There is not much in our working lives that is as contentious as what to do for lunch. For many, lunch is merely a functional thing and some kind of food is stuffed down their face whilst sat at their desk continuing to work.
Others are fortunate enough to work at more enlightened companies, whereby lunch is seen as a chance both to re-charge away from your work, and to connect with colleagues you may not usually interact with.
These kind of companies will often go out of their way to provide healthy food for their employees, often in a canteen style facility. The whole routine may seem a little too much like school for some, but a recent study suggests it may be something you should consider.
How healthy is your packed lunch?
A research looked at the healthiness of one’s packed lunch, and found that, even though we have full control over what is in them, they may be a lot less healthy than we imagine.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that lunches we bring in from home were often failing to meet nationally set criteria on what qualifies as a healthy lunch.
The criteria suggests that the meal should contain a healthy dose of all of the five main food groups. That means some fruit, some vegetables, a bit of protein and dairy, and some grains. Sounds simple enough.
When the lunches of 600 participants were examined however, it emerged that not a single one contained something from each of the above groups. That’s right, not one.
What’s more, it emerged that there were only a paltry 27% that contained as many as three of the main five food groups. By far the most common formula was a sandwich, some crisps and a bottle of water (or often a soft drink). Very little dairy, hardly any fruit, next to no vegetables.
What’s in your lunchbox?
It’s not a great picture really, is it? Of course, there are healthy options available to you for your lunchtime feast. I’m personally quite fond of taking a meal that I’ve cooked at home and simply heating it up in the microwave at work.
If you want to add some relatively simple nutrition to your lunch however, you could try some of the following:
Fruit: Fruits such as oranges come with all sorts of goodness, whether it’s calcium, vitamin C or a plethora of other goodies. Bananas are also a common staple of a healthy diet and are super easy to add to your lunch.
Nuts: Nuts, such as almonds, come with a range of nutritional value, including a huge dose of calcium and nearly all of your recommend amount of magnesium. If you don’t fancy mixing them yourself, you can always get mixed fruit and nuts delivered to your desk by a range of services. They’re great for munching on throughout the day to keep your energy levels high.
Seeds: Sunflower seeds are another great, yet relatively unknown, food for your snacking needs. They contain a good dose of fibre, so help to keep you full for longer, and also contain other nutrients such as calcium.
There are lots of other healthy alternatives to the humble sandwich and crisps. Do you have any more suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below…