Sick and tired of opening your lunch bag at work each day to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or better yet left over mac and cheese? Who has time to cook when you have a 12-hour day including work, commuting and running errands? When you live on your own and you don’t have another person to cook for it’s easy to just plan on buying a McDonald’s wrap for lunch. But, Paul Gill, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist from Gill Training provides some tips for healthy eating and a few ideas for creating a healthy and well-balanced lunch every day.
“Women aged 19 to 30 should be getting 1900 to 2350 calories per day. The more active you are, the more calories you require. But if you are trying to promote fat loss reduce your caloric intake by up to 20 percent. Instead of eating 3 meals a day, it’s much healthier to eat 5 smaller meals. At 3 meals, each should be about 700 calories and should balance the 3 types of macronutrients: fat, carbohydrates both fibrous and starchy, and protein,” says Paul.
Here are 5 healthy lunch ideas that are easy to make and good for both your body and soul:
For the Vegetarian: Cottage Cheese mix with a side of bean salad, 680 calories
For this meal, it’s a cottage cheese bowl with blueberries, rich in calcium, vitamin D and C, and a source of antioxidants. As a side, eat a black bean salad mixed with canola oil, a half cup of celery, and spice it with refreshing cilantro, basil and lemon juice.
For the Vegan: Spicy Stir-Fry 697 Calories
For this vegan friendly meal mix 1-cup soybean, 1-cup chickpeas, 1.5 cups broccoli and 4 tsp sunflower oil. Add a tablespoon each of chili peppers and lemon juice for an extra kick. The soya beans are rich in fiber and magnesium, while the chickpeas are a great source of folic acid, a nutrient important for women who plan to have children down the road.
For the Pescetarian: Tuna Salad 632 Calories
Mix 7 oz tuna, a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids with ¾ cup of white beans rich in potassium and iron, and 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes quartered with 4 teaspoons olive oil and scallions or red pepper to taste. Add spice to the dish with celery, black pepper, and lemon juice. Try to avoid canned tuna because of high levels of mercury and opt for fresh fish cooked and then shredded into pieces, the difference in taste alone is worth the extra effort.
For the Meat Eater: Chicken Breast Sandwich with veggie fixings: 571 Calories
Make a chicken breast sandwich, high in Vitamin B on whole wheat bread, a good source of fibre, vitamin B and iron. The bread should be coated with olive oil, a good source of fat (no not mayo!). Ideally the chicken breast would be home made and not processed deli meat, which contain huge amounts of salt. As for making the chicken more lively you can add the following herbs to the chicken during cooking:0.5 tbsp Italian seasoning, 0.25 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp lemon juice. Add interest to your meal with veggies like tomatoes, pickles, avacado, or lettuce according to your taste!
For the omg-I-forgot-to-pack-lunch Lady: Fast food that won’t make you look frumpy
“When eating out I always remind clients to balance the three macronutrients as if you are eating home cooked meals. Just make sure nothing in the meal is deep fried, or covered with sugar or salt. All of these ingredients are cheap and make food taste amazing, but they make you pack on the calories.” The following are some nutritious options for when you are on the go. At Subway Restaurants opt for a 6-inch turkey breast sub on wheat with double the meat, oil dressing and all the vegetables you can handle. Healthy Greek’s whole wheat chicken wrap with a house salad & balsamic vinaigrette dressing also balances out one’s nutrition needs. Or grab Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken salad with a side-baked potato; remember no fried foods, so resist the temptation to change your side to fries!