3. CHOPPED ROCKET & SPINACH
4. MASHED AVOCADO
How packing your own lunch can boost both your health and your bank account.
Do it yourself
Recession might hit your food budget hard but it needn’t hit your health. More of us than ever before are ditching shop-bought lunches, which is particularly good news for runners. “To pie-form well you need even more control over the balance of proteins, carbs and fats you take in,” says nutritionist Dr Alice Sykes. “The problem is we associate lunch with packaged foods, easily spending £8 on empty calories just to feel hungry again in an hour.” Cut out the rubbish and regain control with these simple, healthy meals. It’s a packed lunch – in every sense of the word.
If you normally buy: A sandwich
WHY DIY? Shop-bought sandwiches stuffed with mayonnaise and butter are bad news for athletes, warns nutritional therapist Janine Fahri (nutrilifeclinic.com). “These saturated fats have no nutritional value.” To stop wet ingredients from leaching into the bread, Fahri recommends avocado instead of butter. Avocado has 4o per cent fewer calories than mayo, with a quarter of the fat.
TRY THIS Spread a toasted bagel with mashed avocado. Add some roughly chopped spinach and rocket and top with buffalo mozzarella.
If you normally buy: Sushi
WHY DIY? A carb-rich energy boost, sushi doesn’t come cheap. But handmade sushi does, and also strengthens your bones for a run. A study at the Human Nutrition Research Center, Boston, USA, confirmed that vitamin C helps avoid bone-density loss. Nori seaweed and red peppers are packed with vitamin C, while cucumber and prawns contain antioxidants. TRY THIS Spoon cooked sushi rice onto a sheet of nori seaweed. Place strips of cucumber, red peppers and prawns diagonally across the rice and fold the nori around, sealing the edges with water. Chop into bite-sized discs.
If you normally buy: Soup
WHY DIY? Freshly made soups are often thickened with double cream, says Sykes. “There are huge myths surrounding dairy products: broccoli actually has more calcium than milk.”
TRY THIS Broccoli and lentil soup. Chop and fry an onion before adding iz5g of red lentils and a litre of vegetable stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add a handful of broccoli florets and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with seeds and serve. This calcium-rich soup packs in seven times more protein than a cream-based one.
If you normally buy: Salads
WHY DIY? “Many shop-bought salads aren’t varied enough,” says nutritional therapist and coach Ian Craig (craigcoaching. corn). “To fuel a run, you need lots of colourful ingredients.” Salad leaves are best combined with muscle-building proteins like feta cheese, hummus or smoked fish, while a dressing made from nut oils adds flavour. TRY THIS Salad nicoise: cos and romaine lettuce, rocket, boiled eggs, tuna and black olives. Mix a teaspoon each of sesame oil, lemon juice and white vinegar as dressing.
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