Avoid pre-packed sandwiches and calorie-laden ready meals in the supermarket aisle. Prepare these meals a little far in advance for tasty, healthy and balanced food that will fuel or help you recover after a lunchtime workout.
Swap: A baked potato with baked beans and cheese
For: A Baked Sweet Potato with lean mince chilli and broccoli
Why: Normally seen as quite a healthy lunch, a jacket potato has a high GI, which will leave you with an energy slump in the afternoon, and some baked beans brands pack their tins with sugar and salt. A personal trainer’s favourite, sweet potatoes are a great source of slow releasing carbohydrates, and packed with vitamins, iron and magnesium, which is necessary for healthy muscles and bones. Lean mince chilli provides a spicy protein hit, and broccoli is high in fibre and potassium, which promotes muscle growth.
Swap: A chicken and bacon club sandwich
For: Grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado and tomatoes on rye bread
Why: A club sandwich is packed with calories and fat, and whilst delicious, can be made in a much healthier way than you’ll find in a sandwich bar. Swap white or normal brown bread (which is still quite sugary) for wholegrain rye, and grill your own chicken breast at home rather than buying pre-packaged chicken. Skip the mayonnaise, which has no nutritional value, but mush up an avocado (packed with healthy fats) with a bit of lemon juice or olive oil to stop your sandwich feeling dry. Lettuce and tomatoes make your sandwich feel a bit more like a club. Love bacon in your club? Add cured meat like Breasola instead – it’s much less fatty and surprisingly low calorie.
Swap: A can of fizzy drink, a smoothie or latte.
For: Iced water with lemon and a pinch of sea salt, or a mint tea
Why: A lot of lunch ‘meal deals’ involve sugary drinks like Coke and pre-made smoothies, which have a huge sugar content and aren’t as healthy as they seem. You’ll be dehydrated and have lost salts after a workout, so adding a pinch of salt to a pint of water (you won’t notice it) will help replenish what you’ve lost – a squeeze of lemon can also make water more interesting. For a healthy caffeine hit, try green tea instead of a foamy latte or cappuccino.