Nutrition guide

How to prepare the healthiest lunch: Nutrition guide for midday meal

Have you ever wondered what is the healthiest lunch? Well, the short answer to that is: whatever you want, within reason. What we mean is that the healthiest lunch for you doesn’t look like a particular sandwich, wrap or salad. It’s really not that prescriptive.

What is the healthiest lunch to eat?

Instead, creating the healthiest lunch to fuel your afternoons is making a plate or bowl of food with a healthy balance of macronutrients (remember: carbs, fats, proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins , minerals) that will fuel your body and brain. .

Want to get healthy meal ideas straight from a dietitian? Scroll down the page

The ultimate goal is to keep you satisfied and energized enough to handle whatever the second half of the day throws at you.

What should I eat for breakfast to lose weight?

Honestly: your breakfast choice is not a magic bullet for healthy weight loss. Rather, safe and sustainable weight loss is the result of a mix of behaviors that you check off every day: good nutrition, a mix of cardio and resistance training, proper rest, and stress management techniques all have their place. role to play.

However, when it comes to your midday meal, if you have a weight loss or maintenance goal in mind, it may be worth limiting your carbs to a quarter of your plate or opting for an open sandwich.

As for protein pronto? Have cooked chicken breasts, smoked mackerel fillets, or canned tuna or, if you’re plant-based, opt for ready-made lentils and drain your canned chickpeas the day before so you can pour them into a salad without faff.

While meat alternatives (looking at your frozen veggie sausages) can be helpful, they’re often full of added ingredients and best not relied on – sliced ​​tofu is a better shout. And a solid rule to follow? Aim for your lunch to be 50% veg, says NHS GP and healthy food blogger Dr Chintal Patel (@drchintalskitchen).

It sounds daunting, but it’s something you can achieve quite easily. “Tossing a generous handful of frozen spinach and peas into your store-bought soup only takes seconds,” she suggests.

Anything else I should know about creating a healthy lunch?

Toppings? Not just for pizza. They present yet another opportunity to add more variety, flavor and nutrients. ” Garnish salads with a tablespoon of seeds or a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs, add sauerkraut to a sandwich, or a few tablespoons of kefir or yogurt to a curry or a daal,” adds dietitian and gut health expert Laura Tilt, (@nutritilty).

And how can I take care of my gut health at breakfast?

One thing to think about when making or buying your lunch is your gut health. “Eating a varied diet is important to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need,” says Tilt, who adds that you should shoot 30 different types of plants per week to encourage diversity in your gut microbes.

And look, even though we’re not saying that to achieve the healthiest lunch you need, you need an Insta-perfect rainbow plate, it’s a good shout out to help you achieve your weekly goal with your midday meal.

“Whether it’s bread, pasta, rice, or another cereal, opt for whole-grain varieties to get the added fiber, which is great nutrition for your gut microbes and good for maintaining your blood sugar and, with them, your energy,” Tilt adds.

Buy pre-cooked cereal packets, like Merchant Gourmet, for convenience, or cook an extra serving the night before if you don’t want to pay extra.

How to build the healthiest sandwich?

If you think sandwiches don’t belong in the realm of the healthiest lunch options, well, we’re happy to report you’re far from it. The bread – and we’ll repeat it until we get bruised in the face – isn’t bad. In fact, whole grain varieties contribute a lot to a healthy and nutritionally varied diet.

What can make it difficult for sandwiches to hit your healthiest lunch goals is the fact that they’re not as easy a vehicle as, say, a salad for getting tons of veggies.

If you have a sarnie, the practicalities mean you’ll probably have to chop vegetables, kid-style, on the side, rather than squeezing them between slices.

“Seven cherry tomatoes count as one serving,” notes Tilt. “Like a 5cm piece of cucumber and a carrot.”

Is it healthy to buy lunch on the go?

When you’re working away from home, consuming the healthiest lunch possible doesn’t come cheap. Before the pandemic, the average Brit working in an office spent £1,580 a year on lunch*, with Londoners shelling out £4,000.

So why were some of us willing to spend so much hard-earned money to buy the healthiest lunch we could find? One word: friendliness. But it’s worth keeping a sharp mind when trying to buy hearty meals, on the go.

“Ready meals labeled as ‘healthy’ are often not as nutritious as they appear,” says Dr Patel. “Often the focus is on calorie content rather than nutrient density. Additionally, ready-to-eat foods can often be high in added sugar and salt, which isn’t always obvious from a quick glance at the label.

That’s not to say that every meal you buy at 1 p.m. isn’t great nutritional news. “A to-go salad or a hot box with cereal can give you more diversity in your diet than you might otherwise get, especially if you’re a creature of habit,” says Tilt.

“You could make a chilli with rice at home, but buy a chilli to go and you could get three types of beans, avocado, coleslaw and yogurt,” she says, of one healthiest lunch option. to take away. “And even if you buy ingredients like edamame beans, olives, and kimchi from your weekly store,” she adds, “chances are you’ll be eating them all week.”

Food for thought, perhaps?


After a few inspirations? 6 healthiest breakfasts from a dietitian

1. Mackerel pâté, toast, red cabbage sauerkraut

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2. Eggs cooked on tray

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3. Chicken soup

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4. Tasty oats

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5. Fast Dal

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6. One-Pan Minestrone

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