Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas For Winter

veg macaroni soup

Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas For Winter

I know a lot of people really find it hard work to keep to their healthy diets in the
winter, the idea of a cold salad is a lot less appealing when it’s freezing outside
and you just want something to warm you up.

But don’t give in to temptation and buy yourself a bacon sandwich or a jacket potato stuff with cheese and beans, stay healthy and save money with my healthy packed lunch ideas for winter!

The obvious one . . . soup!

veg macaroni soup
Italian Vegetable and Macaroni Soup – Courtesy of Lucy Loves To Cook

I love soup in the winter, it really does warm you up and it’s super cheap to make but I do understand that you might not find soup to be the most filling of meals, although I can change all that. For me the secret to delicious, healthy and filling soups is beans, chickpeas, butter beans and cannellini beans are some of my favourites.

I personally prefer a chunky soup to a smooth one so adding some beans is easy, all you need to do is add your desired beans about 5-10 minutes before the soup is due to be ready and let it cook as normal. I also like to add small pasta shapes to my soups, the smallest portion of pasta, I usually do 20g of dry pasta per portion really makes the difference and will make you feel full and satisfied.

Stews, Casseroles and Curries

Kind of carrying on from soups is Stews, Casseroles and Curries. A lot of people I speak to struggle to think of healthy lunch ideas past soup and salads but as long as you aren’t deep frying almost anything can be made in a healthy way. Here are my top three tips to to keeping calories low in Stews, Casseroles and Curries :

veg butterbean stew
Chunky Veggie & Butter Bean Stew, courtesy of Lucy Loves to Cook

1. Measure Out Your Oil – For frying the basic ingredients you only ever need a tablespoon of olive oil, so if you are making a large portion of stew to serve 6 that’s only 20 calories worth of oil per portion.

chickpea lentil curry rice plate
Chickpea & Lentil Curry, courtesy of Lucy Loves to Cook

2. Skip The Meat – Yes, I know for you carnivores this might be hard one but it’ll save you a tonne of calories and it’ll also save you some money too, with the meat prices rising I find my self eating veggie more and more often!

spicy bean pasta dish
Spicy Bean & Pasta Soup, courtesy of Lucy Loves to Cook

3. Bulk Up on Veggies & Beans – Vegetables and beans are cheap, delicious, filling and healthy. Try swapping the meat you’d usually add in dishes for beans and adding 2 or 3 vegetables so you get a bit of variety in your meal.

Getting Yourself Organised

Being organised is such a big part of living a healthy lifestyle, especially if you live somewhere (like me) where there isn’t a large variety of healthy lunches you can buy. Every week I spend a couple of hours shopping and cooking healthy food for the week ahead, I decide what I want to make, work out how many days I’m going to need it for, then I make up the weeks worth of soup/ curry/ stew/ casserole, portion it up and put it in the freezer so it’s ready to eat when I want it.

Ways To Keep The Costs Down

With food costs going up constantly finding cheaper foods to eat is something I’m always trying to do. Most of my lunch time dishes cost me under £1, I manage to keep my costs this low by swapping meat for beans, using vegetables that are in season, buying them from greengrocers rather than a supermarket, and using frozen veg where I can, peas, broad beans and spinach are particularly good.

For all these ideas you can either re heat your meal in a microwave at work or invest in a flask to keep your dish warm, I’d advise the Thermos Stainless King Food Flask.

I really hope these ideas have inspired you to stay healthy in the winter!

Many thanks to Lucy Chapman of Lucy Loves to Cook fame for these inspirational ways to stay healthy in winter while saving money.

Do you have any winter packed lunch ideas? Get in touch and tell us more.

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