Although there’s a part of me that wants to do nothing but eat pizza and ice cream for the foreseeable future, there is more than a little merit in eating healthy once in a while. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson make it look easy, but then again, they’ve also got endless options, dedicated personal trainers and enough cash to make Scrooge McDuck blush.
But here in the real world, I'm sure you'll all agree that eating healthier is pretty tough.
Sure, we could talk about “discipline”, “meal plans” or “not eating fast food every day” until the cows come home, but those all sound boring. Not to mention difficult. But hold your horses; there’s an easier way to get up on that healthy pony, and it all comes down to how you handle that wild, unpredictable mustang known as lunch. Here are just a few effortless ways to make your lunches healthier. Saddle up.
1. Ditch the fizzy drinks
You may not realise it, but one really simple thing that makes all the difference in a healthy lunch: the amount of calories in your drink. Whether you're talking fizzy drinks or even fruit juice, the beverage you enjoy alongside your lunch is loaded with sugars and calories, and when it comes to fat burn and losing a lot of weight, that's a key issue. By having a bottle of water with your lunch instead of a fizzy drink, you can do a real number on your daily calorie intake. Plus, proper hydration means you can think clearer, your body works better, and you can take on the second half of the day knowing you're truly at your best. Sound boring? Add a little lime or lemon for a fruity twist.
2. Snack smart
Now I'm not about to tell you to give up on snacking altogether (what kind of monster do you take me for?), but by carefully choosing what to nibble on in between meals, you can go into your lunch break feeling hungry, but not hungry enough that you're swallowing all before you like a vacuum powered by chips. So the key things to remember are to keep your portions small, not to mention nutritious and filling enough to keep from you biting your coworkers by the time noon rolls around. Some unsalted nuts, lightly salted popcorn or veggies with hummus should do the trick.
3. Go for PrepCo
In that initial rush, most people are left wasting away their lunch hour in queues; queues for restaurants, queues for food trucks. Queues for the microwave, even. Let's be honest: nobody's got time for all that waiting in line. Especially when there's a much simpler option. PrepCo's [link to PrepCo website?] range of meals is ideal for the healthy luncher who likes to keep it breezy, and with delightful dishes like Thai Green Curry Rice and Quinoa, Indian Spiced Lentils or Mexican Chilli Rice, you've got a ton of healthy options right there at your fingertips. Made with natural ingredients and containing one of your recommended five daily fruits and vegetables, PrepCo can take you from starving to satisfied in just five minutes. Plus, with its nifty portable packaging, you can enjoy PrepCo while crushing it at your desk, or out in the sunshine when you take a well-deserved break.
4. Forget about sides
When you splash out at lunchtime, it's really tempting to go for those delicious sides, but that extra bit of pitta or that helping of chips is doing your healthy lifestyle no favours. In general, sides make for some pretty great comfort food, but they're also packed with calories you don't need in your life, and they're the mortal enemy to many a healthy lifestyle across the land. Instead of going for sides, it's worth choosing a larger main (or even a second one) to keep the hunger pangs at bay - they've got more calories, but there's also more protein and other nutritious stuff alongside that, to make the entire meal a lot healthier and more balanced.
5. Switch to whole grain
If you're anything like me or most people who enjoy life, then carbs are pretty much the lifeblood of your existence. Whether we're talking pasta, pizza or just a nice grilled cheese sandwich, carbs are way more important to me than any lover or family member could ever be. Unfortunately, with their high glycemic index (causing your blood sugar levels to spike and leaving you craving more of the bad stuff later on), your favourite foods are just not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. At least not in their current guise. But by switching to whole grain bread or whole grain pasta, you can enjoy all of your favourite treats, just a little bit browner. They're loaded with fibre which keeps you fuller for longer and aids your digestion, so yes: it's entirely possible to get abs just by eating pizza. Provided it's whole grain.
6. Have some warm water before/after your lunch
After you've chowed down on the last bite of your lunch, you're going to want to wash down your meal with a nice glass of cold water. Hydration, as we've already discussed, is pretty important, but warm water has plenty more benefits than cold when it comes to aiding your digestion improving your overall health. Drinking warm water helps to tighten up your intestines, helping them to function more effectively. It can even help you to lose weight; drinking warm water boosts your metabolism, ensuring you burn more calories without having to spend a second longer at the gym. What's not to like?
7. Swap out those sauces
Ketchup, mustard and BBQ sauce are all delicious condiments to add to any meal, whether you're talking simple sandwiches, big burgers or pineapple pizzas. But sadly, they're also loaded with sugar, fat, not to mention other things that aren't exactly helpful to any healthy eater. The solution here, though, is pretty simple: instead of mayonnaise, why not try some nutritious Greek yogurt, or maybe even some avocado? Healthy condiments aren't exactly the same as healthy meals, but with plenty of protein and healthy fats, you can make a huge difference to your lunch with pretty much no effort on your part.
Well, there you have it folks. These changes are so simple you'll barely realise you've even made them, but once you do, you'll be stunned as to how much better you feel for doing nearly nothing at all. Now get out there, and enjoy the delicious and healthy lunch you know you deserve.