I find it pays to plan for the week ahead especially if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. On a Sunday night, for instance, I like to make up one of these five healthy, high-fibre lunches to grab as I head out the door the next morning. It saves me time and money and keeps me out of the food court and away from fattening and fatty nachos, fries, pizza and other fast food.
Save money, save your health and lose weight
1. A hearty sandwich made on chewy, grainy bread
You can’t beat a solid, jam-packed sandwich for variety and ease. Fillings that keep well overnight are cold meat, cold chicken, ham, cheese, lettuce, cucumber, mashed egg. Steer clear of watery things like tomato, beetroot, tuna and salmon that make the bread go soggy. Or pack them separately into little containers. If you have a sandwich press (electric toaster) at work, toast your sandwich for a warming treat.
2. Easy salad box
Throw whatever veges (even cold cooked potato) and chicken/salmon/avocado/roast meat/chic peas/lentils you have into a plastic container. Toss over a splosh of vinaigrette or salad dressing and you’re set. I like to pack a tub of tomato and veg salad along with a can of tuna and some grainy bread.
3. Home-made soup
Cook up a big pot at night or on the weekend, then you’ve got a hearty instant meal ready. Go for a soup that’s chunky and filling like a minestrone or hearty chicken and vegetable or pea and ham. Pick up a fresh bread roll at a hot bread shop on your way to work or keep a packet of crispbread at work to munch with it. Oh, and I like a chunk of cheese or a hard-boiled egg for extra protein.
4. Love leftovers
Cook extra dinner so you have leftovers. Pack your lunch as part of the evening clean up – saves time. Bolognaise sauce does double duty as lunch on toast the next day or mixed in with penne or spaghetti. Pack cooked stir-fry beef ‘n’ veg into a container with noodles or quinoa (see right). Curry and rice also travels well. I don’t know about you but I find that many dishes taste better the next day!
5. Frozen microwave mini-meals
Buy one or two frozen or packet meals when they’re on special at your supermarket and take them in to work to microwave when you’re hungry. Unfortunately many of these don’t taste that good or don’t have sufficient vegetables or herbs.
Here are a few brands I’ve tried and liked. I’ve chosen the ones that I think taste fine and are nutritionally adequate.
Frozen: try Lean Cuisine Chicken and Veg Risotto bowl, McCain Healthy Choice Apricot Chicken or Pumpkin Ravioli in Spinach Sauce, Michelina Prawns and Vegetable Alfredo, Weight Watchers Veg Chickpea Curry.
Canned: try St Dalfour Gourmet-to-Go tin with an easy pull-cover. I find I need to add more protein (chicken pieces, hard-boiled egg) to them to make them satisfying. Or John West Light Tuna Tempters in Lemon and Cracker Pepper is a great stand-by for more protein.
What do you find easy to organise for lunch at work?
About the Author
Catherine Saxelby's Complete Food and Nutrition Companion
Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! From fast food to fat loss, she has written, researched and talked about virtually every aspect of healthy eating. Catherine is an award-winning nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and the author of 10 books.
Her book Nutrition for Life has clocked up sales of almost 500,000, making it one of the most enduring and popular general nutrition books. Her latest book - Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion - sums up all you need to know to eat well.