For a light lunch that will keep you full and give your brain a boost, why not try sushi.
It’s always top of nutritionist Alix Wood’s list of healthy lunches, and she recommends eating it regularly in order to help protect the brain. Fish in sushi is the number one ‘brain’ food. It is rich in Omega-3 fish oils that are classed as essential fats, as the body can’t make them. These fatty acids help to nourish and repair brain cells, focus the mind and increase concentration. Fish is also high in Vitamin B12, which keeps the brain ‘happy’ and staves off bouts of depression, anxiety and brain fog.
As most already know, fish is also an excellent source of protein that balances blood sugar and keeps energy stable. This leads to longer spells of satiety, enhanced metabolism and less snacking (between meals), encouraging steady and safe weight loss.
Alix recommends the super salmon light (£4.99) which offers a good variety of salmon sushi, avocado maki and salmon sashimi, and comes in at only 433 calories!
Where? itsu stores nationwide
Not a sushi fan? Try the Chicken Satay Hot box from Leon (£6.95). Alix says it’s an excellent example of a well-balanced warming meal with a good proportion of protein from chicken, soybeans, seeds, quinoa and millet. The antioxidant-rich superfoods, seeds and nuts will all provide essential fats, minerals, vitamins and fibre. The punchy Satay sauce has a mixture of peanut butter, coconut milk, and spices like cinnamon, chilli, turmeric, nutmeg and zesty lime leaves – all immune-boosting warriors! What’s more, this tasty chicken delight is suitable for those on wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
Where? Leon stores nationwide
Those looking for veggie options, it’s important to check your choice stacks up in the protein side of things, as well as providing as many nutrients as possible.
A good option would be the Super Nutty Whole-Food Salad from Marks & Spencer (£3.30), a power-packed vegetarian-friendly superfood salad loaded with functional high-protein sources of quinoa, spelt and beans. As most of us know by now, proteins are essential to all body systems to build and repair cell tissue, and opting for plant versions provides even more health benefits.
This salad is a good source of protein, a low carbohydrate, low salt meal that delivers maximum nutrients and flavour for optimal health.
Where? Marks & Spencer nationwide
We all know the importance of good hydration throughout the day, the hardest part is actually getting that daily quota! Well, we have some good news. Woods reminds us that all drinks count towards our daily hydration water quota, but some are of course better than others. Fizzy drinks, smoothies and cordial all contain sugar, which may add unnecessary calories, whereas herbal and fruit teas are hydrating and sugar free. She also warns to be wary of caffeine and alcohol, as these increase water loss, and also deplete the body of nutrients.
Alix recommends itsu’s Zen Waters (www.itsu.com) which are perfect to have if it’s hot – here’s hoping for an Indian summer – as they are refreshing, light and hydrating. Her first choice being the cooling, Cucumber & Mint flavour (£1.49). For those who need a bit of a sweeter lift after a long hot day, Alix says itsu’s Berry Low (£1.49) is uplifting with a zing of ginger and natural sugar from the stevia plant. The gingerols support digestion and also have anti-inflammatory properties too.
Where? itsu stores nationwide
For those of you who can’t resist a fizzy tipple, why not go for one that’s good for your gut too, like Kombocha. Cassandra Barns comments: “Kombucha is good for our gut because it contains natural friendly bacteria. It’s like a natural probiotic in drink form – but better, because it can provide a much wider range of bacteria than a typical probiotic supplement or yoghurt drink, and also contains vitamins and enzymes that are produced by the bacteria during fermentation.”
Where? Waitrose stores nationwide
A whopping 54% of Brits lack fibre in their diet! Are you getting the Government’s recommended 30g per day? If the answer is no, fear not – there are easy and simple ways to introduce more fibre into your diet. Instead of crisps, why not opt for oatcakes with a scoop of nut butter. Barns comments, “Fibre in our diet is vital for a healthy gut and helping with regular bowel movements. Oatcakes are a great choice as they’re made with coarse, wholegrain oats and are high in soluble and insoluble fibre.”
Where? Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s and Morrisons nationwide.