One of the sneakiest things that might be slowing you from losing the post-Christmas pudge is your office lunch. Hey, we love a meal deal too. Tesco is only around the corner and the infinite possibilities of meal deal combinations that we could get is arguably the most exhilarating part of the day. But the calories rack up with mayonnaise, high sugar and high salt contents. Not to mention the cost adds up. With 252 working days in 2017, that’s £756 a year spent on lunch!
Clearly the solution is bringing in your own lunches. But even making your own ham sandwiches gets boring. Here are some of our favourite healthy lunch ideas. They’re creative and, more importantly, super easy to make.
Kilner jar noodles
This one’s for the Pinterest lovers. A kilner jar makes for a fun lunch pot to house a delicious homemade noodle soup. All you need for the base is a handful of rice noodles, some miso paste and a little soy sauce. Then you can throw in whatever veg or meat you’d like for endless combinations! Try beansprouts, spring onions, some leftover cooked chicken and a dash of Sriracha for an Asian-inspired lunch. Just boil the kettle and fill the jar when you’re ready to eat. You can add as much veg as you want, making this a great low fat recipe.
The non-salad salad
Because lettuce is so boring. And you’re always hungry an hour later. And you’ll forget that it’s in the fridge during the weekend, so inevitably it becomes a wilted mess. Try your hand at making tabbouleh – a Middle Eastern salad that’s fresh and zingy and actually filling, thanks to the bulgar wheat. Just cook the bulgar wheat according the instructions on the packet and then toss together with chopped parsley, chopped mint, diced tomatoes and sliced spring onions. Season with lemon juice and olive oil.
That’s a traditional tabbouleh but you can always change it up how you’d like by adding other ingredients. Add pomegranate seeds for colour and sweetness, or dice some cucumber or peppers for extra bite.
We all remember having these for break in school. A little adult hack and you’ve got a fun, light lunch with more flavour and less of the processed ingredients. This isn’t rocket science. Essentially, it’s cheese and crackers with a bit of ham. Use oatcakes, instead of cream crackers, as these are more filling and will give you energy for the rest of the day. Not to mention, they’re a great source of fibre to maintain healthy digestion. Choose your favourite cheese and slice up to size. Avoid pre-packaged sliced ham, as these contain a lot of water and often have added sugars, salts and preservatives. Instead, head to the deli counter for ham that comes from an organic source.
Healthy lunch ideas for work don’t get much more fun than a bento box. Because nothing makes us happier than compartmentalising. Bento boxes originate from Japan and are used for to split out home-packed meals. Traditionally they hold rice, fish or meat, vegetables and condiments. But you can mix up your lunch with veg sticks and dip, a little of last night’s leftovers, cous cous, grilled chicken, nuts, fruit… the possibilities are endless! The variety means you won’t be bored and keeping everything in one bento box manages portion sizes. We like this bento box, which you can find in John Lewis.
Dust off the spiralizer that you bought during The Great Courgetti Phase of 2015 because this one really is the easiest lunch which takes about a minute to prepare in the morning. Just spiralize one or two courgettes (depending on size) into your tupperware box, throw a spoonful of pesto on top and you’re done. Just heat for 20 seconds in the microwave at lunch and then stir the pesto in for a carb-less pasta alternative.