A healthy lunch hour

I’ve been really trying to step up my healthy eating over the last couple of weeks.  If I had three things that I’ve realised are the absolute key to staying on track and making good choices it would be preparation, preparation and preparation.  I’ve started logging everything I eat on MyFitnessPal, and my Personal Trainer has given me a nutrition plan to give me a rough guide to what to have for each meal to get the right amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

It might sound very regimented but it’s not at all – I’m not weighing my food or sticking to a concrete food plan, I’m just keeping an eye on what I eat and trying to get the right balance and roughly hit my calories each day.  The times when I’ve slipped up have been the times when I’ve only got 20 minutes between minutes to grab something on my lunch hour and I end up grabbing a less than healthy sandwich and being tempted by the crisps aisle.  For this reason I’ve tried to pack my lunches every day this week – I’ve been taking in homemade granola or protein bars made from The Food Grinder instagram page, and then cooking up steak, burgers or chicken from Muscle Food along with sweet potato fries, brown rice, quinoa or other yummy accompaniments. It’s so much easier to have something I can just warm up for lunch than having to try and find something that’s healthy and fits my nutrition goals in the local Co-Op.

dreamy packed lunch right there…

img credit: forbes.com

One other item that’s been a bit of a godsend recently when I’m packing my lunches and I haven’t had time to cook some things up the night before is the pots of Kabuto Noodles.  They sell them in our all our local supermarkets and come in mouthwatering flavours like Thai Green Chicken Curry (a rice pot), Chicken Ramen and Beef Pho.  Several of their rice pots and rice noodle pots are also gluten-free which I’d imagine is very handy if you’re coeliac.  Personally I absolutely love all of the Kabuto Noodles flavours and they’re perfect for my packed lunches – they keep me full all afternoon (which sandwiches totally don’t – am I the only one who is hungry about an hour after eating a sandwich?) and with some at only 263 calories a pot they really don’t eat into my calorie goals.  The Chicken Ramen flavour is also high in protein too so it’s a great one to have before my Tuesday spin class!

Kabuto Noodles
Kabuto Noodles
Kabuto Noodles

Lately things have been so busy at work that I’ve often had only a short amount of time between meetings to grab my lunch, and it really doesn’t set you up for the afternoon if you have a rushed lunch break.  I always feel better when I do take proper time out, have a healthy lunch and have some time away from my screen.  I always feel much better come mid-afternoon if I have a lunch break where I…

  1. Read a book, either at my desk or in the park if the weather is nice.  Even reading a magazine or the newspaper is a nice way to switch my brain off from work for a little while.
  2. Go for a walk, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes (getting fresh air really wakes me up for the afternoon and it’s a good way to get my Fitbit steps up!)
  3. Spend 10 minutes either meditating, or even just mindfully eating or focussing on exactly what I’m doing on my break (rather than letting my mind wander).  I know it’s difficult to imagine meditating at work (though we do have a Contemplation Room at the office) but just finding somewhere to zone out and clear my mind a little bit really helps.
  4. Go for a run or to the gym.  I don’t do this often as I don’t have quite enough time to shower and wash my hair afterwards, but when I have I do feel really good all afternoon and it’s nice to have a workout already ticked off by the time you get home.
  5. Run errands – even though it’s not always relaxing, when I’ve ticked a few things off my to do list like going to the Post Office or grabbing something from the supermarket I always feel like I’ve lifted a weight off my shoulders and it’s one less thing to worry about.
  6. Catch up on blog emails – I always try and have a break from the computer but if I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging emails or blog writing I will occasionally catch up on these on my lunch break.  I do prefer to get out and get some fresh air but sometimes if I’m a little stressed about the blog to do list then it’s a good way to get something ticked off.
  7. Meet friends – sometimes my weekday evenings can get quite busy but I’m lucky that I work in the same city as several other friends so I love meeting friends for coffee or lunch during the day as it’s a great way to have a quick catch up.
  8. Do some writing in my notebook – sometimes inspiration will strike whilst I’m at work, so I really enjoy having a little scribble in my notebook on a lunch break.  I often find myself jotting down ideas for blog posts or maybe some snippets of poetry.

What are your tips for having a healthy lunch hour? What sets you up for the afternoon?

*post in collaboration with Kabuto Noodles but all opinions are my own (they really are superrrrr yummy!)