I have always maintained my opinion that in the UK we do ‘on the go’ lunch options pretty damn well. So what are some good shop bought lunch recommendations? The selection and choice is fantastic and the rate retailers are innovating to make things healthy is pretty handy, although sometimes you do find you pay a bit of a premium for it. Nonetheless, as others catch on to popular healthy options the prices start to come down or special offers pop up (Yipee!).
Working in Canary Wharf in London for 6 months I was literally overwhelmed by potentially having over 100 options for lunch everyday within two minutes walk of the office. After some careful analysis of many of the options I have come up with some favourites that you might like to try if you find yourself physically stunned at the choice the next time you pop out….
EAT Superfood Salad
Verdict: A really nice salad with a wide variety of ingredients that I would rate as ‘super’ – some serious greens, pumpkin seeds, lentils etc. The sugar content is high, due to the dried cranberries and pomegranate in this salad. Cranberries are good for cleansing the digestive system and help prevent urinary tract infections, so if you know you are prone (you will know), the sugar amount can be somewhat justified. If you are low on your fruit count in the day then it also isn’t a bad choice as it’s unrefined sugar. Adding only half the dressing you can bring the calorie and fat count down to nearer 400 cals.
M&S Fuller for Longer King Prawn and Lochmuir Salmon Cous Cous
Verdict: I was quite excited when I first discovered this range because M&S really do make some interesting and mega delicious salads. The protein is very high so it will keep you fuller for longer but I do feel this range up on protein so much, they lack on the portions of vegetables (boo), which for a perfectly balanced meal should make up at least 40%. Cous cous is a refined carbohydrate and brown rice would be better (M&S are you reading?!) .The sugar count is low and if you are a die hard seafood fan and are aware you haven’t had your portions of oily fish during the week, this could be a good choice.
Innocent Veg Pot Daal Curry (Microwave required)
Verdict: This is an excellent choice in winter as it warms you like putting on a bit sweater when you’re chilly. It really does fill you up and with three portions of veg you are well on your way to 5 a day. You are forced to eat it quite slowly and it takes a while to get through, which help you stay full and satisfied. Thumbs up for vegetarians too. One slight issue is that if you plan to eat at the desk, it is rather obvious that you are eating curry which may not be kindly received by your colleagues. If you have a communal kitchen, a staff room or you are at home, then a highly recommended choice. Keep an eye out for special offers on these, particularly in Sainsburys – helping you save the pennies.
I could obviously go on with this list but hopefully my verdict and some of the facts will help you understand what to look out for. Something with low protein and under 300 calories is not going to sustain you long through the afternoon – the risk of 3pm cake crave in significantly increased. There are also some lunch shockers out there that have refined sugar amounts you really wouldn’t imagine so definitely worth a check next time.
Please comment on this post and let me know if you have any lunchtime favourites and share the love on your finds.