We can be creatures of habit, having the same thing for lunch day after day, week after week, year after year. How about experimenting with some different lunches? Alison Pask, a New Zealand registered dietitian, suggests healthy choices to try at midday. Injecting variety into your lunches will help you follow the healthy eating guidelines suggested by health professionals.
It is worth taking time to prepare a suitable lunch. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are too busy, have too many meetings or aren’t hungry. Making your own lunch is the only way to know exactly what you are eating. This will ensure your lunch doesn’t contain any restricted items and will cost less than buying meals.
Lunch is one of your main meals and eating at regular times is an important tool for managing your diabetes. You’ll also find you have more energy and are more productive.
Adding variety
Consider using different breads such as pita, wholegrain, wholemeal, naan, sourdough, pumpernickel, rye, bagels, or fruit bread. Freeze the bread and take it out each morning. This way it stays fresh and you can vary your choice throughout the week.
If you have access to a microwave, options include baked beans, soup, leftovers such as stir-fry or casserole and vegetables and quiche (you can also eat this cold).
Many liquid items will keep well in a thermos. This is great for people on the move such as truck drivers, plumbers, builders or salespeople. Sportspeople can also use a thermos to carry a hot lunch or snack.
Freeze leftover meals in individual portions for lunches, or make your favourite recipe and freeze it for reheating later. This also sets your portion size, preventing you from going back for seconds.
Use your imagination to widen your range of sandwich fillings. Try cold lite baked beans if you dare! Leftover cold meat with pickles and vegetables makes yummy sandwiches. Try cold corned beef, mustard, and coleslaw.
Keep your fridge stocked with low fat cheese such as mozzarella or edam and soft cheese such as cottage cheese.
Margarine or mayonnaise isn’t necessary. Instead, to add extra moisture and help the filling stick together use low fat hummus, salsa or other low fat dips.
Spread cold mashed pumpkin or kumara on bread to create a delicious base for other ingredients.
Four examples of an ideal lunch:
Bread roll with filling + a piece of fruit + a pottle of yoghurt
Homemade lentil and vegetable soup + rye bread
Quiche + homemade salad with low fat dressing
Last night’s leftovers with plenty of vegetables + some carbohydrate

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