Ditch the daily sandwich and crisps routine, and opt for these tasty and healthy lunches to eat at your desk.

We do it every year: overindulge readily at Christmas, and repent at leisure in January. But with the dawn of this new decade, we vow to approach our health goals somewhat differently. Rather than solemnly promising that we shall never again eat a carb nor a high-fat item, we intend instead to look upon our commitment to health in a positive light (revolutionary, no?).

To that end, rather than subtracting, we are adding, starting with our work lunches. This year, we will be adding a little more time into our schedules to create healthy lunches to pack up and take to work, hereby ending our reliance on dry and expensive shop-bought sandwiches that punctuate our day with a dose of culinary boredom rather than joy. It doesn’t even have to be too much of a chore; many ideas simply require making a portion too many the night before.

And for little fixes such as these, rather than punishment, we have trawled the web to bring you our favourite nutritionists’ healthy and delicious office lunch ideas. Enjoy.

Rice Paper Wraps

Amelia Freer


Amelia Freer is the woman credited with Boy George’s slimmer silhouette, as well as being on speed dial for the likes of Victoria Beckham, Sam Smith and James Corden. We love all her books and trust her implicitly with cooking up easy but veg-packed meals, both at home and on the go. We adore these gluten-free rice paper wraps with a variety of healthy fillings (how much better is crab and pink grapefruit parcelled up like this than a tasteless sandwich from the supermarket?) We’ll be trying each and every one of these on our lunch hour this January.

Steak and Broccoli Protein Pots

BBC Good Food


Strictly for those not doing veganuary, this pot of carnivorous delight comes with a Japanese twist (that’ll be the sushi ginger). We love a lunchtime protein hit to see us through the afternoon without the post-carb 3.30pm slump. There are many variants on the idea – tuna Nicoise, Indian-style – but we find that there’s something satisfyingly decadent-feeling about eating steak at your desk of a Tuesday afternoon. Plus, it’s healthy too.

Muffin Frittatas

Hemsley and Hemsley


The Hemsley sisters – Melissa and Jasmine – have been at the forefront of the ‘wellness’ and ‘clean eating’ movements from their inception. Self-described as ‘home cooks and food lovers with a passion for living well and enjoying delicious, nutrient-dense foods’, their onus is on aiding digestion and gut health using ‘real food’, creating ‘a plethora of the original 'meat and two veg' meals that are gluten, grain and refined sugar free alternatives to daily staples but still full of healthy fats and tasty well sourced ingredients/produce.’ Whatever you make of their approach – the notion of ‘cleaning eating’ has come under fire from some medical professionals – there is no denying that the sisters know how to whip up a tasty but healthy dish. These frittatas are so easy to make, feature eggs as a naturally occurring source of vitamin D, and are packed with any veg you may want to use up. Plus they’re easily transportable, so a perfect pick-me-up at your desk.

Squash and Broccoli Pizza Base with Green Sauce

The Gut Health Doctor


Only the determinedly disinterested could fail to have noticed that the conversation around health has turned overwhelmingly to paying attention to what happens in your gut. While carbs and fat have, by turns, been demonised, this new approach puts a more positive spin on things: it’s all about feeding your body the kind of foods that your microbiome will thank you for, and that spells variety (within reason; we’re not talking the sort of variety that takes in the likes of deep-fried Mars Bars here). Dr Megan Rossi has a PhD in gut health and a clinic on Harley Street and, as such, we trust her implicitly. But private consultations are not possible across the board, which is why we love her website and Instagram account, via which she busts myths and shares recipes. This veg-stuffed alternative to traditional pizza looks like it might take forever to make, but is surprisingly simple. Make too much the night before and wrap in tin foil for work the next day. Hey presto, pizza at your desk.

Cauliflower Buns and Bagels

My New Roots


This site doesn’t get updated as often as we’d like, but there is still a treasure trove of great recipes to mine. Sarah Britton is a self-described ‘holistic nutritionist’, and of her approach she says, ‘my diet consists mainly (like, 99 per cent) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. I probably eat an egg once every couple weeks if the mood strikes me, and sometimes I will enjoy some goat or sheep dairy in very small amounts.’ We are fans of these cauliflower bagels – fill them with anything you like (we’d go for salmon, pickled cucumber and cream cheese, if anyone’s asking), and get your veg hit without having to even think much about it.

Courgette and Feta Muffins

Rhitrition


Rhiannon Lambert is the founder of Rhitrition, a Harley Street-based clinic that specialises in ‘weight management, disordered eating, pre and post-natal nutrition and sports nutrition.’ We like both her unfussy approach to eating, and the fact that her recipes are affordable (no having to travel to the ends of the earth for special ingredients to see here). She has her own podcast, which is well worth a listen, while her excellent healthy recipes, which are regularly updated, are a great resource. These muffins are fantastic, either as a side to a salad at lunch, or for a 4pm pick-me-up, and they keep in the fridge for three days. There are tons of sweet ideas here too that are less hard on your waistline than many shop-bought alternatives.

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By Nancy Alsop
January 2020