As dietitians, we love to encourage homemade meals and snacks as much as possible. But we also like to think we’re realistic. We know how busy weeknights and work days can be. Whether you haven’t had time for meal prep, or going out of office for lunch helps keep you going, the local food court can still be a nutritious option. While many of the meals you’ll find in a food court are higher in energy and fat than home-cooked options, it’s definitely not always the case if you know what to look for. Here are our recommended healthy food court work lunches.
14 healthy food court work lunches
- Sandwiches or wraps that contain at least 3 salad ingredients as well as a lean protein and a wholegrain or sourdough wrap/bread.
- A salad is one of the easiest healthy options. Choose a lean protein, like grilled chicken or salmon. Always go for vinegar-based dressings instead of creamy ones.
- Choose grilled fish and enjoy it with a side salad.
- A baked potato filled with beans and salad ingredients, hold the sour cream!
- Poke bowls with tofu, salmon or grilled chicken as your protein.
- A burrito bowl with extra salad and no sour cream.
- A stir-fry made with lean protein, vegetables and brown rice.
- Vietnamese rice paper rolls are always a treat. Enjoy them with chicken or tofu.
- Tabbouleh or other Middle-Eastern grain or bean-based dishes
- A Greek mezze platter with grilled chicken and salad.
- Eggs on wholegrain toast with sauteed veggies or a vegetable omelette.
- Sushi is fine occasionally as it is often high in carbs, but low in protein and vegetables. If you do choose sushi, include a side of edamame and sashimi. You should also choose fillings such as tuna, salmon or chicken over tempura.
- Ramen or udon dishes are also fine occasionally. While ingredients like miso may have nutritional benefits, these are often high-fat meals with few vegetables. Try to order vegetables, like Asian green or edamame on the side.
- A bento box with grilled chicken or salmon. Limit tempura options.
6 less nutritious food court options to limit
- Deep-fried foods, like tempura and hot chips
- Kebabs and burgers
- Noodles and rice dishes that don’t have many veggies, like curry
- Creamy salad dressings, such as Caesar dressing
- Some yoghurts and smoothies as they are often higher in sugar and fat than homemade versions
- Soft drinks and juices
If you’re looking for more healthy food court options, but ones you can test your hand at at home, why not try out one of these healthy cafe breakfasts you can meal prep yourself? And for more advice on how to eat better at work, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for weekly content drops.