Hormone balancing lunch ideas
Are you stuck in a rut with lunch ideas? Are you having a sandwich or the same thing most days? It’s easily done, especially if you are not at home for lunch. But lunch is an ideal time to refuel to keep you going through the afternoon and avoid that mid-afternoon energy dip when we are more likely to end up snacking on cake and biscuits.
The trick with lunch is to make sure you are having a fist sized portion of protein or healthy fats – such as chicken, tuna, mackerel, eggs, avocado, lentils or beans. This is where it often goes wrong, as we don’t tend to be eating enough protein or healthy fat for lunch. I’ve nothing against an occasional sandwich, but they don’t tend to have enough protein or healthy fat in them, hence leaving you wanting crips or other snacks as well as giving you that mid afternoon need for a snack.
Making sure you have enough protein or healthy fat will help balance your blood sugar levels, so keeping you fuller for longer. This in turn will help keep your energy levels up and balance your hormones.
Add in some vegetables with lunch too and this helps get your quota up for the day, providing you with some fibre, anti-inflammatory compounds and vitamins and minerals that help with energy and hormone balance.
Here are some lunch ideas to start you off:
Probably the easiest and quickest option is to cook an extra portion of your evening meal and then have it for lunch the following day. Evening meals also tend to be higher in protein and come with vegetables too.
I am a big fan of soups, especially in the autumn and winter. They are a really easy way to pack in plenty of different vegetables. Make sure you add in some protein as well with cooked chicken, lentils and beans, and why not top it off with some toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch. It’s also something that you can make a big batch of at the weekend and then have a supply of lunches to keep you going through the week. If you experience bloating or IBS, then a smooth soup can be easier to digest. Otherwise keeping it chunky can make it seem more substantial. You can also add pasta or rice to your soup to bulk it out. Check out the recipe section on my website for some soup ideas or download my Foods to Reduce Endometriosis Pain e-book.
Salad is sometimes described as boring. It can be if you rely on lettuce, tomato and cucumber all the time. The trick with salad is to keep mixing it up to get plenty of variety. It really is anything goes in terms of what you can add to a salad, and they are a great way to get plenty of hormone balancing nutrients in. My basic salad ingredients are including things from each of the categories below:
- Protein – chicken, tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tofu, eggs, lentils, beans, feta, haloumi or cottage cheese.
- Healthy fats – avocado, olives, nuts, seeds.
- Salad leaves – rocket, spinach, watercress, pea shoots.
- Vegetables – carrot, radish, beetroot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli, celery, spring onions, peppers, green beans, red or white cabbage, sauerkraut, kimchi etc.
- Carbohydrates – roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash or celeriac, cooked quinoa or brown rice.
- Dressing – hummus, guacamole, or olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
You can bulk cook your carbohydrate source if you are using them to save time putting your salad together.
A two egg omelette easily gets your protein in. Then add in plenty of vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, onions or sweetcorn. Finally, top it off with some herbs. Or make a big frittata and have cold slices for lunch the following days with some salad.
Avocado and beans
Another easy way to up your intake of protein and healthy fats is to mash some avocado with cannellini beans and have this on toast. Get the recipe from my Managing Menopause e-book.
This middle eastern inspired dish is another good way to get plenty of hormone balancing protein and vegetables in for lunch. You can also make extra portions for lunch on other days. There are so many variations of the dish, but the basic is tomatoes and spices baked with either egg or tofu. You can add other vegetables like onions, peppers or aubergine too. Check it out if you haven’t tried it before.