Buying your lunch at work has always cost a packet and finding healthy options nearby has always been a challenge. It’s great to get out of the workplace, breathe some fresh air and clear your head but when that includes speed walking to the nearest café and hoovering down whatever you can find so you can get back to work after your measly 30 minute break, taking your own lunch is by far the best option.
The carbohydrate content (which converts to glucose in your body btw), in many of your usual on-the-go lunch options leaves you with an insulin spike that in turn drops your blood sugar leaving you hungry, tired and itching for afternoon tea before you know it. If you don’t get that afternoon snack, you arrive home starving and that’s a recipe for disaster as you start gorging on that left over cheese plate or picking at dinner before it’s served. Sound familiar? Opt for something where you’re getting a dose of protein, healthy fats and veggies, especially greens, with every meal helps you get the micronutrients and antioxidants you need to maintain a healthy weight, regulate hormones and energy levels, and keep your immune system strong.
What you really need is a bowl of hearty soup, leftover dinner or a super easy salad bowl that is packed with flavour, fibre and a bundle of nutrients to keep your brain clear and your energy levels up. The key is to have a range of vegetables, healthy fats and quality protein with every meal to keep those blood sugars stable, the appetite under control and the nutrient support your body needs to keep you rocking throughout the day.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, have been shown to reduce inflammation, fight cancer and improve heart health. Green vegetables also contain nutrients that will help to alkalise the body to create a pH that suits the human body. Vegetables provide plenty of fibre that is needed to promote healthy bacteria. Nutrient dense vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus and green beans are a great source of fibre. The more beneficial bacteria you have, the less pathogenic bacteria there will be. Well-balanced gut bacteria enhances your immune system, digestion, sleep and mood regulating hormones like serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and melatonin.
Choose good quality produce, preferably organic, as often as you can afford. We are what our food eats. If our plants and animals are fed poorly then the food they turn into is of lesser quality. So it makes sense to eat food that is farmed without chemicals and that is farmed using practices that encourage healthy soils. Our cells have enough to do without adding the extra burden of eliminating chemicals from our system. Always choose grass fed or pasture raised meats and wild caught fish so you ensure they haven’t lived a life eating chemically produced, grain based food with little nutrition. Vegetables and fruits that are home grown, chemical free or locally sourced from farmers markets are fresher, more nutrient dense and last longer in the fridge than commercially sourced produce.
What’s the Formula?
So what makes up the perfect plate you ask?? We’ve talked quality, now let’s talk quantity. Traditionally we eat too much, right? The Japanese have a theory that you should be stopping when you are 80% full. We’ve all heard that it takes 20 minutes for our stomach to tell our brain we’re full, so this makes sense. I don’t count calories, nor measure my food. When it comes to portions, it will depend on your size, the amount of activity you are doing and how well you digest your food. So there’s no magic formula! The servings listed below is what suits me twice a day if I’m fasting and will last me well into the next meal. I eat until I’m satisfied and sometimes that means much less than this. The healthy fats keep me full for longer and provide me with essential nutrients for brain, skin and immune health….everything really! I choose these over carb heavy rice, potatoes and breads because it means I can fit more veg in my belly which have many more benefits than the carbs. Just a good swish of olive oil and some nuts may be all that’s needed to hit the spot.
- 150g fish, meat or 2-3 eggs for protein
- 1 cup leafy greens
- 1 cup cruciferous vegetables – fibre and carbohydrates
- palmful of nuts and/or seeds, ½ avocado, 1 tablespoon quality cold-pressed oil as healthy fats (choose 2 serves of these)
- 1 cup of coloured vegetables – tomato, beetroot, capsicum, carrot
- handful of fresh herbs
This may sound like a lot of vegetables, but when measured raw, most cook down to just a few mouthfuls. Everyone is different and there is no need to try and stuff yourself so full that you can barely sit down! I always think that if your plate is more veggies than meat, especially green veggies, then you’re pretty much on the mark.
Another way I get extra nutrients into me, especially when I’m feeling run down or sick, is to use Probiotics, Supreme Green Powder and Colloidal Minerals from Changing Habits. I simply have a teaspoon of each in a little water and down the hatch!
Your Lunch Challenge
Lunchtime in the workplace is a great opportunity to unplug for a short while. Your stress levels can be markedly reduced even in as little as 15 minutes if you take that time out and use it wisely. You should feel energised and focussed as a result. My challenge for you is to try taking your lunch to work every day for a week. You must leave the workplace and go outside. Eat your lunch slowly and mindfully in peace, no devices allowed!! Take a short walk if time permits. Now try and do it for another week, then another.
Now I’ve given you some ideas about how to easily make the perfect lunch, try some of your favourite combo’s for yourself. By far the easiest is to cook enough dinner the night before to cover your lunch the next day, but if you need something that is ready to grab out of the fridge, walk to the nearest park bench, breathe the air and feel the sun on your face, then try a salad bowl with leftover roasted or grilled meat from the night before. Easy peasy! You can do this!