Winter is well and truly upon us all. In the spirit of our Winter Warmer Blog series, we thought it a great idea to discuss Lunch as the second most important meal after breakfast. It is essential in generating sustained energy levels by regulating our blood glucose levels optimally throughout the day. This dramatically improves our performance of daily tasks and has a positive impact on our appetite and consequent weight control. A nutritionally balanced lunch not only avoids the need for inappropriate snacking late in the afternoon but helps us to enjoy a lighter dinner.
Unpack your lunch box…
A nutritionally balanced lunch packed with fibre, anti-oxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals consists of the following food items:
- Low fat, omega-3 fat rich protein foods such as low fat / fat free yoghurt; white fish or fatty fish (peppered mackerel/ sardines/ pilchards/ salmon/ tuna); low fat cheeses; chicken (without skin), soya beans; Tofu; lean cold meats (pastrami/ roast beef/ham)
- Whole grain, high- fibre, low GI starches such as wild/ brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, stamp koring, canned chick peas, lentils and beans as well as whole wheat crackers and heavy seed breads.
- Vegetables and/or fruit – variety of salads, vegetable soups and fresh fruit
- Fats consisting of mono unsaturated fatty acids such olive oil based salad dressings, avocado pear, “lite” mayonnaise, olives and all types of nuts and seeds. The nuts not only provide healthy fats and additional bioactive substances that lower cholesterol levels but a tasty dressing makes all the difference to a salad.
The How-To’s and To-Do’s…
- Invest in a good lunch container and, if you are spending time on the road, a cool box and ice packs. That way, storage of meals is easy, hassle-free and spills are avoided.
- Dedicate the necessary time in preparing or delegating the task at home or at the office. Plan ahead over the weekend or in the evening when you have the time and prepare lunches in advance, so that the busy mornings don’t become more manic with another addition to the To-Do list.
- Prepare a soup packed with a variety of vegetables and barley on the weekend or alternatively buy a pre prepared chunky vegetable soup in a bag. Add ½ can of beans (butter or kidney beans) lentils or chick peas to the soup for protein power that will also increase the satiety of the meal. If you use a soup without the barley add a slice of health /rye bread or whole grain crackers for sustained energy throughout the afternoon.
In line with our Winter Warmer blog series, why not try the soup recipe below – which is guaranteed not to take more than ten minutes to prepare. A Winter win, we say!
Serving size 300g
15ml (1 Tbsp) canola/olive oil
150g (1 medium) onion, chopped
5ml (1 tsp) garlic, crushed
3ml (1 tsp) mild curry powder
1ml (1/4 tsp) turmeric
1ml (1/4 tsp) ground cumin
300g (3) raw chicken breast fillets, cut into small chunks
100g (1/2 cup) raw brown / white basmati rice
20ml (4 tsp) chicken stock powder mixed with 1, 5 litres boiling water
300g zucchini, washed and coarsely grated
½ Packet white onion soup powder
- Heat the oil in a large pot.
- Stir-fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes.
- Add the curry powder, turmeric and ground cumin and stir until mixture is fragrant.
- Add the chicken and rice. Stir, and then add the hot chicken stock.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the baby marrows and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Mix ½ packet white onion soup powder and add to thicken – boil for 1 minute and serve with toasted seeded health or rye bread.
Nutritional analysis per portion
850 kJ Energy; 16 g Carbohydrates; 16 g Protein, 9 g Fat and 100 mg Sodium.