Seven healthy lunch ideas

Dietitian, Berna Harmse, alerts us to healthy lunch ideas to keep you energised and full.


Eating a healthy lunch during the day can be a challenge. For those who now work from home since lockdown, the temptation of your kitchen nearby can be the problem, or you are soon to go on holiday and don’t know how to say no to all the treats.

Eating lunch is most important to keep our blood glucose levels stable and avoids us from overeating at the next meal. Try these healthier lunch options:

1   Sandwiches

A good old sarmie is always a good lunch option, or crackers, such as Provita or Ryvita. Avoid regular mayonnaise, margarine or butter, and rather use the light or heart-friendly options.

Healthy, low-fat fillings include:

  • Marmite, Bovril or fish paste
  • Melrose low-fat cheese spread or wedges
  • Tuna or white meat chicken with a low-fat mayonnaise
  • Cottage cheese. Spice it up with Bovril or chutney
  • Peanut butter 
  • Avocado pear
  • Add plenty salad ingredients to make it more filling

2   Other ideas

  • Leftover pasta can be turned into a pasta salad. 
  • A cold baked potato with tuna salad or cottage cheese makes a change from a sandwich. 
  • In winter, a flask of low fat Cup-a-soup or homemade soup is filling.

3    Muffins

  • Make your own lower fat, lower sugar versions and add extra fruit, such as banana, cranberries, raisins or dates. Try the recipe.
  • If buying muffins, buy the whole-wheat variety with fruit or veg added.
  • Crumpets are an easy alternative.

4    Fruit

  • Eat a variety, whole or sliced, fresh fruit salad.
  • Make fresh fruit kebabs with blunt sosatie sticks.
  • Make a fruit smoothie. Blend fruit with fat-free yoghurt or fruit juice. For example: bananas, strawberries, fat-free plain yoghurt with a teaspoon of honey.
  • Limit fruit juice to 125ml a day, and dilute with water.

5    Vegetables

Raw, chopped or sliced, carrots, baby tomatoes, cucumber, sugar snap peas and mushrooms, plain or with cottage cheese and chutney.

6    Yoghurts or milk

  • Low-fat or fat-free fruit or plain yoghurt is best.  
  • A fat-free milkshake or drinking yoghurt, occasionally.
  • Freeze normal small yoghurts for a great frozen yogurt treat.

7    Treats

  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Low-fat muesli or grain bar e.g. Kellogg’s bars or Safari
  • A tube of wine gums
  • A few boiled sweets or marshmallows
  • Small packet of plain pretzels
  • Small packet of Flings crisps
  • Small packet of unsalted or roasted peanuts and raisins.
  • A few biscuits, such as Marie, Boudoir or Gingernuts
  • Biltong snapstix

Bran muffin recipe

Makes 5-7 dozen muffins, depending on size.

One muffin = one starch

Ingredients

  • 225g/ 6 cups bran
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 120g margarine, melted
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (this is ½ the amount of sugar recommended, add sweetener if needed)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1l buttermilk
  • 25ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 325g /625ml cake flour
  • 325g/625ml whole-wheat flour
  • 10ml salt
  • Raisins, chopped apple, dates or dried fruit to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C.  
  2. Spray the muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.  
  3. Mix the bran and boiling water in a large mixing bowl.  
  4. Add the margarine and allow to cool slightly.  
  5. Add the sugar, eggs and 750ml of the buttermilk and mix.  
  6. Combine the bicarbonate of soda and the remaining 250ml buttermilk, add it to the bran mixture and mix.  
  7. Combine the two flours and salt, then stir in the raisins and other flavourings.  
  8. Add this mixture to the bran mixture and blend to form a soft dough.  
  9. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins until the cups are two-thirds full.  
  10. Bake the muffins on the middle rack of the oven for 20 min. Allow them to cool.

TIP: The batter can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. Add fruit just before baking.

Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian. She holds a MSc in Dietetics, 
and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.

MEET THE EXPERT – Berna Harmse

Berna Harmse is a private practicing dietitian. She holds a MSc in Dietetics, and has a special interest in oncology nutrition. She is also an external lecturer at Stellenbosch University Division of Human Nutrition.


3 Replies to “Seven healthy lunch ideas”

      1. Morning Valenica, I spoke to Berna and her response was: Yes, these options will also apply to triple negative breast cancer patients.

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