You get up late, grab some cereal, dash to work and by 11 o’clock realise you’re starving! Sound familiar? If so, you need to rediscover the importance of the pack up, and how to pack a lunch which will save you from the downfall of quick fix chocolate, crisps, high calorie pre-packed sandwiches and fast food outlets.
Don’t Let Time Be Your Enemy
If you don’t think there’s time in your morning routine make it the night before. When time isn’t a concern you will find it can be enjoyable planning lots of healthy treats to enjoy the following day. Use your Food Planner to guide you.
Make Healthy Substitutes
Don’t just leave out all your usual snacks, or you’ll be sloping off for a sly chocolate bar or pack of crisps at your usual time! Try to find healthier alternatives - look for low fat crisps, and snack or treat size chocolate bars and fill up with healthier snacks…
Plan Your Snacks
Snacks are the perfect way to control your blood sugar levels and hence your hunger. Plan a few healthy snacks for the times when you know you get hungry. Low fat yogurts, carrot batons with cottage cheese or a slice of wholemeal bread with honey (or reduced sugar jam) are better alternatives.
Look Out for Individual Packs
If time really is of the essence, there are plenty of pre-packed snacks available at the supermarket. It’s just a matter of choosing the healthy options. Small boxes of raisins, small tins of fruit in natural juice, or even a banana are good choices.
Don’t Fear Fruit
If you’re not used to eating fruit, don’t punish yourself by chucking in the "dieter’s apple". Unless you’re an apple lover, you won’t eat it! Try to make it fun - slice it up, coat it in lemon juice (to stop it going brown) and toss in a few red grapes. Now you’ve got some interesting finger food for that 11 o’clock low! Make it bitesize and mess free and you’re more likely to indulge - pineapple or melon cubes, orange and kiwi slices, or a handful of berries are all ideal.
Don’t Let Drinks be Your Downfall
Swap your cola for a pure, unsweetened fruit juice – a 200ml carton will also count as one portion of your "5 a day quota". Keep thirst at bay with water (aim for a minimum of 6 glasses a day). If you’ve been drinking 3 or 4 cans of cola a day, you’re probably addicted to the caffeine and will need to wean yourself off gradually - aim to cut back to a maximum of one a day and make sure it’s diet.
Make your sandwiches interesting - like the ones which tempt you from the supermarket shelf! Wraps, pittas and bagels all make a welcome change from the sliced white bread with ham routine. Go easy on the meat or cheese and fill it up with salad. Try leaving out the butter or mayo and using a healthy option salad dressing to add taste, not fat.
Substitute with Soup
Soup is a wonderfully warming and satisfy alternative to sandwiches. Don’t be tempted by the sachet types - they won’t fill you up. Look out for a healthier choice soup with plenty of potatoes and vegetables. If you can’t heat it at work, do it in the morning and pop it in a flask. Treat yourself with a delicious, fresh wholemeal roll (no butter!)