So by now I am sure most of us know that packing our own lunch for work or school is generally SO much cheaper than buying it everyday. But does this mean it is necessarily healthier? For those of us who work sedentary jobs (I’m looking at you office workers!), what we eat during the day is crucial to our weight loss efforts as we are sitting down for most of the day. This is where what we pack for lunch becomes super important.
Here are some healthy lunch swaps to make your ‘healthy’ food even better for you!
Swap: Deli meat for grilled chicken or beef, roasted meats and tofu
Protein is a great component of every meal, it can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied and can reduce sugar cravings. However not all protein is created equal, and most deli meats are living proof of this. The trouble with deli meats is that on top of the protein they contain, they are also full of sodium, fat, and other additives. The worst offenders are salami, bologna and ham. Swap your ham sandwiches for grilled or roast chicken breast, and if you really need to choose the deli option, go for leaner meats such turkey or chicken meat instead.
Swap: White bread or a wrap for wholemeal bread
Whilst homemade sandwiches are a better alternative to take away burgers, the bread you use can make all the difference when it comes to your health. White breads and wraps are full of refined flours which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and leave you feeling hungry again in a short amount of time. They also have essential nutrients stripped from them so you aren’t getting as much fibre in, which helps to keep you full and regular. I always choose to eat rye bread in everything, from my toast to sandwiches.
Swap: Brown rice for quinoa
Although brown rice is not a bad choice by any means, quinoa has a bit more to offer nutritionally,particularly in terms of their fibre and protein content. Adding quinoa to salads is a great way to feel fuller and more satisfied. Boil up a big batch at the start of the week so that you always have it on hand.
Swap: Fruit juice for an apple or orange
If you think slurping down a fresh juice with your lunch is an added nutrient boost, this may not always be the case! This is because most fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar. While these may be natural sugars, the fact that they have most of their fibre (found in the skin and flesh) stripped away means that you would be drinking much more of that fruit than what you would if it you were eating it whole. I suggest opting for a smoothie using the whole fruit instead, or simply a fresh piece of fruit, such as an orange or apple. Both fruits contain fibre and other nutrients, which may have been stripped during the juicing process.
Swap: Mayonnaise for Mustard
Although creamy and delicious, mayonnaise is full of saturated fat and sugar. Swapping it for mustard allows you to cut down the fat and sugar content of your meal while still maintaining flavour. I suggest using mustard in sandwiches and mixing it with olive oil and lemon juice for a delicious salad dressing. I also love making rye sandwiches with rocket, chicken and mustard.
Swap: Potato Chips for Air Popped Popcorn
Potato chips can be full of saturated fat and sodium, and are generally considered a junk food. If you still want to snack of something crunchy, swap the chips for some air popped popcorn with a little salt. It still tastes delicious but has contain much less oil and fat as a result of the cooking process.
Swap: White Pasta for Zucchini Pasta
Zucchini pasta is an awesome alternative to regular white pasta and can be easily made using a vegetable spiralizer. It is especially perfect for those summer months when you don't feel like eating anything too heavy. I like to mix mine with plenty of marinara sauce!
Remember leading a healthy life doesn't have to be a chore! You can still enjoy all the foods you love, simply making better choices can make a huge difference to your health and to your waistline.
Love, Kayla xx