You may carefully plan your evening meals, but lunch can
become something of an afterthought – a hasty sandwich from the supermarket, or
a burger grabbed from the local café. The best way to guarantee a healthy lunch?
Make it yourself.
A healthy, balanced lunch can help you get all the energy,
fibre, fat, vitamins and minerals you need to power through the day. Here are a
Prepare in advance.
Don’t waste that precious shopping, prepping and cooking
time on just one meal. Make sure you have plenty of leftovers that can be
packed in portion-sized containers ready for lunches the following day. If you
won’t be able to re-heat food, you can mix any vegetables, protein and/or
grains from your dinner plate and toss with some greens and dressing to make a
salad. Leftover brown rice? Mix with chicken, corn, baby spinach and black
If you feel inspired, you can also cook up meals in advance
in the weekend. Casseroles, chilli, pasta dishes, soups and stir-fries can be
doubled, divided and stored, suggest the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
In the warmer weather, substantial salads based on grains like barley, quinoa
or freekeh can also be divided up for lunches.
Stock up on staples.
No leftovers? Keep some of your favourite lunch items ready
to go. Some ideas you can pack in a bento-style box: fruit, hard-boiled eggs,
falafel, small cans of tuna, pre-cut veggies like carrots, celery, cherry
tomatoes and cauliflower, rice/corn cakes, sliced or cubed cheese, and small
servings or trail mix, seeds or nuts.
You can portion out bean dips, nut butters and plain
yoghurt, or purchase them pre-packaged. Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter
recommends you aim for a lunch that is half vegetables and fruit, one quarter wholegrain,
and one quarter protein.
To keep your food safe from harmful bacteria, make sure you
pack an ice block in your insulated lunch bag – more than one if your lunch
won’t be refrigerated when you get to work.