While we all know that eating on the run should be avoided as much as possible, everyone is susceptible to having ‘one of those days’ where you are just running behind from the get-go.
Days like these often mean a late lunch, no lunch or grabbing something on the run. While taking time out for lunch is the ideal, it isn’t always possible. So rather than burying our heads in the sand, and say ‘don’t eat on the run’, let’s have a contingency plan, so the next time you are having ‘one of those days’, you are armed with the best plan of attack.
So what are six of the best grab and go lunch options when there isn’t time to make a healthy, balanced lunch?
Well, first of all, you should know what to look for and why.
A protein source
First and foremost, protein. This nutrient is essential for appetite control. Not having enough protein at lunch will often lead to those afternoon sugar cravings.
Protein is the number one most important nutrient when it comes to satiety, which is the feeling of fullness. If a meal does not have enough protein, by the law of probability, it will more than likely have more carbohydrate.
This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, but pending the type and amount you consume, having too much carbohydrate (or the wrong type) can spike your sugar levels, leave your appetite unsatisfied, and if you are sedentary, it may not be the best option for you to have.
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Plenty of colour – why, because colour is good!
Colour refers to the salad and vegetable component of the meal, which is plentiful in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Currently, more than 90 per cent of Australians don’t meet their daily vegetable intake of five serves.
With a serve constituting one cup of salad or ½ cup of cooked vegetables, and lunch and dinner being the main contributors to our vegetable intake, it is imperative we find a way to maximise our vegetable intake at lunch and dinner.
A small amount of healthy fat – why, because fat is another important nutrient for appetite control.
Gone are the days where fat was once demonised. While excessive amounts of fat intake are not recommended, as per gram, fat has double the energy value of other nutrients (carbs and protein), it certainly has a place in the diet.
Ideally, you should consume a small amount at most main meals and snacks – think nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter.
A good quality carbohydrate
Good quality carbohydrate – why, because carbs are not the devil, and good quality ones very much have a place in the diet.
Carbohydrate foods can be a large contributor of soluble and insoluble fibres, along with resistance starch, which is gaining a lot of interest in the gut health space.