What's for lunch?

Wanted to share with you an article I wrote for Aspria last month


If you feel like your lunch choices are down to an industrial sized canteen, a baguette sandwich or a pile of pasta at the local restaurant then maybe it’s time to re-think…


We are all different – one size does not fit all and different foods have a different effect on each person. This is the approach of bio-individuality which is at the heart of my work with clients to help them to listen to their own bodies and really discover what makes them feel good. However following some of my simple guidelines below can help you in being able to hear what your body really wants and at the same time can really boost your afternoon energy!


Try asking yourself a few basic questions:

·      Do I feel bloated after lunch?

·      Do I feel sleepy in mid-afternoon and need something to keep me going (coffee/sugar)?

·      How long is it before I am hungry again?

·      How is my digestion?


Asking these types of questions helps us to discover on a personal and individual level whether what we are eating for lunch is helping us have sustained energy for the afternoon or not, whether our choices are really serving us.


When you start to learn what works best for you, you may like to begin to bring your own lunch from home. There are some fantastic bento boxes and other lunch boxes available which are really practical and fun.


OK – so how can I create a lunch that GIVES me energy and doesn’t leave me exhausted in the afternoon…. why not try these 5 flexible guidelines:


1)   A green base: lots and lots of green leaves – raw spinach, lambs leaf, rocket, salad leaves, finely chopped fresh cabbage…. Green leaves are one of the most missing elements in the western diet and yet have the greatest concentration of minerals and vitamins per calorie of any food… they are nutritional powerhouses… we all need more!

Spinach and chene lettuce

Spinach and chene lettuce


2)   A cup of cooked wholegrains – forget white pasta, rice or bread for lunch – this will give you a quick high and then before you know it your body is in carb-craving shock again. Switch to wholegrains and you will experience the slow release of energy that will keep you going over the afternoon. Opt for quinoa, millet, buckwheat, wholemeal couscous or brown rice.


3)   A higher protein food (unless you chose quinoa above and then this bit is not necessary as quinoa is a complete protein in itself). This can be a small amount of beans, lentils, chickpeas (a good spoon on hummus will do) – all of these options complete the protein in the wholegrains. You could also choose some fish, an egg or small piece of lean meat if they work for you…. Remember though that not all proteins are created equal – choose quality over quantity.


4)   The decoration – this is a fun bit… choose colour and texture and things that add a taste boost: some chopped peppers, tomatoes, carrot, some avocado, olives, seeds or few nuts. A bit of feta or parmesan….


5)   A dressing – I am a fan of some extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil with lemon juice or balsamic or apple cider vinegar. But you can experiment with other oils if you like them or try out some more exotic vinegar like ‘ume su’ from umeboshi plums (perfect for cabbage or kale based salads) and mix it with oil and lemon juice.


... and then let's not forget - one of the most important things is to then make a nice place for yourself at a table, leave the computer, books, TV for 15-20 mins at least and sit down to enjoy your wonderful lunch...


Why not give an energising lunch a try and see how you feel afterwards? Be curious – find the combinations you enjoy and that make you feel great afterwards… check out my website for more ideas www.suzysumner.com and let me know how it goes.


Suzy Sumner is a nutritional health coach and is based in Aspria on Thursdays from 8:30 until 15:00. If you would like an appointment, contact info@suzysumner.com