Creating the perfect packed lunch

lunchbox collageJuggling work, studying and life in general has been full on for me over the past few weeks. I signed up to do my Level 2 Gym Instructor course in March but things got moved around and I ended up enrolling a few weeks ago with just a few days notice!

I hate being forced to eating junk when I’m pushed for time so I have been on top of my game with regards to cooking meals and preparing lunches to take to the training days. I have been pretty happy with the packed lunches I’ve made so I thought I’d give you some tips, nothing ground breaking but some food for thought none the less.

Start with carbs

When I’m staring at a screen all day and getting my head around new concepts I find I really need a sugar boost come lunchtime. I like to get mine from quinoa which although isn’t always technically gluten free, still reacts better with me that rice or pasta. If your body happily accepts these foods then I would recommend you include some of the wholegrain variety in your lunch box. This will release a steady flow of energy throughout the afternoon as well as bulk out your meal for a reasonable price. You could also try some nice oatcakes, rye bread or sweet potato salad as your carbohydrate component.

Plenty of colour

If you make a bland looking lunch the chances are you won’t enjoy it, and will end up supplementing it with shop bought treats with added fat and sugar to give you that satisfied feeling. My top tip is to inject as much colour as possible in the form of vegetables. My current favourites are red peppers, spinach and roasted butternut squash but you could include tomatoes, red onion, cabbage, beetroot, asparagus, kale, avocado 0r pomegranate seeds to name just a few.

Choose your protein

Studies show that people who eat a protein rich lunch are less likely to snack before dinner, so I would strongly recommend adding a portion to your plate. Meat-eaters can try chicken, turkey, salami, ham, prawns or tuna whilst vegetarians can spice things up with lentils, tofu or beans. I like to marinade my chicken in lemon, coriander, garlic and chilli before grilling and serving cold with my quinoa salad.

Include a treat

This might be controversial but I like to add a little treat to my lunch offering, because the main event always seems to be over too quickly! I love these kale crisps from Pret A Manger or these Raspberry and White Chocolate Quest Bars (available on ebay if you don’t live in America) but you could also include a few pieces of fruit, some nuts or some home baking like mini muffins or cookies. Remember a little of what you fancy does you good!

Remember to include a big bottle of water with your lunch to ensure you are hydrated, as often thirst is mistaken for hunger.

Are you feeling inspired to make your own packed lunch?





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