Are you always in such a rush at lunchtime that you don’t have enough time to make a healthy lunch? Or do you always eat the same and uninspiring things? Or, perhaps you grab a pre-made sandwich at work as that is the only option available?
These are the common factors I continue to hear that stop my clients from eating well at lunchtime.
Today’s blog is focusing on a quick and easy lunch that can be taken to work or made in 5 minutes at home. Use the recipe as a base and start to swap out ingredients making it more exciting and different. In fact, use this tip for any recipe that you start to follow, start swapping out one or two ingredients each time to either satisfy your tastes or that use ingredients you have in your pantry already – be adventurous and have fun at the same time!
Another great tip that I live by is to cook once but eat twice and I especially put this into practice for lunch time as I usually don’t have much time between meetings and other work commitments to spend as much time as I would like to in the kitchen. When planning my family dinner, I am already thinking about lunch the next day, I cook extra grains or vegetables and store in the fridge ready to whip together with a few staples I always have to hand. This provides a good base and you can add a few other salad bits, fresh greens, herbs, some nuts or seeds and a good dressing. By mastering a few yummy dressing recipes can transform the dullest of salads!
If you are eating in a rush make sure you eat something balanced that includes a good quality source of protein (animal or plant – your choice), complex carbohydrates (whole-grains, fruits, vegetables – not white pasta or bread!) and a good source fat (oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado or cold pressed oils). One of my favourites is avocado on seeded crackers with tuna, lime, coriander and chilli powder – yum! Always try to sit down to eat too, I know it is tempting to eat on the run but it really does pay to give yourself some precious time to sit, chew properly and enjoy whatever you are eating consciously and mindfully.
If you are still heading for a pre-made sandwich at lunchtime, build your own at the deli instead of packeted pre-made sandwiches. Avoid sauces by using mustard and tomatoes to give the moistness sauces provide.
Goats Cheese and Lentil Salad for one.
1 cup cooked green lentils
1/2 cup cooked green beans
4 sundried tomatoes chopped
2 tbs chives – chopped
handful spinach – chiffonade (cut into thin slices)
50g goats cheese
2 tbs toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbs of tamari (gluten free soya sauce alternative)
pinch of chilli powder (depending how hot it is)
Combine all the salad ingredients together.
Add the dressing ingredients to bowl and whisk together with a fork until the tahini is fully combined. The tamari is already salty but add more to taste if needed.
Stir the dressing through the salad ingredients until fully combined and serve.
Top with goats cheese and sunflower seeds.
Naomi’s TIP: To toast the sunflower seeds put them into a dry pan on a medium heat on the stove, keep tossing the pan every few minutes so they don’t burn and until they are slightly toasted in colour. You may hear them start to pop – this is a good sign they are ready too! Take out the pan to allow to cool before serving.
Examples of simple swaps:
Lentils to brown rice or quinoa
Goats cheese to tuna or grilled tofu
Spinach to rocket
Chives to corriander
Sunflower seeds to walnuts
Sundried tomatoes to fresh cherry tomatoes
Already with one recipe you have heaps of varieties.
Nutritional Nuggets of goodness:
Lentils: A good source of dietary fibre, lean protein and iron.
Goats Cheese: Contains less lactose than cow’s milk/cheese and smaller fat globules which makes it a good source of easily digestible protein.
Tahini: A rich source of vitamin E and calcium. A good source of Methionine which aids in liver detoxification.
Tamari: Provides niacin (vitamin B3), mood enhancing tryptophan and more protein than regular soya sauce. It is gluten free however can be high in sodium so opt for reduced sodium if available.
What are your favourite quick and easy healthy meals? Let us know below…