What’s for lunch?
How does your lunchbox stack up? Accredited practising dietician Katie Allison offers these healthy suggestions for long-haul road trips
WHETHER YOU are packing a healthy lunchbox for work or a long day on the road, the same basic principle applies – aim to include a variety of nutritious options that are delicious, filling, and will fuel your concentration.
To do this, simply follow the checklist below. This can be easily adapted to suit your tastes.
SIX LUNCHBOX ESSENTIALS
1. Wholegrain or high-fibre carb
option 2. Some vegetables 3. A fruit option 4. A lean protein 5. A reduced-fat dairy option 6. A little healthy fat Plus plenty of water.
The right balance is important – not just for your health, but to help keep you feeling fuller for longer and fuelling your concentration. Read on for ideas to balance your lunchbox. 1. Wholegrain or high-fibre carbohydrate Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for your brain and body. Higher-fibre options will be more filling and are packed with extra vitamins and minerals compared to refined alternatives. For example: • Wholegrain/wholemeal bread, rolls
or wraps • High-fibre tortillas • Wholemeal pita breads • Multigrain/wholemeal English
muffins • Brown rice • Wholemeal pasta • Barley • Quinoa • Legumes e.g. baked beans,
chickpeas or lentils • Whole grain cereal • Grain crackers • Air popped popcorn • High-fibre cereal bar • Mini corn fritters/pikelet/scone/fruit
muffin based on wholemeal flour 2. Some vegetables Veggies are a great source of fibre with not too many kilojoules. This means they give you more bang for your buck! The fibre content of vegetables will also be filling and is a good reason to pile on the veggies throughout the day. For example: • Vegetable soup • Add lettuce, sprouts, cucumber and
grated carrot to sandwiches • Diced celery or cucumber mixed with low-fat mayo tuna or mashed egg • Vegetable frittatas • Vegetable sticks or cherry tomatoes
with hummus/salsa • Mini muffins with grated zucchini
and carrot • Grilled vegetable kebabs 3. A fruit option Fruit, like veggies, are a great source of fibre and vitamins and minerals, which may help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Fruit often contains more kilojoules than most vegetables so you still need to be aware of your portions. For example: • Fresh e.g. fruit salad or fruit kebabs • Opt for fresh most of the time but
other options include: • Canned (in natural juice) • Dried (small amounts) 4. A lean protein Protein is important for the growth and repair of your body. Adding some protein to your meal has also been found to help keep you fuller between meals. Aim to choose lean varieties of protein such as skinless chicken or meat with the fat trimmed. This will help reduce your intake of saturated fat and ultimately help your cholesterol levels. For example: • Lean varieties of turkey, roast beef,
chicken • Canned tuna or other fish • Eggs • Tofu • Legumes e.g. baked beans, lentils,
chickpeas 5. A reduced-fat dairy option ion Dairy options or alternativeses tend to be a good source of protein ein and calcium. For example: • Low-fat milk drinks • Low-fat yoghurt • Low-fat custards (as an
occasional treat) • Reduced-fat cheese • Dairy alternatives e.g. soy y
varieties 6. A little healthy fat Healthy fats such as mono- and polyunsaturated fats can help elp support heart health and are e an important part of healthy eating. ating. Fat can be high in kilojouleses so it is important to watch your portioni size.i For example: • A quarter of an avocado • Small handful of unsalted nuts • A little olive oil on a salad
Packing a balanced lunch also means you are much more likely to eat less kilojoules and added sugar, saturated fat and salt compared to take-away options.
One of the biggest challenges to doing this is finding time.
For a busy week, try some of these time-saving tips: • Prepare extra food the night before – alternate serving it with salad or cooked vegetables to mix things up • Don’t forget there are lots of convenient quick options available at the supermarket such as pre-mixed salads, microwave rice or vegetable sachets and canned tuna or salmon. • It doesn’t have to be gourmet to be balanced. Try a pre-mixed salad with canned tuna and wholegrain crackers
Be aware of high-risk foods and the environment that your lunch will be stored in. An insulated lunchbox and an esky with an ice brick can help keep your lunch cool. Bags of ice are available at most service stations if you need a top up.
For more information on healthy eating, visit www.eatforhealth.gov.au or www.diabetesnsw.com.au.