1 cup of beans (mixed, kidney)
1 packet of cooked edamame beans
1 can of chopped beetroot (drained)
1 red chopped capsicum
½ cup chopped celery
1 chopped avocado
some chopped spring onion
This recipe can also be served as a warm salad with the avocado and spring onion added in before serving. No dressing is needed as the flavours are amazing and to make it even better you can add any meat or seafood you prefer to it.
Another great way to do home prep is to prepare in bulk
Julie has been making up batches of falafel and freezing them for use during the week. You simply freeze the mixture raw and cook when you are preparing your meal the night before! These delicious falafels can be eaten in salad, a sandwich roll, or simply on their own.
1 x 15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons tahini
1 large egg
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup coconut flour (or normal flour)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or coriander or both!
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pulse chickpeas, tahini, egg, lemon zest, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, chili powder, and salt in blender or food processor until mostly smooth, but still chunky. Transfer to bowl, and stir in flour, onion, parsley, oil and baking powder.
- Shape ¼ cup chickpea mixture into 1-inch-thick patty, and place on baking tray. Repeat with remaining chickpea mixture.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes before flipping the patties over and giving them another 10-15 minutes. If they are in a muffin tray, you can leave them in there for the entire time, but you would need to put in a bit of oil at the bottom of each muffin pan.
Take out and serve with some delicious home-made yoghurt sauce or hummus to make it extra tasty!
Forgot to prepare your lunch and just about to head out the door?
Oops, so the movie last night ended a little later than expected and you didn’t have time to prepare lunch? Opt for emergency lunches. These can either be yesterday’s cooked leftovers or some simple grab-and-go food choices. Grab an avocado, tin of tuna, and some pesto for a delicious “fast lunch”!
What is your favourite go-to for lunch? Do you grab your lunch on the go? Or do you pack your own? We would love to hear your creative and delicious lunch ideas!
In good health.
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