Following a healthy eating diet plan to lose pregnancy weight and feeling a bit overwhelmed about how you can incorporate the different recipes and food options into your lifestyle?
The most important thing to remember is to do things that feel right for you. If you don’t have time to always prepare cooked meals or you prefer to have things planned in advance for the week ahead, then do whatever makes things easy for you.
Following a healthy eating plan shouldn’t be stressful, it should be exciting and give you loads of energy, not keep you chained to the oven.
Here are some suggestions to make lunch times easy and healthy – a selection of no cook or make ahead lunch options:
1) Sandwiches, Wraps & Rolls
To ensure you’re choosing the healthiest options when preparing sandwiches or wraps, start with the right base. Multigrain, wholemeal or rye are all better options when choosing breads, wraps or rolls to make sandwiches. White breads usually don’t provide you with the right nutrients and don’t keep you feeling full for very long so it’s easy to reach out for a snack you don’t need.
Rather than adding butter to your base try avocado, hummus or low fat cottage cheese. Then to fill, include some protein e.g. ham, shaved chicken, turkey breast or tuna in spring water plus lots of salad veggies – tomato, lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot, capsicum, sprouts etc. Fresh herbs also taste delicious and add loads of healthy flavour.
Get organised on the weekend and chop up a selection of your favourite salad vegetables, grate carrots or beetroot and store in containers in the fridge. Freeze some healthy bread/wrap options and then all you need to do is defrost and prepare before work or during the day.
Be creative and find out which combinations you like the best and if you’re in doubt about calories and nutrients when making wraps or sandwiches then read our information here or look at The Healthy Mummy Calorie Bible for further details.
Easy to make ahead, freeze or refrigerate and have on hand to heat up for a healthy, tasty and satisfying lunch. Choose from a selection of delicious soup recipes here that you can make for the family dinner and keep leftovers for your lunch or heat up in a mug for a yummy snack.
Set aside some time on the weekend to make up a couple of soups and your lunches for the week ahead will be sorted.
Salads are similar to sandwiches and wraps – choose a protein, a selection of salad vegetables and some grains and you have an easy, nutrient filled, healthy lunch.
Plan ahead on the weekend and have some cooked quinoa or cous cous in the fridge or some small tins of lentils, chickpeas or other beans in the pantry and then add some chopped vegetables – cucumber, spring onion, red onion, cherry tomatoes, carrots and capsicum are all ideal.
You could also add some tinned tuna in spring water, some low fat feta or sliced chicken breast that you cooked earlier and have stored in the fridge.
Adding some fresh herbs will add loads of flavour without the need for lots of dressing – just some lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper is delicious.
A sprinkle of chopped nuts or seeds on the top will add an extra dose of goodness and keep you feeling satisfied.
You can combine all your grain, vegetable and herb ingredients and place in individual serving containers to take to work or have at home and just add the dressing and proteins when you’re ready to eat.
For some salad combination inspiration, take a look at our salad ideas here.
4) Out & About Snacks
Our intentions are often there but then life gets in the way. We plan to take a break at lunch time and prepare a healthy meal but work, the kids or chores often get in the way and interrupt our healthy eating routines.
Before you head out for the day keep some healthy snacks in your bag (you probably do it for your children so don’t forget yourself!). Nuts and crackers are ideal or a piece of fruit. If you’re extra organised and know that you probably won’t get time to stop for lunch then pack your own lunchbox, including a cool pack if you won’t be able to keep it in the fridge all day.
Hummus or low fat cottage cheese together with some sticks of cucumber, carrot or capsicum. A tin of tuna in spring water or some shaved ham and a rye mountain bread wrap. A small tub of natural yoghurt with some sliced strawberries to add are all ideal components of an easy “on the go lunch”.
A lunch box like this is also handy even if you’re staying at home all day – get in the habit of preparing it in the morning and then you’re all set for a healthy day of eating.
When you’re preparing any cooked healthy eating recipes, think about whether they would be suitable to freeze or refrigerate and make extra so you have leftovers. Soups are obviously a good one but so too are pasta dishes, stews, slices, healthy home made pizza, stir fries and curries.
Store the leftovers in containers suitable for freezing and defrost for lunch or another dinner. Or keep individual serves of leftovers in the fridge to eat the next day at lunch.
Read more about freezing leftovers and some ideas here.
It’s not too hard to think about a convenient way to incorporate a healthy eating diet plan into your lifestyle. Plan ahead on the weekend and for those days when you won’t have time or can’t be bothered preparing a cooked lunch, our suggestions above will keep you on track to healthy eating.
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