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Grabbing Lunch in a Rush? Which High Street Dishes Should you Pick?

While many of us have the best intentions by bringing homemade salads or sandwiches to work we've all been guilty of forgetting, not having time to make or even ditching home-cooked meals in favour of grabbing a sandwich, sushi or salad from our favourite brands; such as Pret-A-Manger, Itsu, Marks and Spencer , Leon or Costa. There are some dishes on offer that can be a smart choice for a healthy diet, however they also sell some indulgent dishes that you should really save for a Fridays or treat day! Here’s a few of my recommended products to keep you feeling fuller throughout the afternoon but won’t ruin your waistline!


Go for: Most of Pret salads contain brown rice, quinoa, black rice and buckwheat, these are types of slow releasing carbohydrates which keep you feeling fuller for longer;  Chicken, peppers & feta superbowl  Tuna nicoise salad  Chef’s italian chicken salad Avoid using the salad dressings or limit what you use, these can be high in saturated fat and sugar and will rapidly increase the calories.

Also Avoid : Hot wraps and the famous Mac & Cheese Hot wraps are quite calorific and very high in salt. The calories in the Mac & Cheese can go up to 700 with more than half coming from saturated fats. Also avoid “ healthy" drinks: Some of Prets seemingly healthy drinks (i.e almond protein smoothie) contain the same amount of calories as a meal (450 calories), 90% of which is derived from sugar.

Marks and Spencer If you fancy a sandwich: Wild Salmon and cucumber in wholemeal bread Wild salmon is much better than farmed, and wholemeal bread will release the energy slower than white bread.

Or a salad go for: Giant couscous, chick pea, edamame soy beans and green lentils, add some plain chicken breast for some more protein. It contains a power house of nutrients that should keep you going most of the afternoon and give you an energy boost.

Avoid: Mini roll selection and pasta mayo based dishes. These are very carb-heavy and high calorie dishes, high in fat and salt its likely to give you a post lunch slump.

Leon Go for: Original Superfoods Salad- high in fibre, protein and slow release carb quinoa. The good fats from the avocados will also keep you going longer and improve your heart health. Or for a meat option; Sicilian chicken meatball however I would add a side of peas to up the veg and fibre intake.

Avoid: Grilled Halloumi wraps and the cakes and sweet treats (the wrap is high in salt and saturated fat it probably won’t keep you feeling full and you may be tempted for a cookie later)..

Itsu Go for: The perfect Chicken bento salad – high in protein ideal post workout, or the zero salads – if weight loss is your goal. These are low in calories but high in protein. If your training and need more carbs try rice bowls – Quinea falafel or chicken Thai are good options.

Avoid- Potsu noodles (these are very high in high GI carbs and you will likely get a slump later in the afternoon). I would also avoid the wraps as some seem to be very high in sugar.


Go for: healthy options are low in Costa but the free range egg sandwich isn’t bad as it’s fairly low in calories and sugar.

Avoid: Panini’s, the bacon and Brie panini contains more sugar than a chocolate bar and has a very high salt content. Also avoid the sweet drinks, The raspberry and white chocolate cooler has more sugar in than a whole box of Mr Kipling cherry bake well tarts at 70g per serving!

All in all I hope this help, I would always take a few minutes selecting your lunch and just remember these three tips to avoid that afternoon slump and keep sugar cravings minimal.

1. Keep starch to a minimum. Avoid pasta-heavy salads, large portions of white rice and large baguette sandwiches. Starch can make you sluggish and sleepy and end up going straight to your waistline.

2. Ensure you have large serving of protein. Your salad needs a proper helping of protein such as a chicken breast, salmon steak, a large serving of hummus or a base of quinoa. This will help you maintain blood sugar levels and will keep you going for longer.

3. Include fibre. This will maintain blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy, wholegrain breads, brown rice or quinoa-based dishes are good sources as well as veg, always include some vegetables in your lunch.

Feel free to comment any other healthy options or recommendations:

#healthyeating #lunch #pret #costa #leon #crush #itsu #marksandspencer #balanceddiet #eatingontherun