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Healthy lunches for the busy worker!

Published 04 January 2014

The following post is part of our guest blogger series; today brought to you by Nutrition Coach Susan hart.

Many of us have heard the old saying, “Breakfast of a king, lunch of a prince and dinner of a pauper”; a simple eating regime for a healthy life style. While we focus on encouraging people to eat breakfast and enjoy a healthy dinner, all to often what we do at lunch is overlooked. A busy life, work and daily errands can easily consume your day resulting in many either overlooking lunch or looking for a quick, but often unhealthy, fix. Nutrition coach Susan Hart, explains why skipping lunch is bad idea for you and your business and offers some great easy to make, delicious and quick lunch ideas that will keep you going through the day.

Why is skipping lunch a bad idea? Our brain requires nutrients to do its job properly (about 20% of our total calorie intake feeds our brain) and helps us to concentrate and aid our memory. If we don’t give our bodies a regular supply of fuel in the form of healthy meals then we risk fatigue and lack of concentration which will naturally have an impact on your daily productivity

Try these quick and nutritious ideas that will keep you going and won’t have you piling on the pounds

Before you leave the house in the morning (or do it the night before) make up some rice cakes with peanut butter. Try to use wholenut peanut butter as it doesn’t contain sugar and has less fat and salt than other types. Peanut butter is also a great protein that will fill you up for longer. If you fancy a bit of sweetness you could always slice ½ a banana on top. They are great for slow releasing energy and for balancing out your salt levels.

If you are rushing out in your lunch hour then think about having a bowl of warming and nutritious soup before you go. Shop bought varieties like ‘Covent Garden’ are very convenient if a little bit pricey, so why not make your own, then you can add all the things you love and know that it only has fresh ingredients in it. Bring it to work in a microwavable container and in less than 2 minutes your soup in ready.

Try this delicious Carrot and mint soup – serves 1, 173 calories

  • 1 tsp linseed oil
  • 175g carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 250 ml vegetable stock – made with ½ tsp vegetable bouillon
  • few dried chilli flakes
  • 35 ml orange juice
  • 1 tbsp (5g) finely chopped fresh mint
  • ground black pepper (and salt if necessary)

Warm the oil in a medium saucepan add the carrots, onion and garlic. Cover with a lid and reduce to a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened -about 10 minutes.

Pour in the stock and the chilli flakes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Put the vegetables and stock in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Add in the orange juice and mint. Stir and season to taste. Serve in a warmed soup bowl with a slice of wholemeal bread.

If soup doesn’t excite you what about a winter salad; packed with colourful seasonal veg that is full of vitamins and antioxidants as well as calcium enriched feta cheese. The mushrooms will provide a much needed concentration boost and the pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called tryptophan that will have you feeling calm.

  • 1 large handful of mixed salad leaves
  • 100g of roasted butternut squash (cooked in oil and a tsp of cumin and coriander)
  • 100g of sauted mixed mushrooms (cooked in garlic and oil)
  • 1 tbls pumpkin seeds
  • 25g crumbled feta cheese.
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Finally if you are really busy and skip lunch then go for a skinny latte with 2 squares of dark chocolate the side. The milk will provide you with lots of calcium for healthy bones and vitamin B12 for concentration and memory; the protein to fill you up and the caffeine in the coffee and dark chocolate will give you an energy rush to get you through the afternoon!

About the author:

Susan Hart (MFHT, MFNT) is a leading nutrition coach and chef based in Nottingham. With a true passion for food, Susan works hard to promote healthy eating with an emphasis on how it can effect one's well being without compromising taste and the joy of eating. She has worked in catering and in the educational sector and works with private/public commercial enterprises and individual clients; helping them to meet their dietary and nutritional needs.

In her own words: "As a nutrition coach I believe in and practice healthy eating. But why should you, your family or your organisation be concerned about what you eat? Because eating healthily helps you look and feel better. Whatever your unique situation is, I offer individually tailored support to help you develop a healthier lifestyle."

Find out more about Susan Hart, visit her website , follow her on twitter @SH_nutrition and join her on facebook

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