Healthy lunches


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How to boost the nutrition in your lunch

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We often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – that it sets us up for a day of heathy eating; provides essential nutrients including fibre, vitamins and minerals and supports weight control. As we have this discussion though, let’s not forget about how important lunch is. The common scenario which now sees busy workers, mums and students eating their ‘lunchtime’ meal at 2 or 3pm in the afternoon; and choosing ‘lunch’ options such as sushi, wraps, rolls and stir fries which are packed full of carbs not only plays havoc with our hormonal balance and cravings but it also sees us consuming a significant number of calories in the second half of the day, when we are least active.

Lunch holds the key to nutritional balance – a lunch too low in carbohydrates, such as a tuna salad can leave you vulnerable to sugar cravings later in the day, while a lunch such as white rice sushi or a Turkish bread sandwich can overload you on fuel and refined carbs, making it difficult to lose weight. Achieving the right lunch balance to support weight control and energy regulation is relatively easy once you know the mix to aim for. To get the amount of vegetable bulk we need to keep full for another 3-4 hours we need at least 2-3 cups of salad and / or vegetables at lunch. Next a decent serve of protein such as canned salmon, lean chicken breast or beef or beans or tofu if you prefer a vegetarian eating plan. The amount of carbohydrate you will need will depend on your level of activity. If you sit down all day for work, just ½ -3/4 cup sweet potato, beans or brown rice or a slice of bread or a few crackers will be adequate, more active workers may require 1-2 cups. Finally do not forget the good fat – olive oil dressing, nuts or avocado will help to slow your digestion after lunch and keep you full. In fact, a recent study published in Nutrition Journal found that individuals who included ½ an avocado with their lunch felt more satisfied and had lower blood glucose levels than dieters who did not.

A few quick and easy nutrient rich lunch options

Smoked salmon wrap

Serves 1

Ingredients

Wholegrain wrap

50g smoked salmon

1 tbsp. Light cream cheese

Rocket to serve

Method

1. Top wrap with a little cream cheese salmon and rocket and serve.

Stuffed avocado

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 medium avocado, halved, seed removed

105g can red salmon

1 tbsp., mayonnaise

1 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce

130g can tinned corn

Method

1. Mix mashed salmon with corn, mayo and sweet chilli. Spoon mix into avocado and serve.

Stuffed potato

Serves 1

Ingredients

Jacket potato

95g tin of salmon

1 tbsp. cottage cheese

1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

1 small tomato, chopped

½ red capsicum, chopped

1 tbsp. grated cheese

Method

1. Cook potato in microwave.

2. Mix cottage cheese and salmon with sweet chilli sauce.

3. Topped cooked potato with salmon, tomato, capsicum and a sprinkle of grated cheese. 

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