5 Healthy lunches to leave you feeling warm inside

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As temperatures drop, the prospect of “carb loading” on pasta (preferably covered in cheese) grows ever more appealing… But it is possible to make healthier choices without being left feeling hungry and deprived. Swapping that hefty carbonara for a Mediterranean rice box for one. Or a croque monsieur for an avocado toasted tortilla…

1. LEON

If you’re in the mood for… Mediterranean 

As you tuck into those Sicilian Chicken meatballs, we know what you’re thinking. How can this possibly be good for you when it tastes this good? With a menu inspired by the flavours, variety and natural healthiness of Mediterranean cooking LEON knows its “good” carbs and fats from bad. Hearty and wholesome, the Autumn menu is guaranteed to leave you feeling warm inside on these miserable grey days. Try a “Little Hot Box” of Brazilian Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Okra Stew or South Indian Spiced Fish, all served on a bed of brown rice. For a bigger portion, try a “Big Hot Box” of Thai Green chicken, Sweet Potato falafel, Chargrilled chicken, satay or Moroccan Meatballs, served with Italian rice and fresh slaw. Oh and those baked fries are a lovely little addition if you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

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Photo: Pho

2. PHO

If you’re in the mood for… Vietnamese  

If you haven’t yet visited London’s first Vietnamese street food restaurant yet, now is the time! Their signature tasty, nutritious noodle soup will fill your body with warmth and make everything feel OK. Swap your usual battered spring roll for Gỏi cuốn – fresh rice paper summer rolls with herbs, vermicelli and pickle. If you’re in the mood for something hot and spicy, try the Bún gà Huế (hot & spicy chicken pho) or ‘Spicy Green’. Tender chicken breast, morning glory, green beans, pak choi, lime and Thai basil in hot and spicy veggie broth! Wash it down with an apple, mint and lime juice, zingy carrot, apple and ginger juice or a homemade fiery lemonade. (Come Friday… just add a cheeky shot of vodka!)

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Photo: Tossed Uk

3. TOSSED

If you’re in the mood for… Spicy superveg   

Transport yourself to somewhere tropical with an Indonesian inspired Tossed Pot. A clean coconut curry with chicken or roasted roots if you’re vegan (or flexitarian) – all under 300cals! If you like spice, try the spicy superveg pot with your choice of chicken, falafel or halloumi protein. This one comes with smashed avocado, piri piri sauce and roasted sweet potato – delish! There’s also a “Hearty Houmous” option and a “Mighty Mexican” with tortilla chips and spicy beans. If you’re someone who really likes to drill into the carbs, sugar, protein, fat, fibre, calories etc use their nifty nutritional calculator. We get it… sometimes you just need to fit into a dress.

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Photo: Covent Garden Soup

4. COVENT GARDEN SOUPS

If you’re in the mood for… A hearty soup 

You can’t go wrong with a good old fashioned Covent Garden Soup. We’re rather excited about the “Soup of the Month” – Butternut Risotto. A hearty combination of butternut squash, carrot and rice with a sprinkling of cheese, fennel seeds and black pepper. With Autumn knocking on the door and those long summer nights drawing to a close, tuck into a bowl to brighten your day. A great one for vegetarians. For a “skinny” option, look out for the bright green packaging. Our choice is the Piri Piri Chicken. Chicken pieces, grilled red peppers, red chilli and garlic with a hit of zesty lemon and a dollop of cooling crème fraiche.

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Photo: Pret

5. PRET

If you’re in the mood for… Something toasted 

Sometimes, all you need is a toasty warm hug from the toasty machine. But say goodbye to that croque monsieur. Try a toasted tortilla from Pret instead. Vegan? No problem.There’s an “Avocado and beans toasted tortilla” especially for vegans with sliced avocado on a layer of red tapenade topped with whole-leaf basil and Pret’s baked beans. For vegetarians there’s another version with cheddar and chipotle. Another warming dish on the menu is the Cauli & Sweet Potato Dhal. A mildly spicy gluten-free, dairy-free dhal with chunks of roasted sweet potato, roasted turmeric cauliflower and baby plum tomatoes. Topped with a pot of fresh spinach, toasted seed.

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By Hettie

A destination for healthy hedonists that fuses the worlds of fitness, healthy food and drink.