One thing I have found during the healthy eating journey is that a lot of my problems are caused by the kids (haha). Obviously I can’t shut them in a cupboard or sell them as both are frowned upon so instead I faced it head on. Lunch time is especially hard for me. I’m usually juggling the kids lunches and end up reaching for something quick and unhealthy. I have written about my Slimming World/Healthy Eating plan I’m following previously and how I plan to survive this as a busy Mum. This week I’ve focused on my lunches to make them healthier, quicker and more enticing than crisps and leftovers from the eldest boys plate.
These are quick and easy. When I buy salad items I check the Slimming World ‘speed food’ list and write down the items from there which I know I like. That way my salads are high in speed food. But salad on its own gets boring so I’ve been adding different bits to mine. I have found that having bits ready cooked and in fridge is helpful. I’ll cooked an extra item when doing dinner the night before and put in fridge for next days salad (salmon, chicken, bacon, eggs etc).
I’ll also buy the pre-cooked meats so I can just pop them out the fridge and add to the salad (flavoured chicken, beef, ham, tuna, prawns).
I also found a syn free salad dressing which has made salads less dry. When I run out of this, I use lemons and squeeze them over the leaves.
I love pasta, however when both boys are home (and awake) it’s hard to cook and prepare it. Lately I have been more determined to make time for my food. I’ve started to batch cook tuna pasta and keep in tubs in the fridge so I can just grab them. That means only one lunch time is spent having to run back and forth to the cooker.
Another lunch I really enjoyed was prawns and spaghetti. I brought pre cooked prawns and fried them with ‘fry light’ (sun free), garlic, salt and soy sauce. I cooked a small amount of spaghetti and then sprayed that afterwards with the fry light and added more garlic and salt, before topping with the prawns. I made a salad to go in the side as I definitely only used a small portion of spaghetti since it was only a lunch meal. This did involve me being in the kitchen more but it didn’t take long to cook. I was able to do this once the youngest was napping and eldest on iPad.
Reheating food is also an easy option. When I cooked spaghetti bolognese (homemade, so syn free) I will freeze a portion. Then I can stick in the microwave and have for lunch whenever I fancy it. If I haven’t used my Healthy Choice A, then I’ll add cheese to it as well.
I like the idea of jacket potatoes but they can take way too long to cook. So, I have started to buy the partially cooked frozen jacket potatoes. I get one out when I want it and pop in microwave for 5 minutes. I then add syn free toppings or use my health choices eg: tuna, baked beans, cheese, quark (which you can add to other cheeses to increase amount of cheese without messing up syns) bacon etc.
B Choice Lunch
When I plan meals I am in more control over my food. I plan when and how I’m going to use B choice so that I don’t accidentally end up eating more than I should and waste my syns.
So if I’m not using the Healthy Extra B on my breakfast then I will use for lunch. They’re quick and easy to grab out the cupboard. When paired with other pre-made food items (cooked/flavoured chicken, ham, cheese triangles etc) then it’s a great lunch option.
Sometimes lunch just isn’t going to happen for me. I’m too busy, boys are needing me more, I’m tired…so I use snack packs to help me have something healthy to grab our fridge that doesn’t need anything doing to it. It’s not quite as filling as the other lunches but it stops me reaching for unhealthy options in the run up to dinner time.
None of these ideas are ground breaking, fancy or particularly challenging. But that’s why they work for me. I don’t want to be a gourmet chef when I’m juggling feed times, dirty nappies, answering a million questions about whatever movie is on and trying to keep the house reasonably tidy. Having lunches that are quick, easy and filling have become priority.