Increasingly my experience and that of clients is that it is difficult to eat well away from home and the best meals are the ones we cooked ourselves. But the reality is that many of us eat at least one meal a day away from home and need to find a way to source this meal , the lunch. Then there are snacks.
In bigger towns, tourist places and cities you may be lucky to find some good fast food places. Brighton has several designer cafes and people like sushi as well. A health shop may cheer you up on occasion. Otherwise unless you are into burgers and pizzas, more and more the fast food fare comes down to cafés with the standard sugar-laden cakes and pastries. And sandwiches can be boring.
Heading off in the car, or travelling by train you may find yourself on the road or at a railway platform just when it is time to eat and nowhere to find food. It is disheartening when the only choice is the newsagent or a dismal cafe that offers just crisps and cakes and soda.
With a little planning leaving home prepared for the day may become a pleasant and healthy habit. Having thought, planned obtained and packed your food in advance you will not have to resort to grabbing the first thing you see when you get hungry and run out of time to shop around.
Thinking ahead, before leaving home don’t skip breakfast- eat porridge with nuts and seeds and/or an omelette with spinach, chopped onions and/or chopped peppers, grated carrots etc. As well as giving you energy this sort of breakfast contains proteins and fats that will keep hunger away for longer than a bowl of sweet cereal.
Carry foods that will not drip or mess your clothes if you are not able to sit at a table with a knife and fork. These can be home-made or carefully selected ready-made. I see many attractive looking rice, cous-cous and quinoa salads with excellent healthy ingredients in the supermarket chill cabinet. Since I do not like sugary foods I am wary of these ‘fresh’ salads, and the label I find most of the time that the sugar or syrup in the ingredients instead of making them more flavoursome, ruin the effect for me.
Sometimes we leave home unprepared and hope to find food on the way. If your route does not vary make a point doing a little research every time you are in the area. Make sure you know the shop where you can pick up something worth eating – good sandwiches on your route and salads and prepare a mental or written list of what you would go for in each shop. If you travel by train, most large stations now have and M&S – choose the sandwiches and/or a salad box. I also like their prepared pineapple which is great with some cheese cubes.
Families make sure children have a lunch box to take to school, but a lunch box is not just for school children. Ideally you leave home prepared. There are some very attractive containers on the market which can increase the pleasure for children and adults when eating at school, at the office or when setting off on a journey.
Here are some suggestions of what you can carry in your box that may keep you nourished until it comes time to sit down to a more substantial meal. The choice is yours, pack what you would like to eat rather than risk having to eat a make-do. Always carry water. Be selective with other drinks, even the ‘healthy super food smoothies’ sold as sugar free but increasingly full of apple juice which is not what we mean by healthy.
Pies, quiches or sandwiches are commonly chosen, and some could be very good so I am have not included these here. The suggestions here do not include bread or pastry.
1 Homemade mixture of sprouted seeds, quinoa, and walnuts with a little dressing.
2 Waitrose Beetroot, broad bean, hazelnut salad (A bought salad should be removed from the package and stored in an attractive container) and/or falafel
3 Peel and core an apple and cut into wedges and carry in an attractive container. Equally you can peel an orange and break up into wedges and carry in the box.
4 One of the most useful foods to prepare and eat on the go is boiled eggs. At the beginning of the week boil the egg you will need during the week and store in the fridge. Carry in the shell and only peel when ready to eat.
5 Take a container of nuts and dried fruit and seeds . You can take one type of nut on a given day e.g. cashew and say a few dates and then and on another day hazelnuts and figs. Avoid sugared or salted nuts.
6 Chicory and orange salad with pine nuts and bacon
7 Raw carrot, cucumber, radish and celery sticks with feta cheese cubes
8 Chopped green leaves, cooked rice or pasta, olives, pumpkin seeds
9 Falafel and pickled gherkins
10 Rice or potato salad
12 Homemade savoury muffins