5 ways to lunch like a dietitian

Looking for some lunch inspiration? We peek into five dietitians’  lunchboxes to see what they are eating.  

Skipped lunch today? A survey of 1400  Australians found that one in three of us skip lunch at least once a week . And many of those who take the time to eat lunch choose fatty, fried, or takeaway food. 

For some quick, yet nutritious lunch ideas, we ask five dietitians what they eat for lunch. 

Pack healthy snacks along with lunch  

High-fibre snacks can help you feel fuller for longer, which may then reduce the amount of food intake at subsequent meals, and help limit your overall food consumption .

"Along with my lunch, I also make sure that I always have some snacks with me," says Dr Trent Watson, accredited practising dietitian. "I include two pieces of fruit, whatever is in season, one 200g tub of low-fat yoghurt, and four high-fibre crackers with margarine and Vegemite. For lunch, I prepare a sandwich  on seeded bread, with some form of lean meat, such as chicken, and load up the salad." 

Use leftovers 

Making a little extra food for dinner and then bringing it for lunch the next day can be a cheap option, especially if you’re bored of sandwiches.
 
Reheating meals doesn't mean you'll miss out on flavour. In fact, some dishes may have a more developed flavour the next day so there's less need for adding salt. 
  
"Most of the time my lunch is leftover dinner," says Professor Clare Collins, Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia . "I pack it as I'm clearing away the meal the night before. That way I get lots of veg and a big yum factor." 
 

Make it colourful 

Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit  is a good way to help ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients. According to Nutrition Australia, each coloured food carries its own set of unique vitamins, minerals, nutrients and plant chemicals called phytochemicals  that may help fight disease.
 
"Today I had leftover corn cob and salmon from last night’s dinner, mixed in with cherry tomatoes, lettuce, red capsicum and rocket with balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Finished with my homemade ricotta chia banana cake. Delicious!" says Simone Austin , accredited practising dietitian. 
 
portion of leftovers for lunch

Add some herbs 

Try adding herbs and spices to your meals, to help reduce your sodium, kilojoule and fat intake, while making healthy meals more appealing and tasty. 

"I usually have a salad for lunch and I love to include fresh herbs," says Annette Byron, accredited practising dietitian. "Today’s salad is roast pumpkin, spinach and rocket, spring onion or chives, low-kilojoule French dressing, fresh parsley (or you could use coriander), natural yoghurt, smoked paprika and chopped roasted almonds." 

Have tinned fish on hand 

Fish is a good source of omega-3  fatty acids, which are good for heart health and well-being in general. The Australian Heart Foundation recommends eating fish, including oily fish, in your diet, two to three times a week. 
 
"One of my go-to lunches is a salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, with a small tin of tuna  or salmon," says Natasha Murray, accredited practising dietitian. "I use the tins of tuna with vinegar added. And don't forget to drink plenty of water  a day." 
 
Whatever you choose for your lunch, try to include a good balance of lean  protein, fruit and veg , dairy and heart healthy  fats, to help fill you up until dinnertime. 
 
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