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At a loss for what to eat at each lunch-time or bored to death with your usual choice of sandwich? Check out some of the following lunch ideas. Choosing a healthy nutrient-packed lunch can go a long way to help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump (along with a good night's sleep!), boost your afternoon brain power and help you avoid the temptation of joining in the daily afternoon biscuit ritual.

Alternative lunch options

Occasionally trying an alternative to a sandwich may help to boost the nutrient levels of your diet. Try some of the following suggestions:

• Hummus with raw vegetable selection (carrots, broccoli, cucumber, chunks of pepper)

• Try Cauldron's Organic vegetable Pates - spread on brown rice crackers from Health Essentials (try roasted parsnip & carrot or Moroccan chickpea - gorgeous!)

• Wholemeal pasta / rice / cous-cous salad with chopped raw veggies and flavoured with herbs, sun dried tomatoes, lemon, chilli. Include a dessertspoon of oil such as Udo's oil blend or Essential Balance Oil in the dressing to boost essential fat levels in the diet (oils available from Health Essentials, Carob or Leaders health food shops)

• Baked potato without butter topped with prawns and chopped carrot; cottage cheese, chives and cucumber; or tuna with chopped olives, spring onions and herbs

Good lunchtime sandwich shop food

• Sushi from M & S, The Potteries or Jersey Sushi at Fort Regent

• Mange-tout do great salad tubs - really healthy and nutritious

• Rice and pasta salads - opt for wholemeal pasta or brown rice. Check they include loads of veggies and not too much oil/mayonnaise

• Wholemeal sandwich with healthy fillings such as prawns/grilled chicken/cottage cheese/avocado and tomato

• Home-made or shop bought natural ingredient soups - if you are vegetarian

check these soups are not made with chicken or beef stock

• Fresh fruit smoothies - made in house. Some smoothies can contain LOADS of sugar. Always check the sugar content.

Beware of these ingredients hidden in your lunch-box!

• Sugar laden yogurts - instead opt for low fat Bio yogurt with chopped fresh fruit

• Pre packaged meats such as bacon or ham - often contains unhealthy preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites

• Flapjacks or muffins (which appear healthy enough) high in sugar and fat

• Low fat 'healthy' snacks - check the ingredient list for unwanted hydrogenated fats, additives or artificial sweeteners

• Mayonnaise coated coleslaw or potato salad

• High fat sandwiches - check the ingredients - not all sandwiches are equal e.g. bacon and brie/ham and cheese/chicken and thick mayonnaise

Written by Mandy Bonhomme at 12:00

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