Lunch doesn’t always have to involve bread. Doing things like salads, rice bowls, frittatas and soups instead can help move away from a wheat-heavy diet. For a lot of people, too much wheat is the root cause of IBS problems or a bloated stomach and feeling lethargic after lunch. By introducing some alternative foods and nutrients into your lunchtime meal, you can help to reduce that mid-afternoon slump whilst also supporting your digestive system.
Salad = more than lettuce!
Move away from the limp lettuce and use a range of roasted vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds instead. Meat, fish, eggs and goat’s or feta cheese go great in a salad box too as a form of protein. You can get a lot of the bulk from just low-calorie, non-starchy salad vegetables, rather than heavy, dense carbohydrates. But, if you want some carbohydrates, packing some oatcakes or Ryvita will be a bit more nutritious than having a bread roll.
If your goal is weight management, soup for lunch is always a good choice. The water volume in soup will fill you up as much as a sandwich for a lot less calories, and as it is nutrient rather than energy dense, you’ve got a lunch packed with nutrients that won’t pile on the pounds. If you’re making it from scratch, rustle up a healthy vegetable soup, which can have protein added to it in the form of chopped chicken or some pulses like lentils, kidney beans or chickpeas.
A bowl in one
Not only can a rice or quinoa bowl be delicious, but they can also be suitable for coeliacs. They’re packed full of fibre and B vitamins, which are good for your metabolism, your mood, and, if you’re female, your hormone balance. Give a Mexican-style rice and bean bowl with avocado and tomato a go, and spice things up a bit – you’ll get some healthy fats from the avocado, and some capsaicin from the chilies, which is an anti-inflammatory and therefore good for joints and skin health.
An egg-cellent alternative
Fancy some Italian food at lunch? Instead of pizza or pasta, why not try a frittata – you’ll get the great taste but without the bloated feeling for the rest of the afternoon. If you’re looking to limit calorie intake, using a mix of whole eggs and egg whites will help keep the calorie and fat levels down.
A sweet treat
If you’re after a sweet snack to go with your lunch, have a go at making these brownies. All you need are some dates, ground almonds, hazelnut butter, raw cacao powder and a little bit of orange juice. Mix it all together and shape them into little bars or balls and stick them in the fridge to set. They are a healthy alternative to your chocolate bar or your cake, and there’s no added refined sugar in them. They are also a lot more nutritious, containing protein and the healthy fats from the almonds; and Vitamin E and antioxidants from the cacao powder. The balance of these nutrients will help to prevent that mid-afternoon slump that a lot of people get when you’re more likely to drink extra caffeine or grab an extra chocolate bar as a quick fix.
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