Ok. You’ve meal prepped, but a change in plans (or you eating your meal prep before lunch) has led to you going to the shopping centres food court in panic. WTF do you do? Why are there so many options?
Note – this guide is for the everyday 9 – 5 worker who finds themselves lost on their meal prep grabbing a bite. I am all about moderation and treating thyself, but calories DO count and if youre finding yourself packing on the kgs– your lunch choice may be the reason why!
🥑 A great option for a satiating and nutritious meal, if you choose correctly.
🥑 Go for the burrito bowl, load up on the protein (grilled chicken, steak etc), ask for extra lettuce, brown rice and avoid adding extra cheese/sour cream. Guacamole is good for the soul and provides a tonne of good fats, so pay the extra $1 for the topping of the gods.
🥑 Salads are always a great option, add extra protein for a satiating meal that’ll keep your energy levels at bay for longer
🥑Don’t upgrade your lunch into a meal, and don’t even think about upgrading to large. Water is the obvious choice for our lunch beverage, but if your sweet tooth caves in – grab the sugar free option.
🍜 Just because its ‘Asian’ doesn’t mean its healthy, a lot of these meals have been Westernised and have double the calories.
🍜 Vietnamese is a GREAT option. It is typically fresh, low in calories and packed with flavours. AVOID deep fried dishes. My go to Vietnamese dishes are Pho, Rice Paper Rolls & fresh salads!
🍣 Japanese is another nutritious option. Once again, avoid tempura/fried food and go for the healthier (and in my opinion, yummier option). These include : Sashimi & Sushi, Noodle Soup & Miso Soup as well as the sashimi salads.
🍣 Sushi rolls do add up, and try to avoid eating more than 2- 3 rolls as they contain a lot of rice and mayonnaise.
🍣 Nibble on edamame & sip on miso soup as they are packed with vitamins and are quite filling.
🥡 Chinese food is quite tasty, but also calorie dense. Westernised Chinese food is incredibly oily and typically fried, which is not the greatest option whilst watching our waist line.
🥡 Healthy options include Steamed Greens with Mushroom and Basil
🥡 Grabbing a side of steamed rice instead of fried rice or noodles
🥡 Avoiding Yum – Cha where possible as it is easy to overload on calories and oily foods like dim sims.
🥗I’m a sucker for high fat foods that keep me full for longer so Mediterranean food Is definitely my pick for a lunch pick me up
🥗 Greek salad is an awesome side and when teamed up with a 150gram portion of protein (e.g grilled chicken, lamb skewers) is a nutrient dense meal that includes all macros
🥗 Avoid breads with oils as entrees, load up with stir fried veggies/salads instead
🥗 Chips do not make the meal taste that much better, embrace the nutritious flavourings from garlic, hommus and olive oil
🥗 Side sauces like baba ganoush & hommus are delicious, but are quite nutrient dense. Enjoy them but limit it to a ¼ of your plate!
- FAST FOOD / AMERICAN
🍟 If you’re eating McDonalds or KFC routinely during the working week, I can see why youre reading this article wondering ‘why am I overweight’
🍟 Avoid American food chains where possible. You can opt for healthier options there such as the grilled chicken salads, grabbing the protein options alone as a meal plumper such as an egg, sausage patty.
🍟 These chains are packed with added oils and most are so calorie dense, youll receive a shock when you read their nutrient labels
🍟 Avoids drinks from these chains. The Dominos thick-shake I absolutely adore contains over 800 calories & 100 grams of fat. No wonder why everyday Australians who don’t exercise are overweight – our ‘fast food’ options are literally killing us.
SO that’s my quick guide to the food court. Obviously there are a variety of food options but the key things to take down are that –
- Go for meals higher in protein if you want to be fuller for longer
- Avoid drinking beverages other than water, coconut water and kombucha. The rest are filled with empty calories. If you need a sugar fix, grab a sugar free soft drink but realise it has no nutritional value whatsoever
- If ½ the meal is processed carbs, its probably not a good option. Save that for your weekend treat
- Load up on vegetables and salads (that’s pretty obvious though, duh)
- Eat until your relatively satisfied, not when your pants buttons are about to rip
- Enjoy your lunch, but don’t let a f*ckup deter your eating routine and cause mass nutritional destruction
- Thanks for reading!