Lunch break delights… the healthy way.

It’s no secret that eating healthier food will benefit your body in ways you never imagined. The thing is people tend to shy away from healthy food most of the time because it seems boring or like it may just be too much effort to prepare. Fear not though because we’re going to give you the low down on which meals won’t break the bank and what you should avoid.

There are loads of delicious treats out there that won’t leave you feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Let’s break down a few for you.

MIXED NUTS

Nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds make for a crunchy way to add more protein and healthy unsaturated fats to your diet. They pack about 6 grams of protein per 60 gram serving.

FROZEN GRAPES

These frozen treats provide a sweet boost that helps satisfy any midday sugar cravings. Unlike strawberries, grapes don’t become rock solid when frozen; they’re firm but still easy to bite into with a creamy consistency, similar to a bite-sized grape Popsicle. Simply spread whole grapes in a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze until firm, and store in an airtight zip-top bag or if you can be lazy and keep them in the box and throw them in the freezer like that. Admittedly I tend to do the second option and I just can’t get enough of them…

A big plus is that they aren’t filled with refined sugars and chemicals so you won’t have that gross feeling after eating them.

STRAWBERRIES

Among berries, strawberries supply the least amount of sugar—about 11 grams per cup—making them a great option for helping satisfy a sweet tooth. If you’re concerned about possible pesticide exposure, opt for strawberries labeled “organic.”

HARD-BOILED EGG

Not just for breakfast, the white orbs possess an abundance of branched-chain amino acids, which are the most anabolic amino acids in the body. This makes the egg a muscle-building power snack to grab hold of. Boil up a carton’s worth of inexpensive eggs and stash them in your break room fridge for times when you feel tempted by the tuck shop.

PLAIN GREEK YOGURT

Greek yogurt has gone from an obscure item in the dairy aisle to a cultured rock star. It’s made by straining away the liquid, so deliciously thick Greek-style yogurts contain twice as much protein as regular versions, supplying about 23 grams of protein in each cup serving. You’ll also reap the rewards of gut-friendly probiotic bacteria and calcium.

BILTONG

We’re not joking around when it comes to this amazingly delicious snack. If you don’t pick a fatty biltong as tempting as it may seem then you’ve got one lean, mean snack option that’s good for more than just braai’s and get together’s. You can’t go wrong with biltong and it’s actually really easy to match with any fruits and carbs that you might want to have with lunch. Try a rye bread sandwich with some biltong on it, you’ll thank me later.

Ok, so hopefully we’ve given you a few good ideas. Remember there’s nothing wrong with some rice cakes and peanut butter too. Granola bars instead of chocolate bars. Frozen grapes and berries instead of jelly tots and sugar packed sweets. Get creative and there’s a ton of options for you. Most grocery stores actually have aisles that only have healthy foods… don’t hide from this aisle!

Now that we’ve talked about some great alternatives, let’s discuss what to avoid!

SUGARY DRINKS

Refined sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet. It’s addictive and almost unavoidable for some.

However, some sources of sugar are worse than others, and sugary drinks are the absolute worst. When you drink sugar calories, the brain doesn’t “register” them as food which means your body isn’t telling you when enough is enough. Sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can drive insulin resistance in the body and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is also associated with various serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease not to mention that it’s one of the main fattening ingredients for a lot of people.

Drink water, soda water, coffee or tea instead. Adding a slice of lemon or some cucumber helps if you don’t like that oh so plain taste.

PIZZA

Pizza is one of the world’s most popular junk foods. This is not surprising, given that it tastes awesome and is incredibly convenient to eat. However, it’s usually overloaded with cheese, highly refined flour and it’s just a diet buster. Say no to pizza as much as possible, as hard as that may be!

WHITE BREAD

While we’re on the topic of flour, white bread is a definite no in your lunch box! Bread is generally made from wheat, which contains the protein gluten (That thing most people claim to be allergic to). Bread will bloat you up and leave you feeling icky. If you can tolerate gluten then rather pick something like whole grain bread.

FRUIT JUICE

I know what you’re thinking but yes avoid fruit juice. Fruit juice tends to contain as much sugar as soft drinks and as we discussed earlier, AVOID THE SUGAR OVERLOAD. There’s an old saying that it’s better to eat your fruit and drink your veg, that way you can be a bit more certain as to what you’re putting in your body.

FRIES AND CHIPS

Although whole white potatoes are good for you, the same can’t be said about other products made from them like fries and chips. As tempting as that packet of super delicious chips may seem – avoid them. These foods are very high in calories, and it is easy to eat excessive amounts. Several studies link consumption of french fries and potato chips with weight gain. Potatoes are best consumed boiled or baked, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try nuts or baby carrots.

LOW-FAT YOGURT

Unfortunately, most yogurts found in the grocery store are extremely bad for you. They are frequently low in fat, but loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste that the fats provided. Put simply, the yogurt has had the healthy, natural dairy fats removed, only to be replaced with something much, much worse. Choose regular, full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics). If you can get your hands on it, choose yogurt from grass-fed cows.

 

We’re not trying to make you drop everything tasty, but give the healthy snacks a try. You’ll start to feel great and loaded with energy. A great mind needs a great diet so treat yourself to some healthier alternatives. The biggest thing is be careful or refined sugars and over processed ingredients.

Happy eating and let us know if you find more healthy snacks we should add to the list!

March 9, 2017

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