When it comes to lunches, especially when I’m office based, I’m generally very organised. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I love a meal plan and a bit of batch cooking. You won’t catch me eating a salad and nine times out of ten I have a hot lunch. I love the feeling of having a ‘proper’ meal and knowing that I’ve been healthy at the same time.
One of my particular favourites is the curried butternut squash soup which I would accompany with a mini naan. Be mindful which ones you choose here as some are way more calorific than others so don’t spoil your otherwise healthy lunch with a high calorie naan. If in doubt go for a pitta bread or slice of toast to dip in your soup. This dish does tend to make an appearance in my weekly meal plan more often in the winter. Throughout the summer I have been enjoying batch cooking different curries which I then portion up into small microwaveable pots and freeze. By replacing the olive oil or ghee with low cal spray or a splash of boiling water (to stop anything sticking during the cooking process) you have instantly made yourself a healthy version of your favourite curry. Even the more cream based dishes can be tweaked and made instead with fat free yoghurt. To keep the carbs down I always serve the curry with some pilau cauliflower rice which again cooks quickly in a microwave for a beautiful, low calorie lunch at your desk.
Another firm favourite and one of my cold lunch options is a sweet chilli chicken and salad wrap. Look around for low calorie wraps as some of the seeded varieties can be quite calorific but you should weigh this up against the health benefits of oily nuts and seeds. If you’re not calorie counting, the seeded varieties could be for you. Within the wrap I use a dash of sweet chilli sauce, rocket lettuce, chicken breast, red pepper and green jalapenos. If you’re looking for a filling lunch don’t be shy in stuffing as much salad and veg in there as you can! My finished warp will always look much chunkier and more appetising than shop bought ones that are generally more wrap than actual filling.
OK, so before you think I’m some sort of super woman, I’m absolutely not. I’m only human and of course I have odd days where I’m not organised at all for lunch and I have to grab something on the go. This can be a major hurdle if you’re on a health kick as making the right choice isn’t always easy. For some reason grabbing a sandwich seems to always be what pops in my mind. It’s just what you do isn’t it? Grab a meal deal. Perfect. Sandwich, snack and a drink all for under a fiver. But woah there, have you ever looked at the amount of calories in some of these pre packed sandwiches? I’ve been known to waste a massive chunk of my lunch time raking through the fridge in a shop looking desperately for something that comes close to a low calorie lunch. Even if you pick up a salad, depending on what it is dressed with, you could be consuming way more calories than you are expecting!
Hopefully the chart below from TrustTwo will help you next time you’re trying to decide what to grab on the go. It’s been a huge help to me and definitely reinforced the idea that you can’t just assume something that sounds healthy is really the best option!
My final top tip for healthy lunches is, if you do have access to a microwave in your work place, don’t just dart straight for the sandwich fridge. Check out the ready meal chiller or freezer. You may not get the drink and snack to go with it but have a glass of water instead. Many of the major supermarkets now do a healthy range of ready meals and in my experience, there are some absolutely delicious ones that have less calories than some of the mediocre pre packed sandwiches available.
Of course, it’s all in the planning! Meal prep and batch cooking is always the way to go.