Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April

Nutritious and delicious: 5 steps to a healthy work lunch

Did you know that if you work full time you’ll eat around 260 lunches at work each year? That’s 260 meals which can have a positive or negative affect on your health – or even just the afternoon ahead.

Whether you take lunch from home or buy it on the day, a satisfying and nutritious lunch can help maintain energy and concentration levels and prevent that mid-afternoon slump. Plus with a little preparation, lunch can help your hip pocket too!

But this is no list of sushi, salads and sandwiches. Instead, we’re sharing our top tips to choosing a healthy work lunch, whatever your style!

1. Start with vegHealthy-Work-Lunch

Aim for half of your lunch to be made up of vegetables. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, and they don’t contain a lot of kilojoules. Go for a variety of colours to get a wide range of nutrients.

2. Choose a protein food

Foods with protein, such as lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts or legumes help us feel full and stabilise our blood sugar and energy levels. Mix up your protein foods during the week to get a variety of nutrients from the different foods, such as the iron in red meat or omega-3 fats in fish.

3. Add a grain food

Grains such as brown rice, quinoa and barley or wholemeal/wholegrain varieties of bread, pasta or noodles are a good option. These foods provide a slower release of energy to avoid blood sugar spikes and slumps, plus fibre to help you feel full and support healthy digestion. Starchy vegetables like potato or pumpkin can do the job too.

4. Top it off

Flavour your food with herbs and spices instead of using salt, and go easy on creamy sauces and spreads. Instead, choose small amounts of healthy fats like avocado instead of butter on a sandwich, or extra virgin olive oil on salad. Opt for low fat dairy foods like ricotta, cottage cheese and reduced fat feta, and go for Greek or plain yoghurt instead of sour cream. You could try sprinkling some crushed nuts and seeds on top for extra crunch (and healthy fats too)! 

5. Plan ahead

We’re more likely to eat well when we make our own meals, plus we can save money. Try making extra portions of dinner for easy leftovers, or extend it by adding extra vegetables or legumes. Prepare and refrigerate your lunch the night before so it’s ready to grab and go the next morning, and keep some of your favourite staple foods at work so you’ll always have something healthy at hand. Tinned fish, baked beans and grainy crackers are a good place to start.

 

nutrition-australiaFor more handy healthy eating tips and tasty recipes visit the Nutrition Australia website.

 

Last updated: November 29, 2016 at: 5:16 pm

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