Updated: Jan 24
Many of us have been working from home more and perhaps haven't always made the best choices for lunch - just grabbing what is there probably without much thought to the best combinations or nutrition for your goals. And this isn't just relevant to people working from home, it's anyone really who needs quick and easy, but also nutritious, lunch ideas or tips. If I'm not organised, then I end up usually with marmite or peanut butter on toast, which isn't 'bad' as such, but it doesn't really give me the best nutrition that I'm after, particularly if I eat it every day.
So, here are my top tips for quick, easy but nutritious lunches:
1. Sort your protein sources. Whilst most of you will have different fitness objectives, protein should usually be the dominant macronutrient in your meals, followed by micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) and fibre for gut health & digestion (and also very satiating!). So tip #1 is to decide what the protein source is first and build your lunch around that.
2. Create a list of lunches that you like. Start with 3 options and build up or add a new one each week so you've got a top 5 or 10 of lunches. They must be easy and you know how to make without too much thinking or faff.
3. Get your staples in your cupboard and fridge. Make sure you have the foods to make your list of lunches.. below is a list of things you might include depending on your taste. I've included the main macronutrient associated with that food below to help you - and you'll see most are protein as this is what many struggle with including in their diet:
smoked salmon (protein)
ready cooked chicken (protein)
cooked prawns (protein)
lunchmeats such as lean ham, turkey or chicken slices (protein)
chicken breast, fillet steak or other lean cuts of meat - if quick cook (protein)
lots of salad items (fibre & micronutrients)
quick cook veg like stir fry, mange tout, spinach etc (fibre & micronutrients)
cottage cheese or feta (protein & fat)
canned fish (protein)
ready to eat puy lentils or quiona (carbohydrates, fibre & protein)
tofu / quorn if a vegeterian (protein)
loads of fresh or frozen veg (fibre & micronutrients)
wholegrain breads, pasta rice etc (carbohydrates)
olive oil (fat)
4. Prep ahead. For example, cook an extra chicken breast the night before for lunch the next day, or make a big pot of soup that can do 3 lunches the following week. And where possible DECIDE beforehand what you're having for lunch - whether that's at the beginning of the week (and do your food shop around this), the night before, or on the morning. Just so you don't have to think when it comes around to it and you've got 10 minutes to put something together and your hangry!
5. It's okay to be "boring". If you have just a few lunches that you know you like, enjoy, are nutritious & balanced then it is absolutely fine to have these on rotation. Routine helps with exercise and it is the same with food when you don't have the time to be creative in the kitchen and just want to fuel your body well.
Hope this helps!