4 Tips to Healthy Lunch Recipes.

Putting together healthy lunch recipes doesn't have to be rocket science. Lunch box ideas come in many varieties, it all depends on where you're going to be, what you have available and how much time you're going to have to prepare and eat it.

When you're focusing on losing weight, and you're making changes, it sounds great to develop some gourmet foods to add to your healthy lunch recipes book, the problem is, there isn't much point if you can't maintain them.

Start with small changes. Here are 4 great tips that will get you started.

  • Include some carbohydrates i.e.. bread, starchy vegetables, rice, or pasta
  • Include some protein i.e. lean ham, cream cheese, tinned fish (not in oil), chicken
  • Include vegetables
  • And because this is about losing weight
  • Watch how much your eating!

Healthy lunch ideas…doing what you know

If you usually take sandwiches in your lunch box, there's probably some good reasons for this.

You don't have to think in the morning what you're going to do, sandwiches obviously fit in with your lunch routine, otherwise you wouldn't still be taking them, so they work for you.

While there are many other lunch box ideas, let's work with what you're already doing, and start turning you're existing habits into healthier ones that will also have you losing weight.

Here are some healthy lunch recipes tips for doing sandwiches better:

  • Replace processed white breads with high fibre and grain varieties. They'll fill you up for longer.I've always enjoyed various breads so this wasn't too hard for me. But I did find that these breads often come in much bigger slices, so when it came to lunch time I would throw the top slice out. As good as these breads are for you, they are still supplying energy that you don't necessarily need, which is why it's going on your hips. So ditch a slice.
  • Get rid of the margarine and butter. Yes, we all need some fat, but we use approximately 1 teaspoon of butter on each slice of bread, that's 45 calories on each slice before you start. I swapped to low fat cream cheese, spread thinly, otherwise you're defeating the purpose, and mustards instead.
  • Add more vegetables to the sandwiches you're already eating. Grated carrot, some onion, thinly sliced cucumber. I aim for 3 vegetables on each sandwich.
  • Pick one protein, not two! You have to love those sandwiches that have both meat and cheese, but really, while protein helps you feel full, pick on or the other and choose sandwich meats that are lean, or 95% fat free, there's a lot of them about now. And, as much as you may think they wont taste as good, it's often all in your perception. I swapped the family to lean ham and they didn't even notice!
  • And of course, how big are your sandwiches and how many are you eating? IF they're big because they're packed with 3 or 4 vegetables, great! If they're hugely stacked with fried chicken and loads of butter…think again! How much moving are you actually doing to use all that energy? Think smaller! Think filling, but less quantity, think only that which you need!

Work with what you're already doing, make changes to your existing sandwiches, and keep going. Put the ingredients you need for those sandwiches in the fridge, and make a small change every couple of days.

That way you're not shocking yourself too fast into so many changes, that you don't wind up keeping any of them.

Other lunch box ideas

Healthy lunch recipes don't have to be specific lunch ideas. Here are some other things that you might like for lunch:

  • Leftovers. These are a great easy option. Remember though this is lunch, so unless its going to be your main and biggest meal for the day, careful on the serving size.
  • Take note of where you'll be though. If you take leftovers that need warming up, will you have access to a microwave, and time to do it? Missing lunch because you've chosen an option that isn't feasible, isn't much good.
  • In inter, I'm a big fan of a cup of soup and a slice of thick bread. There are a great selection of soup packets these days, that are low in fat and salt. Grab a couple, throw them in your bag, a piece of thick grain bread from the pantry in a sandwich bag, and hey presto, lunch! Add a piece of fruit to your bag on the way out the door, and that'll get you through lunch time.
  • Think breakfast! Seriously, some of that bircher muesli you have for breakfast, into a container and off to work. "Lunch" defines the time of day, not the food you eat. So those healthy options you have for breakfast or dinner, work just as well as lunch ideas.

Healthy lunch recipes don't have to be stressful, the 4 tips at the beginning of this page are a great place to start.

Make your changes slowly, work with what you have to start with, and have some back-up ideas on a note on your fridge for more adventurous stuff.

Have the things in your pantry to put your healthy lunch recipes together, otherwise you have no chance!

And watch how much your eating. It's easy to not realise just how much we've got into the habit of eating, not because we need it, otherwise we wouldn't be getting fat, but because we've become used to having that much.

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