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Healthy Food For Busy People - Part 2, Power Lunches!

Homemade Freekeh Salad

As you may remember my last blog was the first in a series targeted at Healthy Eating for Busy People. The last one, covered Breakfast, we now move onto Lunch!

Now, I am the first to admit that during the working day, when it comes to lunchtime, I am more than likely, going to want to crack on with what I am doing so either eat on the go or actually go without!

Let me say this right now - going without or eating at your desk, is not good for you. Not only will you not digest your food properly, but more than likely the food consumed won’t be the healthiest on the planet (been guilty of this too!) and it won’t do your mental health any good either; as you don’t give yourself a proper break.

I actually force myself to stop what I am doing and have a proper lunch, even for 30 minutes. Not only do I have a nice lunch, but I find the break can help reset my brain and even assist in helping working out any problems I am chewing over, whilst chewing through a sandwich or salad!

In December 2016 Public Health England (PHE) published the results of their online quiz ‘How are You’. Busy lifestyles were blamed for the rise in health issues amongst the middle aged. In summary ‘Eight out of 10 of the middle aged either weigh too much, drink too much or don’t exercise enough. PHE says 77% of men and 63% of women in middle age [aged 40 to 60] are overweight or obese and that obesity in adults has shot up 16% in the last 20 years. It states that many can’t identify what a ‘healthy’ body looks like, suggesting obesity has become “the new normal”. The diabetes rate among this age group has doubled in the last 20 years in England’, explained the report. (


Firstly, try and get away from your desk. STEP AWAY FROM THE DESK!!

Go and have a walk for 30 minutes and get some exercise. Give yourself a time out and have your lunch away from your desk. Next some equipment; if you take a little time and get prepared, you can have a healthy lunch to hand that fits around your busy schedule. It will be healthier and also cheaper on the wallet too.

Invest in a good Thermos flask, one that is the right size for you to take a portion of lunch in. Also, you may want to invest in a Tiffin box. In India, they have used these for years to have lunch and you can now get them on the Internet. They can come insulated, so you can add something hot or cold and it will remain hot or cold. Plus, you can have separate boxes for separate courses all wrapped up in a neat little tower. So what could you do that is quick to make, filling and healthy? Well, here are two ideas:

Home-made vegetable soup

  • Prep Time – 10 minutes

  • Cooking Time – 30 minutes

  • Makes a large pot that freezes well or keeps in the fridge for a couple of days. This way, you make enough for soup for all week. You can have something in the freezer to dig out if you get home late and haven’t taken it in for lunch.

  • Calories – 125 over 5 generous portions

  • Peel and chop 2 sweet potatoes, 3 carrots, 1 leek, 3 parsnips, 10 sprouts, 1 pepper and 1 onion. Add 10 ml of oil to a large pan and add the leeks and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and stir.

  • Add in 85 g of red lentils and stir, before pouring in 1 litre of vegetable stock.

  • Bring to the boil, before turning down and simmering for 30 minutes.

  • You can try your own combination of vegetables, potato and leek, watercress, mushroom. Any vegetables left over from the weekly roast? Use these too. Why not try home-made chicken soup using the carcass of your Sunday Roast to make a stock and adding in any leftover meat. Just be careful with the chicken soup as this won’t keep as long.

  • Tasty and keeps you full. It also have fibre, protein, and loads of vitamin A, C, B vitamins, manganese, folic acid, calcium, iron and healthy fat.

Salad with a Twist

Prep the night before and leave in the fridge ready for the morning

  • Prep Time – 10 minutes

  • Cooking Time – 30 minutes

  • Calories – 233 calories for the base.

  • Roast 1 tin of chickpeas in a non stick baking tray in the oven with some spices for 30 minutes at 200 C / 180 Fan.

  • Take 45g of uncooked quinoa or Freekeh per person. Add the grains to a saucepan with 300ml of water and 1 vegetable stock cube and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for approximately 20 minutes until the water has been soaked up and the grains look all puffy.

  • Mix with some spinach, pepper, carrots, sun dried tomatoes and olives. Again, you can make a large batch of this and save it in the fridge as it will keep as a base.

  • Then add a different protein to it each day, try fish such as mackerel or salmon one day, cooked chicken the next. The salmon will be an excellent sources of Omega 3 and 6 (the essential fatty acids), mackerel is a good source of vitamins D and B12.

  • The base contains B vitamins, folic acid, iron, fibre, protein, vitamin A and K. If you use Freekeh it has double the amount of fibre and protein than quinoa, is low in carbohydrate and also helps fuel the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut.

If you want any more information, please get in contact with Ridgeway Nutrition.

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