Depending on your current training and lifestyle, your lunch will vary significantly from person to person. Currently, I’m shredding down, so my lunch consists of 1 chicken breast (110 – 120g), almonds (5/6), a big handful of spinach and 1 banana. This is suitable for my current training and lifestyle, but will be very different for others.
How many times have you missed lunch because you didn’t know what a healthy option was, and simply survived on a snack bar and coffee? By the time it comes to 2/3 in the afternoon, you are probably feeling lethargic, with your concentration slowly drifting away. This is because women need approximately 400 – 600 calories for their lunch to assist them through hectic work days. However, if temptation gets the better of you (and this could be due to missing breakfast), overeating can occur, where approximately 800 calories are consumed. This in turn will result in feelings of sluggishness and even worse, feeling sick. Usually, this will happen because the extra carbohydrates you have consumed stimulates serotonin production in the body – the chemical that will bring on lethargy.
Many people ask me what to eat for lunch, and of course it varies for each and every person, but there are some simple steps/tips to prepare a deliciously healthy lunch!
- An ideal lunch should contain a combination of: Minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, fat and protein. Simply because the carbs and fat provide the body with energy and protein is required for the function and structure of the body.
- The carbohydrates you eat at lunch should be ‘complex carbohydrates’. I know it is easier to just pick up a white bread sandwich, but as I noted earlier, this will just promote lethargy. Complex carbohydrates are rich in fibre, contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and therefore are satisfying and health promoting. Examples include: Wholegrain pasta/bread, rice (brown, coloured and wild) sweet potato, lentils, quinoa, bulgar, buckwheat, kidney beans, lima beans and black beans. They will release energy more slowly than white carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates), as they take longer to break down into blood glucose.
- Try wraps instead of sandwiches. They are made from wheat flour, and when wrapped around a hummous or salad filling, they are delicious! Their nutritional value is much higher than that of a regular sandwich as they contain less carbohydrate on the outside and more nutritious filling on the inside.
- Cooking in advance is one the biggest factors to consuming a healthy lunch. One, it is far cheaper than buying lunch everyday and two, when cooking your own lunch you know exactly how it has been made and the specific ingredients used. Key tip: Cook your lunch for the next 3 working days on a Sunday night and thats you done and dusted until Thursday! Or simply make your lunch for the next day the night before.
I have attached a link below from BBC Good Food for some inspiration to cook nutritious and delicious lunches that you can pack up and take to college/univeristy/work, or simply cook and enjoy at home.