5 Healthy Lunch Alternatives to Salad
It’s hard to beat a salad for a quick healthy lunch plate of goodness, with a variety vibrant crunchy vegetables providing plenty of nutrients and fibre, whilst also satiating and easy to eat during a busy schedule. However, it’s not always a choice to look forward to if you’re eating salads every day, particularly if your choices tend to revolve around a few key ingredients. The boredom will soon set in and you’re then more likely to reach for a potentially less healthy alternative.
There’s nothing wrong with being lazy in the kitchen, particularly at lunchtime. In fact, very few of us have the time to cook from scratch and put together an elaborate lunch during the daytime. Very often it’s a case of assembling, rather than cooking a meal and there’s definitely no correlation between the time spent in the kitchen and how healthy your meal ends up! If you’re assembling healthy foods and ingredients, you’ll very easily end up with a delicious healthy meal.
So, here are 5 of my go-to healthy lunch choices to help you change things up a little; all nutritious and also quick and easy to prepare.
Toast, indeed bread, in general, is often vilified and a no-go for many. It regularly gets banished to the “off-limits” list, and whilst it’s true that some bread isn’t the best of choices, there is a difference between good quality bread and a mass-produced, packaged loaf.
Bread is actually a fermented product, using yeast, water & a grain, for example, wheat. To properly ferment flour, to change its nature and create tasty bread, takes time. Most bread today is not properly fermented and this may be behind the rise in allergies to wheat flour, gluten and many IBS symptoms, such as bloating and wind.
A good quality sourdough bread, with no additives (no types of dough improvers, preservatives & flavour enhancers ) allows enough time for the fermentation process and as such, not only do you end up with a delicious dense texture that is filling and satisfying, but it is also less burden on the digestive process.
You can definitely taste and feel the difference! So, a healthy lunch certainly doesn’t mean you need to avoid a good quality bread, as long as you’re varying your choices and teaming it with some great ingredients.
For an energising lunch and a good source of healthy fats, avocado on sourdough is one of my favourites. It’s so simple and so delicious; topped with whatever you fancy. My favourite…wilted spinach. crumbled feta, chilli flakes, salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds but it’s also great with just a sprinkle of chilli flakes, a squeeze of lime (or lemon) and a few torn basil leaves.
This can take any guise; a smooth creamy soup, a clear broth with chopped vegetables thrown in or a more chunky thick minestrone style soup. I like to make mine mostly 100% vegetables; i.e. no meat, pasta or noodles but occasionally, a tin of beans for added protein and fibre. It’s a great way to pack in the nutrients and fibre whilst also making sure you use up any vegetables that might be past their best. Whilst homemade is much easier than you may realise, a good quality shop-bought variety is also good (ensuring it doesn’t contain added sugar).Once you’ve peeled, sliced or chopped your vegetables, in its simplest form, you can simply add them into a boiling broth and simmer for a few minutes until they’re tender. If you’ve got, you can use a homemade chicken or vegetable broth and sauté onion and garlic before adding the broth and vegetables for a more intense flavour.
TOP TIP: Go for cheaper misshapen vegetables; they’re just as fresh and nutritious and you won’t notice the difference once you’re tucking in. Plus of course, you’ll be doing your bit to reduce food waste.
The humble hummus is one of the most versatile “go-to’s” in my fridge. If you’re eating more vegan or plant-based, it’s the perfect replacement for butter. Chickpea and tahini-based, it’s a great source of plant-based protein, healthy fats and plenty of nutrients, in particular, calcium from the tahini which is made from sesame seeds.
I make batches of hummus regularly; most of the ingredients are larder foods, so it’s simply a case of blending them all together. Then you can top it with all sorts; chopped or sliced sundried tomatoes, sliced cucumber, radishes, chilli flakes or marinated artichokes and a squeeze of lemon. Move over avocado toast!
This is a fancy name for a bowl of leftovers in my house! I always have leftovers in my fridge, even if it’s just enough for one portion, I never throw anything away. Roasted Mediterranean vegetables, roasted cauliflower, hummus, falafels, quinoa, brown rice..get the picture? The great thing about saving your leftovers is that you can put together a healthy lunch bowl like this in minutes…or even less than a minute! Drizzled with balsamic and olive oil or a tahini dressing, you’ve got a hearty, tasty meal in no time.
TOP TIP: Make a big batch of roasted vegetables when the oven’s on, not just what you need for that meal. The leftovers can stay in the fridge all week.
One Pan-fried Eggs and Veg
I very often resort to eggs at lunchtime; rich in nutrients and high protein, I know it’ll keep me full all afternoon, but it’s never eggs on their own. Whether it’s spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes or peppers, I will always add vegetables.This smokey mushroom shakshuka (…yes that’s a thing) feels like such a treat at lunchtime, but it is in fact very easy and quick to put together. If your short of time and want full flavour, this is perfect!!
These recipes and many more are all included in my new online course “Accidentally Vegan; the safe and easy way to transition to a plant-based way of eating” Launch offer ends 31st January – don’t miss out! CLICK HERE
Why not join me on one of my health retreats, where over the course of 4 days, we’ll practice yoga twice daily, walk or cycle in the peaceful and tranquil French countryside at Chateau de la Vigne, cook some of these fabulous recipes together and enjoy delicious healthy meals. With a relaxed programme of discussions, activities, massage treatments and lots of friendly advice, we will explore, over the 4 days, what it really means to “eat well” and how to go about doing so in our busy lives.
We’ll also get out and about and you’ll have an opportunity to visit the beautiful nearby town of Saumur, the local vineyards and even enjoy a private wine-tasting session with a top sommelier.
You’ll leave at the end of the retreat with plenty of empowering knowledge, tasty recipe ideas, as well as a goodie bag and a clear idea of how to embark on and sustain a healthy lifestyle. CLICK HERE for further details.