It’s October already and here I am back at college for my final year as a Naturopathic Nutrition student. I am absolutely loving getting down to the nitty gritty of the effects nutrients have on our body. In particular I’m finding it fascinating learning about how certain nutrients play a role in switching on or off certain genes which may be the catalyst in the progress of disease. AMAZING!!

So… with that in mind let’s eat food which nourishes our bodies, but at the same time let’s make it super tasty with these healthy lunch bowls!

I want to share with you some really easy ways you can have a super nutritious (and delicious) lunch or dinner even if you’re a really busy person and think that you don’t have the time to eat healthily.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s all in the preparation. The trick with this one is to always have some great ingredients at home to be able to grab and assemble rather than thinking about what to cook when you need a quick lunch or get back home from work and are hungry. If you’ve got some good left overs and key ingredients in the cupboards and the fridge it’s no effort at all to make a very quick nutritious lunch or dinner. Always cook more; for example I usually cook enough quinoa or brown rice for 2-3 meals in one go because it keeps in the fridge for a couple of days, I then have jars of chickpeas or black beans in the cupboard, olives and capers, and some eggs or tofu. Again, make your life easier by pre cooking 2-3 eggs in one go and keep them in the fridge. Things like roasted veg are also great cold in a nutritious nourishing bowl. So the key ingredients to include are:

Protein

Plant based protein can include quinoa, tofu, chick peas, lentils or beans, or if you include animal proteins in your diet, a boiled egg or grilled piece of fish is a nice addition.

Complex Carbs

Veggies: go crazy and include a rainbow variety of purples, reds, yellow and orange and big up the dark greens. Roasted sweet potato and squashes, shredded red cabbage or thinly sliced red onion, radishes, yellow and red bell peppers, cucumber and tomatoes in any combination. Of the dark greens you can include watercress, rocket, spinach or kale and roasted sprouts are one of my favourites.
Starches: go for quinoa or brown rice here as these are absorbed much slower and are less likely to be laid down as fat deposits. Sweet potatoes are also delicious roasted.

Healthy fats

Make sure to include the all important Essential Fatty Acids. Avocado and olives or their respective oils to drizzle over is a great way to include these healthy fats in your diet. Seeds such as pumpkin and hemp are delicious sprinkled over and add a nice crunch.

Super Little Extras

Sea vegetables: a great addition to your diet as they contain many important minerals we often miss from our diets due to mineral depleted soils that fresh produce are grown in. You can buy sea veg from health food shops and they sometimes come in a mix, or just nori sheets cut up small and sprinkled over.
Fermented foods: are so amazing for out digestion as they provide us with a whole bunch of good bacteria for our gut improving our digestion and absorption of nutrients. These are things like Sourkraut or Kimchi.
Herbs and spices: For centuries people have used herbs and spices for health, be it fennel or mint for digestion, garlic for colds or in the Ayurvedic tradition turmeric for pain relief (and many other things). I love adding fresh herbs such as corriander, parsley and dill to salads, garlic with my roast veg and turmeric or cumin to most things.
Sprouted Seeds and Pulses: are easier to digest as enzymes have been released in the sprouting precess plus the vitamin and mineral content increases during this transformation. The enzymes themselves can also be extremely beneficial for our health.
Dressing: You can make a dressing in advance and keep in the fridge for 3-4 day. Something like a tahini dressing is always delicious, but you can also just drizzle some hemp, avocado or olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go.

Here are 3 different amazingly nourishing bowls of goodness for some inspiration. Have at home or pack in a tupperware box and take with you to work for a delicious packed lunch.

1. Spicy chickpeas with steamed kale, turmeric quinoa, sourkraut, watercress and avocado. Lemon and olive oil dressing and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

Healthy Lunch Bowls 1

2. Brown rice, black beans, avocado and kimchi with raw veg.

Healthy Lunch Bowls 2

3. Roast butternut squash, buckwheat, grated beetroot and apple, lollo rosso, sprouted sunflower seeds and nori strips to garnish with a tahini garlic dressing.

Healthy Lunch Bowls 3

 

 

Recipe notes:

  1. Spicy Chickpeas – 1 can/jar chickpeas, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, pinch of himalayan salt. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 10 min.
  2. Use left over brown rice to save time when you’re in a rush.
  3. Roast butternut squash – cut the butternut squash into long strips, add 1/2 tbsp coconut oil to the roasting tray and cook until soft and slightly crisped. Cooked the evening before for a quick and easy lunch the following day.