When we are trying to lose weight or maintain the weight we have lost, the number one downfall can be at lunch time when we are out and about or stuck in the office or using the time to go to the gym. Often the apparently healthy options on offer are mass produced and doused with un-healthy oils and laden with salt. A simple salad with few calories can be catapulted up and beyond the realms of a cheeseburger with fries, once you add the vinaigrette. So, the best option is to be prepared and make your own supply of healthy food which you can take with you wherever you go. Buying a small cooler can make life much simpler and you will have space to store snacks and drinks aswell. In order to save time when preparing your food, try and pre-cook a few essentials so that they are always ready in the fridge. Pre-cut your vegetables. Carrots, peppers, cucumbers, celery, radishes....all these can be chopped and stored in airtight container for a couple of days. I am talking convenience here because if you have the time, then cutting and preparing fresh produce is best right before you eat it so that you do not lose out on further vitamins. However, I do question the vitamin content of our produce these days considering most of it is picked when green, shipped across the world and stored in refrigerated containers...once again, buy ORGANIC and LOCAL whenever possible. You can also cook up a batch of couscous or Quinoa* or other grain of your choice. This will keep well in the fridge for a few days too. Be careful with rice though, this is one food that I would not store for further use.
Also, you can cook some chicken breasts, boil 12 eggs, grill some fresh salmon or beef, boil up some lentils and chick peas....anything that you might like to chop and put in a salad type dish. Add to that some seeds and nuts for crunch and essential oils and you have all you need for a perfectly balanced meal.
*Quinoa ..A nutty tasting grain from Peru. This Superfood has fewer carbs than other grains and twice as much protein. In fact it is considered a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs to build muscle!
Zingy Spinach and Chicken Salad
Make up some vinaigrette using, 1 1/2 tsp each of squeezed lime juice, apple juice, sesame oil and soya sauce, whisk together until blended and store in a small jar or tupperware. Take 2 cups of raw spinach, 4 oz of sliced cooked chicken breast, 1 oz grated edam cheese, 1 chopped green apple and a sprinkling of chopped onion. Mix all the ingredients together in a tupperware and seal with a lid. Add the dressing just before eating.
Cals: 380, Carbs: 38 g, Protein: 29 g, Fats: 6 g
Omega 3 Salad
First make a dressing with 1/2 clove of crushed garlic (to avoid the after taste and smell of garlic, chew on a piece of fresh parsley), 1 tbs of soya sauce and 1 tsp of olive oil. Whisk up the ingredients and store in a small container. Steam and slice either 6 spears of asparagus or a handful of green beans and add to a bowl. Open a small can of cooked pink salmon or pre-cook a 4oz portion of fresh salmon. Flake it up with a fork and add to the beans along with a chopped tomato and some chopped spring onions. Transport this to work in a tupperware and add the vinaigrette just before eating. You can also eat this with a big mixed salad or fresh raw spinach leaves.
Cals; 319, Carbs: 26 g, Protein: 29g, Fats:11 g
Hummus and Crudites
Slice up as much raw veg as you like, including red peppers, cucumber, celery,radishes,broccoli,cauliflower etc and store in an airtight container.
To make enough hummus for 4 servings, place 1 large tin of organic chickpeas (drained and rinsed),1 tbs of olive oil,1-3 tsp of Tahini, salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice, in a blender and whiz it all up. Add water until you have obtained the desired consistency. This will keep in the refrigerator for days and can be used as a quick snack or more substantial lunch, depending on your appetite!
Cals per serving: 205, Carbs: 24g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 6g, Fibre: 8g
Quick Bean Salad
Mix all the following ingredients together and serve!
1/3 cup of kidney beans, 1/3 cup of black beans, 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1 small chopped red pepper, 1 clove of crushed garlic, some chopped onion, 1/2 tsp of chopped coriander, 2 tbs of lemon juice, 1 tbs of olive oil, a pinch of cumin, pepper and salt to taste.
* This can also be put in the blender and whizzed up like the Hummus and eaten with crudites.
Cals: 395, Carbs: 45 g, Protein: 26 g, Fats:12 g
Make up your own salads using a combination of chopped vegetables, grains, lentils, nuts, seeds....just use your imagination and experiment with different flavours and textures. I will be back with more yummy options soon, so until then stay healthy, stay happy and stay fit!