We all need a break

22 January 2016

There’s not often time for a full hour’s lunch break, but soup could be the solution to at least making sure you and your colleagues are getting a speedy hearty meal in the working day.

It would appear that the UK workforce doesn’t consider lunch particularly important. A Bupa study1 of 2,000 full-time workers found almost two thirds (64%) are not always able to take their legally required 20-minute break when working at least six hours. Fewer than three in 10 employees (29%) said they take a full hour for lunch each day, however more than a quarter (28%) saying they never have a rest of any kind at work!

In a small business environment, where every member of staff is vital, leisurely lunches are a luxury few can afford. But with a bit of preparation you and your team could at least make sure you’ve got a good, hearty lunch that can be warmed up and eaten quickly. And when it’s cold and dark, there's no lunch more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. We’ve got some fantastic recipes for interesting, nutritious soups for you to share with staff.

Tarka dal soup

Protein and fibre-packed2 red lentils are a wonderful store cupboard hero that deserve to be celebrated. In Indian, ‘dal’ simply refers to any split pulse (lentil, peas, beans etc) and so you can quite easily swap in other pulses, though you’ll need to adjust the cooking times and amount of liquid accordingly.

Serves 2-3
Prepare in 20 minutes
Cook in 45 minutes


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 40g piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 3 small shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 red chillies, finely sliced (deseeded, if desired)
  • 150g red split lentils, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 lemon, zest and ½ juice, rest cut into wedges, to serve
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • small bunch coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves torn and leaves


  • Heat ½ tbsp coconut oil or butter in a saucepan set over a medium heat and add ¾ of the ginger, 2 sliced shallots, 2 garlic cloves and 1 red chilli. Season with a pinch of salt and cook for 5-6 minutes until just golden and softening.
  • Stir the rinsed lentils with 1 litre fresh water and bring to a gentle boil; skim off any scum that rise to the surface. Add the turmeric and simmer briskly, stirring often, until the lentils have completely broken down, about 30-35 minutes. Add the lemon zest, and the juice, to taste; season. Blend, in batches, in the tall cup of your Nutribullet (or other upright blender) until silky smooth. Return to a pan set over a low heat to keep warm; add a splash more water to loosen, if needed.
  • Meanwhile for the tarka, heat the remaining 1½ tbsp coconut oil or butter in small frying pan set over a high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds, and as soon as they start to pop, star in in the coriander stalks and remaining shallot, garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for 3-4 minutes until just crisp and browning; season with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Divide the soup between bowl, spoon over the tarka and scatter with coriander leaves, before serving.

Per serving (based on 3 servings) 1125kJ / 268kcals / 9.8g fat / 5.6g saturated fat / 33.5g carbs / 4g sugars / 3.7g fibre / 14g protein / 0.4g salt.

For more recipes, make sure you’re registered with My Bupa and click on the purple ‘Small steps’ box on the dashboard page.

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  1. Independent survey of 2,000 full-time UK workers in August 2014 by OnePoll.
  2. NHS: pulses http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/pulses.aspx