When you’re at work, the easiest lunch option is to pop out to the local coffee or sandwich shop and grab whatever is quickest to chomp down before the afternoon of heavy meetings begins. However, with people working more hours than ever before, and sedentary lifestyles being a major cause for concern amongst employers, it’s more important than ever before to make more effort to be healthy.
- Between 1993 and 2013 there was a huge rise in the amount of men and women classified as obese in the UK. The amount of obese men rose from 13.2 percent to 26.0 percent and from 16.4 percent to 23.8 percent in women. (Source)
- Between 2013-2014 there were 9,325 people admitted to hospital who were clinically diagnosed as obese. (Source)
The world is getting fatter, and if you don’t care about the population, be selfish and focus on yourself. Eating unhealthy food could:
- Cause you to put weight on
- Cause you to lose confidence
- Make everyday tasks more difficult
- Cut your productivity
- Make you more tired
- Give you skin problems
- Put you at risk of musculoskeletal disorders, heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Why? Because you’re completely in control of what you put into your body. So why not take the first steps to being a brighter, happier, glowing you and opt for some healthy, easy work lunch options:
If you don’t have time to prepare your meals, you will want to be lunch savvy when it comes to choosing a nutritious meal that’s going to help push you through the afternoon slump. Avoid fatty options like red meats and cheeses, and instead try to go for clean proteins and complex carbs that will keep you fuller for longer.
Jacket potato with beans and no butter is a great choice as it’s around 500 calories and the beans are packed full of protein, with salad is an even better option. A grilled vegetablesand hummus wrap is another great option as hummus is made from chickpeas, which are high in protein, plus you’re getting one of your five a day in with the veggies. If you’re browsing sandwiches, opt for ‘no mayo’ choices and look for wholegrain breads where possible. If you’re saving money with a meal deal, avoid chocolate, fizzy drinks or crisps and go for fruit or vegetable sticks and water.
Great high street choices:
- Tesco low fat sushi and any of the fat free sandwiches, salads and deli wraps (meal deal option)
- Boots Shapers range (meal deal option)
- M&S Healthy Choice range (meal deal option)
- Costa – have made an effort to lower the fat content in their food and make much more of their offerings below 350 calories. The egg salad sandwich is a particularly good choice, just steer clear of the pastry counter!
- Subway – most of the 6 inch sandwiches start at over 500 calories a piece without even adding any extras. However the 6 inch Veggie Delight without cheese is around 250 calories which is great. Just avoid the meal deal and add some nuts on the side for extra energy as there’s little protein in this meal to keep you going.
Making Your Own Lunches
If you have time, this is by far the best possible option for you as you’ll know exactly what’s going into the food you’re eating for lunch. It is also a much cheaper option. If time is an issue, consider prepping all your food for the week on a sunday evening. Freeze things like bread, soup or pasta, so they are preserved and can be taken out to defrost the evening before work.
You should also prepare Tupperware boxes of fruit and veg (that won’t spoil) so you can just take handfuls out quickly to snack on or add to lunches.
The easiest lunch to make is a protein packed sandwich. Opt for granary bread, no butter, lots of veggies and lots of protein. Great options are:
- Grilled chicken and salad with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper
- Roasted vegetables and hummus
- Mashed avocado and chickpeas with crunchy salad
- White bean and mozzarella
- Greek salad
- Mushroom and goat’s cheese
- Roast beef and watercress
- Chicken, pesto and sun-dried tomato
- Turkey, green apple and brie
- Falafel, salad and hummus
If you’re wanting to have a bit more fun and avoid a simple sandwich, the work lunch world is now officially your oyster! Here are some great ideas:
- Vegetable sticks and hummus, olives, two slices of wholegrain bread, low fat chicken slices and a banana, soya and chia seed smoothie
- Rice and peas, hummus and salad
- Spicy bean salad, mint yogurt and pita bread
- A burrito bowl
- Lemon chicken couscous
- Crunchy tuna salad
Try to make lots of pots and tubs full of different things like quinoa, pasta, fresh salads, sliced meats, bean salads and vegetable sticks so you can make yourself a lovely little mezze for lunch everyday.
Remember, if you make an effort to eat healthier work lunches you will save money, save time and most importantly, feel absolutely amazing.