Healthy lunch ideas – one for each working day

Health Adviser and Nutritionist at Bupa UK
01 August 2017

If you’re bored of your current lunches and looking for healthy, low-calorie alternatives, look no further. Here are some of my favourite lunch ideas that I’ve sourced from across the web.

When I cook, I like to twist and change recipes to suit my personal preferences and lifestyle. If I’m cooking lunch for one, I want variety but hate the thought of waste. So below are my adaptations, tips and tricks to get the most out of these recipes.

You can source the original recipes and obtain more nutritional information about them by following the links below.

Monday: Two-bean chilli

Two bean chilli

Here’s how:

  1. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and wait a minute or so for it to heat up.
  2. Then add a handful of chopped onion and some fresh chopped chilli. Depending on how spicy you like it, add as much or as little as you want. For one serving, I normally use around a quarter of one chilli.
  3. Once the onion is golden brown add half a cup of chopped tomatoes. You can also use tinned chopped tomatoes. But if you don’t want to open a tin for one serving, chopping your own is fine.
  4. Add just over half a cup of vegetable stock, two squirts of tomato sauce, and a splash of chilli sauce (more if you’re feeling daring). Chop some fresh parsley and oregano and add a pinched handful of each. Bring the ingredients to the boil, then turn down and simmer for around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it, and stir every so often.
  5. After 10 minutes, add a handful of both cooked kidney and cannellini beans. Pulses such as kidney and cannellini beans are good non-meat sources of protein, which won’t break the bank. If you have beans left over, store them in the fridge in a sealable container. They’re great to throw into a salad later on in the week.
  6. Then sprinkle in some frozen sweetcorn and let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes.  
  7. Once it’s cooled, box it up and pop it in the fridge. You could have your chilli chilled or heated up, on its own or with a flour tortilla and a dollop of low-fat fromage frais. You can also add some chopped chives to the fromage frais for a little extra something.           

Check out the original recipe.

Tuesday: Roasted red pepper and goat’s cheese wraps

Feta and red peppers in a wrap

Here’s how:

  1. Finely slice half an onion and chop one red pepper into strips. Spread both the pepper and onion out on to a baking tray. Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the pepper and onion and season with some pepper and a little bit of salt if you want to. Then roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at around 180°C.
  2. Halve some cherry tomatoes and set aside a portion of goat’s cheese. One portion should be about the size of a small matchbox.
  3. Lay the tortilla wrap out and line the centre with some salad greens. Add the roasted pepper and onion, the goat’s cheese and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Fold the bottom of the tortilla wrap in first – you don’t want anything to fall out – followed by the sides.
  4. Store in a sandwich bag or container in the fridge over night.       

Here’s the original recipe.  

Wednesday: Tagliatelle with pesto and broccoli

Pesto and cherry tomato tagliatelli

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a medium sized pan of water to the boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare a handful of tenderstem broccoli – wash them, and halve them if you wish. Add the broccoli to the pan and cook for around two minutes.
  2. Then add a handful of fresh tagliatelle pasta. Check the back of the pack for cooking instructions.
  3. When they’re cooked, drain the pasta and broccoli and run them under a stream of cold water to help it cool. Put them into a bowl and add about one-and-a-half tablespoons of pesto. Green pesto is one of my favourites as it’s full of flavour.
  4. Shake into the bowl around a tablespoon of pine nuts, mix them in and then drizzle over half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.  You can halve and add in any cherry tomatoes that you didn’t use earlier in the week.
  5. Store it in the fridge and remember to bring it to work with you in the morning.

For more information, go to the original recipe.       

Thursday: Honey and balsamic salad

A salad in a bowl

Here’s how:

  1. Take the salad greens left over from earlier in the week and put them into a bowl. If you have any spare cherry tomatoes halve them and add them to the mix. You can also use up any leftover onion. Finely slice the onion and add it to the salad greens and cherry tomatoes.   
  2. For the dressing, whisk together:

    • half a tablespoon of olive oil
    • one-and-a-half tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
    • half a tablespoon of honey
    • a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

    Add pepper to taste.

  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss the leaves. Box it up, store it in the fridge over night and you’re ready to go.

Check out the original recipe      

Friday: Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the quinoa. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet. Or, if you’re short on time, buy a microwaveable pouch of wholegrain rice with quinoa.
  2. When cooked, rinse in cold water and drain any excess water. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl.
  3. Chop up your salad and veg. You can put anything you fancy or anything you have leftover from previous meals. I used tomatoes, spring onion, cucumber, red pepper and fresh herbs. Add them to your quinoa and mix through.
  4. You can make a zingy dressing with olive oil, lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Take half an avocado to work and have this with your salad for a light and nutritious lunch.

For more information, go to the original recipe.

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Emily Walters
Health Adviser and Nutritionist at Bupa UK

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