Quite often, I’m asked questions like “what do you eat?”. Non-vegetarians don’t seem to have any concept of what can be eaten without including meat, but actually it is a lot more simple to follow a vegetarian diet than you may think. Those who crave meat replacements can enjoy Quorn, tofu, and alternative recipes, and if you don’t mind, there are a million things you can eat without any form of meat or meat substitute.
But what about making sure you eat healthy, even when you’re on the move? As a veggie, it’s easy to end up buying fatty sandwiches from the supermarket or just opting for a bowl of chips when you eat out. It’s always possible to make a healthy choice – even when you’re eating lunch at work. Here are some of my tips for things you can eat at work. The important thing is to keep your energy levels up, feel satisfied, and get the nutrients you need, hopefully whilst not spending too much money.
One of my favourite options to make a homemade lunch is a wrap. You can get wholemeal or even gluten free wraps as you prefer, and you only need one to make a good lunch. Fill it with leaf like iceberg lettuce or spinach, or even rocket. Add a little cheese for some healthy calcium and great taste, and some Quorn or tofu for a bit of protein. I like to slice up sausages or tear up the sandwich Quorn slices, and you can also get strips of “chicken” breast. Or ditch the meat substitutes altogether and fill your wrap with veggies: crunchy bell peppers, spicy jalapenos and chilis, sharp red onion, earthy olives, and fresh sweetcorn are all great choices. Avocado can also add a great flavour and texture. You can line your wrap with houmous, pesto, or peanut butter for an extra level of texture too.
You can also go for a salad, but don’t for a second think that means it has to be boring. Lots of fresh vegetables and leaf are always a great idea, and you can add a low fat dressing as well to complete it. Houmous is a great one to use here again. Add something a bit more exciting like black beans or hot sauce to freshen things up. Make a salad composed of tastes you enjoy – don’t just pick ingredients because they are healthy or because they are supposed to go in a salad.
Sandwiches don’t have to be unhealthy. Choose granary or seeded bread, or a pitta for a smaller and healthier option. Pack it with spinach, mango, and Quorn chicken for an exotic, tasty, and healthy option. It’s also very satisfying. If you need a bit more substance, try adding an unusual cheese, preferably something a bit soft and crumbly which will almost melt into the other ingredients. This is sure to keep you going through lunch time and beyond.
For snacks, try popped crisps instead of the normal kind. They have a lot less calories and lower fat content. Look out for the calories in a packet as a guide: you’re doing well if you can find a packet that has less than 100 calories in it, as a general guide. This allows you to try something that feels a bit naughty without actually compromising on the healthy side of things! Rice cakes, crisp breads, and similar snacks are also really good for this. Just find a flavour that you like – don’t stick with seeded varieties if you find them boring, as you will end up reaching for something else to satisfy you. My favourite rice and corn cakes at the moment are paprika flavoured, which gives them a bit more of a kick and a lot more tastiness.
I also like to keep up my dairy intake, as I know that I’m prone to brittle nails if I don’t get enough calcium. A yoghurt is a staple part of my working lunch. You can buy individual yoghurts, something a bit more exciting like the Muller corners, or buy in bulk. Rachel’s are some of my favourite big pots as the flavours are great. All you need is a flask, small lunchbox, or Tupperware container and you can portion out half or a third of the yoghurt at a time. You can add muesli, dried fruit, or even a few small flakes of chocolate to make it more exciting.
Finally, for those who like to snack, consider the small Quorn picnic items. Mini veggie sausages, veggie scotch eggs, and even just “chicken” chunks work well as snacks. You can also go for Graze boxes if you want something different every day. I get a variety box every two weeks, and I find that having a little Graze snack every now and then stops me from getting bored with my lunch routine. Click on the link above if you want to try one for free with my discount code.
What do you do at work to avoid spending too much money on supermarket meals and get healthy? Let me know your lunch suggestions in the topics – I’d love to see some new inspiration!