How to nail healthy work from home lunches in minutes

If your lunches are starting to become nutritionally questionable when working from home, make over your midday menu with these quick and easy hacks.

With the whole pantry at your fingertips, in theory healthy lunches should become easier when working from home.

In practice, our work roles haven’t changed and the same pressures exist, so it’s easy to reach for whatever’s quick and convenient.

If you find yourself dining on lunches of two-minute noodles or packets of chips while working from home, here’s an expert-led guide to reworking your weekday lunches to make them healthier and easier.

Why a healthy lunch is important

If you have a longstanding date with a chocolate bar at 3pm, you can blame your lunch for that.

This is because poor meal choices at lunchtime can have a knock-on effect.

“Your energy will crash in the afternoon and you may end up bingeing in the afternoon to pick your energy up,” says nutritionist Michaela Sparrow, founder of The Longevity Remedy.

“This will lead to a surge in insulin, which is a fat-storing hormone, and also an increase in cortisol, which will shut down brain function and impact your sleep quality too.”

Health with Bec founder and nutritionist Bec Miller says a balanced, healthy lunch will keep your blood sugar levels stable, optimise concentration levels and keep you full for at least three to five hours, helping to avoid mindless snacking.

What to include on your lunch plate

Aim for a balance of protein such as chicken or salmon, fibre such as green leafy vegetables, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds or olive oil, says Michaela.

While it’s an easy formula to follow, the key to making it happen every day is to have a well- stocked pantry.

Michaela and Bec suggest adding these basics to your shopping list to ensure you’ve got all the ingredients at the ready:

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Protein such as chicken or other type of meat
  • Cans of tuna or salmon
  • Eggs
  • Healthy oils such as olive oil or macadamia oil for salad dressings
  • Cheese such as feta or haloumi
  • Nuts or seeds such as pepitas, almonds and hemp seeds
  • Herbs to add flavour
  • Lemons and limes to add to dressings

Michaela says the above ingredients can be used to create fresh, healthy salads in minutes, while Bec suggests you could whip up an omelette packed with vegetables or a vegetable soup with protein added for extra satiety.

Shortcuts to easier lunchtimes

Setting aside some time to meal prep on the weekend will ensure a smoother week.

Michaela suggests boiling eggs to go into lunches during the week; cooking up single serves of protein and making a healthy salad dressing to have in the fridge.

Bec is a fan of cooking extra, whether it be a pasta sauce or casserole, to make meals go further.

“Freeze portions for easy convenience another day for lunch,” she says.

Bec also suggests chopping up salad ingredients before the working week begins to ensure you’ve got everything ready to go in a hurry.

Written by Tania Gomez