Forgot your lunch? Try some healthier alternatives

Forgot to take your lunch to work with you today? Check out our tips on choosing healthier alternatives when eating out. 

It’s Thursday and you’re pretty chuffed with the array of healthy lunches you’ve packed all week. But disaster strikes when you’re halfway to work and realise that you’ve left your healthy packed lunch at home. 
 
What now? Give in to the temptation of hot chips and feel guilty later, or worse still, skip lunch altogether and risk overeating at dinner? Why not get away from the screen and explore some healthier lunch options with your work buddies?
 
Accredited Bupa dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo says a forgotten lunch can be a great opportunity to stretch your legs and find healthy cafes and takeaway shops. 
 
Here are a few of D'Angelo’s tips to help you pick healthier options when you’re out for lunch.

Take control

  • Order a sandwich made from scratch rather than going with a ready-made option. That way you know exactly what’s in it. 
  • Visit a café where you can create your own salad or choose toppings for a baked potato. 
  • If things aren't made to order, don’t feel shy about asking for modifications. Ditch butter, cheese, sour cream and chips. Instead ask for an extra serve of vegetables or salad.

If things aren't made to order, don't feel shy about asking for modifications.

Eat to stay full until dinner

  • Balance quality carbs with lean proteins – studies have shown that protein helps us stay fuller for longer. Try adding boiled eggs, tuna, turkey or grilled chicken to your salad, sandwich or wrap.
  • Fibre also helps lower the GI of a meal, which helps us stay satisfied – another great reason to add extra salad or veggies to your lunch and to choose the wholegrain option. Try a hearty bean and lentil soup.

Visit a supermarket

The supermarket is a great option as you can buy plenty of ingredients to create your own healthy and filling salads, sandwiches or wraps. Mix raw salad items with proteins such as kidney beans, tuna, low-fat cottage cheese or lean meats, then create a simple dressing with olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

The supermarket is a great option as you can buy plenty of ingredients to create your own healthy and filling salads, sandwiches and wraps.

salmon sushi

Healthy restaurant and café choices

Try healthier options from the menu, such as: 

  • Italian: Minestrone soup, pasta with a tomato-based sauce, bruschetta, grilled lean meat or fish grilled or steamed; with vegetables or salad. 
  • Mexican: A naked burrito with black or pinto beans, brown rice, fresh tomato salsa and fresh salads. Watch your portions of cheese and commercially made guacamole and sour cream. 
  • Japanese: Edamame, miso soup and avocado/salmon/raw tuna/vegetable sushi. 
  • Indian: Chicken or fish tikka, tandoori chicken, and prawn or chana masala with basmati rice. 
Remember to watch your portion size and 'extras' such as cheese or commercial dressings, which can often contain lots of saturated fat and/or salt.

Another benefit of forgetting your lunch is that it's a great excuse to get away from your desk and go for a walk. So next time you forget your lunch, embrace the possibilities and seek out some local healthier options. 
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