Preparation is key to healthy living, but I know and understand how busy everyone’s lives are these days. It can be a real challenge trying to work full time, run a family, keep up with friends and family commitments, exercise regularly all whilst trying to maintain a healthy eating habits.
I do want to remind you that food is fuel, and to maintain a busy lifestyle, stable energy levels, a healthy weight and a good mood it’s important to eat well. Good health is everything, so making that little extra effort to make a few lunches during busy weeks can go a long way.
So, let me help you come up with some healthy lunch ideas. I want to take the pressure away from you and make you have one less thing to think about during busy working weeks. Do keep in mind work lunches shouldn’t be boring, and they most certainly don’t need to be bought. So often when buying lunches it’s easy to turn to processed and refined foods, packing in not only empty calories but nutritionally empty foods.
The basis of a healthy meal:
- Unlimited amounts of non-starchy veggies, inc. lots of leafy greens!
- One good quality protein
- A complex carbohydrate
- A healthy fat source
Ensure all your meals contain one of the above, as this is the basis to a healthy meal which will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, help with weight management and provide your body with key nutrients it needs to thrive.
Here are 7 easy, quick and healthy lunch ideas you can whip up if you have a busy schedule:
- 1-2 wraps: (depending on the size of the wrap), go for a wholegrain or GF option: smear with hummus/pesto, avocado, sliced tomato, cucumber, spinach/rocket leaves, grated carrot/beetroot, chicken, sliced boiled eggs or tofu/tempeh strips.
- 3-4 brown rice cakes: with pesto, avocado, rocket leaves, smoked salmon. If you have time steam some broccoli or other veggies to enjoy on the side or grab a couple of carrot/celery sticks.
- Salad: protein option (left over chicken, tuna, smoked salmon, boil eggs, tofu, beans) with leafy greens, grated carrot, grated beetroot, left over kumara (or add quinoa – only takes 15 minutes to prepare), drizzle in olive oil, lemon juice, sprinkle with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Mixed bean and seed salad: ½-1 cup mixed beans, lots of salad greens, a handful seeds, drizzle in olive oil, can add hummus or pesto.
- Sourdough, gluten free or paleo bread: with avocado/hummus/pesto, 2 boiled eggs or smoked salmon/tuna + a cucumber and leafy green salad on the side drizzled in olive oil and lemon juice.
- Leftovers! They are the best! Roasts, soups, stews, casserols, salads. Even if you can only make extra veggies, do it! I always have left over veggies and add a protein source + extra leafy greens + avocado or a homemade dressing.
- Salmon Quinoa Sushi: with avocado, spinach, cooked quinoa (could swap salmon for chicken, eggs, tofu/tempeh strips).
You can always cut up lots of veggies which you can enjoy alongside any meal with hummus or pesto. I like to make my own hummus and green goddess salad dressing every Sunday which I then toss through most of my lunch meals (they are both a great healthy fat source), and only take 5 minutes in a blender or nutribullet.
What's your favourite healthy and quick lunch? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
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