As a working mum you need plenty of energy to get you through the day – and like us, you probably know that a good diet is important. But with so many other things to care for, our own needs often drop down our list of priorities.
However, as we explained this week in our article on guilt, unless we nurture ourselves properly, we won’t have any mental or physical energy to give to anyone else. And a healthy diet is at the very core of caring for our body and mind.
But accepting that we need to eat well is one thing – knowing what we can quickly throw together for a tasty lunch is another!
Sick of the same uninspiring repertoire of tired sandwiches, we asked health and fitness guru Tora Cullip for a lunch recipe that can see us through 9-5 and beyond. One that is quick and easy to prepare, and can be eaten on the go if you need – and here it is.
Why not all ‘healthy’ lunches are good for you
Back in my corporate days of commuting an hour each way to London, working in a stressful job and prioritising my career opportunities over my health needs, I never used to make time for eating a healthy lunch.
Well, more precisely, I used to think I was eating a healthy lunch. So I couldn’t understand why I used to get so bloated, have a weekly headache, show signs of irritable bowel syndrome, have skin outbreaks and frequently feel bad-tempered after eating.
After all, my lunch choices were carefully considered – a low-fat Boots Shapers sandwich, reduced fat crisps, a no sugar yoghurt, and a Diet Coke. I’d proudly count how many calories I was eating every lunch time and obsess about the total fat content. To me, this constituted Healthy Eating.
It wasn’t until I became interested in nutrition about 15 years ago that I realised my work lunches were far from healthy. The food I was eating was highly processed, poor quality and the macro nutrients were all out of balance. This revelation started my crusade to finding a way to eat healthily while living a busy lifestyle – and not feeling deprived.
The secret to eating well is being prepared
Fast forward to today and now I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, despite being in my mid-forties. I always make time for a healthy lunch which, admittedly, is a lot easier now that I work from home.
Having said that, it’s possible to make an easy healthy lunch even if you’re eating on-the-go. The secret is that you have to be prepared.
I get organised for my working week’s lunches the weekend before. I buy my fresh salad ingredients, roast up some root vegetables and make sure I’ve got something a bit interesting to add to my lunch each day.
It could be something as simple as leftover roast chicken, some tuna with a bit of harissa thrown in or a lovely, creamy goats cheese. I want to eat healthily, but I also want to enjoy my daily lunches!
Moroccan Aubergine and Pepper Salad
This is a simple, easy and healthy lunch that you can throw together. If you chargrill your vegetables the night before, you can make this lunch in minutes. Give it a try, and hope you like it!
- 2 medium aubergines, thickly sliced and salted, oiled then char-grilled
- 2 peppers, cut in to 3 to 4 cheeks, chargrilled
- 1 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cauliflower cut into florets, steamed until just soft
- ½ a preserved lemon
- ½ cup raw cashew mayonnaise (or Mayonnaise or Veganaise)
- ¼ cucumber, diced
- 1 tbsp harissa
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- Handful of mint – garnish
- 1 large pinch salt
- Chargrill aubergines and peppers, and steam cauliflower – allow to cool. Then cut all vegetables into large cubes and combine with chickpeas into large bowl. Toss and mix through harrisa, preserved lemon, olive oil and salt.
- Then combine ½ cup of raw cashew mayo with ¼ cucumber, finely chopped.
- Garnish with chopped mint – now its ready to eat.
(If you’d like some more healthy eating ideas, you can get a sneak peak of our gluten-free and vegetarian recipe book here.)Tora Cullip