If you’re a foodie, but also a health conscious gym-goer, sometimes it’s hard to strike a balance, especially for lunches. Summer’s not so bad – salad is aplenty and there are all sorts of cold treats you can prepare in advance. But when it’s cold outside and you’ve had a tough gym session first thing in the morning (yes I know, I’m mad), you want something warming and filling, but not stocked up with all the wrong nutrients. In my quest for a yummy yet healthy lunch, I found this chickpea and feta salad recipe on the BBC Good Food website. I varied it slightly and it’s one you can whip up in five minutes, make a few batches and enjoy warmed up at work.
Using my newfound knife skills courtesy of my Jamie Oliver lesson, I chopped up onion, red pepper, red chilli and tomato. The recipe called for cherry tomatoes, but I just went for what we had in the fridge. I guess it’s up to you whether you stick to the recipe to the letter.
Fry the onion, pepper and chilli in olive oil until everything softens, then add the tomato and carry on for a few minutes. Then pour in a tin of chickpeas (water drained out, obvs) and mix it all together.
In a separate bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, paprika and seasoning to form a dressing and stir this into the mixture.
The recipe then tells you to put the chickpea mixture on top of some spinach leaves and top with the crumbled feta. Since I was making this to take to work, I just let it cool, popped it in my Tupperware and sprinkled the feta on top. For a bit of extra protein and goodness I added some poached salmon, which went perfectly.
If you stick to the portions, which is basically half of the mixture (ie half a tin of chickpeas), that’ll give you 289 calories, 15g of protein, 28g of carbs, 14g of fat (just 3g saturated), and 8g of fibre. Healthy, tasty, and filling enough to keep you going for the afternoon. I liked it so much I’ve made a second batch!
What’s your healthy lunch choice?
Recipe inspired by BBC Good Food website, originally from Good Food magazine, December 2010