It’s back to school, college and university time for a load of us or our kids this September and October and I know what a struggle eating healthily can be when it comes to lunch time options. Being a student aside, it can still be a challenge to eat well when you are working, or like me, are at home but don’t have a lot of time to prepare meals. It’s often the case that quick to grab but less healthy options become more attractive.
Holland and Barrett are without a doubt one of my favourite places to find healthier options and they challenged me to look at how we can make lunch boxes more healthy. Firstly, we have to have a word about cost. It can be the case that healthier foods, especially packaged on the go options, are more expensive, but I always see them as an investment in your health. You may even find that some options are cheaper than the less healthy alternatives depending on where you shop.
Healthy Lunch Box Swaps
Sweet treats >>
Swap things like chocolate bars for a square or two of dark chocolate or try the new ohso probiotic chocolate. For afternoon sugar hits, try some dried fruit and nuts or fresh fruit but if you need a harder sweet hit Beauty Sweeties are a great alternative with health promoting ingredients.
Granola / cereal bars >>
Swap traditional cereal or granola bars or flapjacks for home made healthier versions, or try a snack bar such as a Trek bar, Nakd bar or my favourite, a Bounce Ball
Instead of a bag of Walkers, try something like Popchips (which I adore!) or more filling Hummus Chips which are made with chickpea flour. Another fave are the Garbanzo beans snacks which are also super filling and low in calories.
Stodgy sandwiches >>
There are of course lots of different options instead of sandwiches. I love my crustless quiches, but home made soup or chilli in a flask or a wholegrain salad like my chickpea, quinoa and pesto salad are also good options. If you still like something bready try a wholemeal pitta bread stuffed with roast chicken, turkey, tuna, hummus etc and lots of spinach. Chopped up veggies are also great to add in for extra veggie goodness.
Energy drinks >>
Instead of reaching for the Red Bull try a coconut water. I think it should go without saying how much I love my coconut water! For better value buy a large carton and make yourself one of my coconut water mocha’s to go or try a Vita Coco Cafe or Mocha for an added hit of caffeine in place of an iced latte.
Breakfast on the go >>
If you need breakfast on the go options things like corn cakes, rice cakes or these melba toasts with nut butter and a piece of fruit would make a decent option. For something extra filling a bowl of high protein muesli like oomf Bench Pressed Oats with almond milk should keep you going all morning. Other ideas like overnight oats in a jar (just oats, some chia seeds and almond milk mixed together and left overnight) or my gorgeous baked oatmeal, a slice of which can be wrapped in foil to eat on the go are also great options.
Overall I think the key to healthy lunches is preparation, but it is good to know that you can grab some healthier options from Holland and Barrett stores when you need to. No excuses for that Greggs pasty ;-)
Do you struggle to have healthy options for lunch? What are your favourite healthy lunch box swaps?
*I was provided with Holland and Barrett products to illustrate this post