By Mary du Heaume – Dietitian APD, HBF Member Health Coach

Eating lunch together

Have you ever had the urge to skip lunch, or eat in front of the computer because you thought it would “be more productive”?

For a lot of Australians, this can be tempting. Especially when time is short and work is piling up. However, like crumbs congregating in your keyboard, it can be counter-productive – especially if you need the energy to get through your day.

Benefits of a healthy lunch

Eating a healthy lunch helps you maintain a strong metabolism, replenish blood glucose and prevent afternoon fatigue. It allows you to consume many wonderful foods that provide the nutrients and energy required to be fit and energetic. Lunch is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a couple of serves of vegetables or salad to ensure you are getting your 5 serves every day. Did you know only 7% of us do?

Lunch also provides a break to recharge and refresh for the afternoon and the opportunity to have a much needed social chit chat, a quick bit of exercise or just a quiet time out from the day’s routine.

Lunch ideas

So what is best to eat with your veggies or salad? To create a balanced lunch you should include a protein, such as:

  • Egg
  • Skinless chicken
  • Tuna
  • Ham
  • Legumes (chickpeas, baked beans or kidney beans)

Then, add a good quality low GI carbohydrate, like:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Wholegrain bread

The best carbs to choose are ones that contribute plenty of other nutrients such as vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants.

But don’t forget the shopping list

Healthy eating starts with healthy shopping. Stock up at the beginning of the week with the ingredients for a great lunch every day. Include canned and pantry items such as tuna, bean mix, corn, fruit, wholegrain crackers or rice/corn thins. When the fridge is looking sad and empty, there are still options for a healthy homemade lunch.

Finally – don’t forget those little extra’s that can provide a real “zing” of flavour.  This could be your favourite relish, herb, spice, a healthy oil or a tasty vinegar for dressings.

For further information and some great ideas on creating healthy lunches, check out LiveLighter’s handy salad and sandwich builder guides.

The content of this article is not tailored for any particular individual’s circumstances. The author does not take into account your physical condition, medical history or any medication you may be taking. Any advice or information provided by the author cannot replace the advice of your health care professional. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent those of HBF unless clearly indicated.