Struggling for inspiration on your food choices? Here are our picks for the best healthy lunches for women over 40, which we recommend to all of our clients!

It’s incredibly common for women in their 40s and 50s to feel stuck in their bodies. A key reason behind this is not knowing what to eat for lunch to get the scales moving and see amazing results. For some, it’s even a question of whether they should eat lunch at all…

For many women in this scenario, they’ll eat things they think are ‘healthy’, such as the normal lunch options like soup or sandwiches. However, no matter how healthy they go, they’ll step on the scales at the end of the week and see zero movement (or maybe even be heavier than before)!

When you’re not seeing results, it’s very hard to stay motivated – and this is why a lot of women end up giving up. They then might be left stuck and unable to get their weight under control. For some, they even end up worrying that this is just a part of the ageing process which they’ll have to accept. However, this is not the case.

The reason this happens is simple. Women’s bodies and hormones start to change as they get older, which can make it easier to gain weight (especially around the middle) and harder to lose it again with the ‘normal’ methods of dieting.

However, when you know the best foods to eat for all your meals (including lunch), you’re better set up for success. The best healthy lunches for women over 40 allow you to quickly and easily get the scales moving and drop 2 stone in as little as 12 weeks!

In our most recent podcast episode, we revealed the best healthy lunch options for women over 40, and we’ve outlines these below for you – so you can do exactly that!

The best healthy lunches must meet the basic principles for women over 40

To make the most of your healthy lunches, you must meet a few key ideas which are designed to help women over forty. These include avoiding hormone-disrupting foods, wheat, alcohol, dairy and sugar. By steering clear of these factors, you’re more likely to see the results you deserve in the mirror.

With our clients, we do this with the Diet Makeover (DM). This easy-to-follow structure means you’re more likely to succeed – rather than relying on pure motivation! Find out more about the Diet Makeover here.

Get the right nutrients, in the right quantities

While calories are king, it’s also important to make sure you’re loading your body up with the right kinds of fuel. More specifically, you should check your protein and fibre needs are met.

Just like calories, your ideal nutrient quantities are specific to your body weight, body type, height, age and hormonal situation. Once you have the ideal numbers for you in check, you’re able to be more flexible, all while making your diet work specifically for you and your hormones.

We work with our clients to develop a Bespoke Midlife Nutrition Plan (BMNP) – which targets your body specifically. We work to develop meal timings, nutrient proportions and calories – all while taking into account your day-to-day life and goals. We also make sure to take into account caffeine, stress and your hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin).

Inside our Fit Over 40 program, we call this overall approach Hormonally Balanced Eating (HBE). You can find out more about this here.

Foods to avoid in your healthy lunches

While some foods are obvious to avoid when trying to lose weight, others might catch you by surprise. Here’s a quick list of some foods we recommend avoiding as a women over forty:

  • Sandwiches and crisps – unless done right, these tend to lack protein and be jam-packed with quick-burning carbs
  • Shop-bought soups – these can be full of sugar and nasty preservatives. Plus, if eaten on they’re own, they might not fill you up properly with all the nutrients you need
  • Canteen lunches, such as pasta, lasagne, chips – these tend to be high in calories, and it’s hard to monitor portion sizes
  • Snacks only, such as crisps and chocolate bars – these speak for themselves, but they’re simply not suitable to fill you up over a long period of time
  • Service station/supermarket pasta salads – these are loaded with mayo and often have minimal veg to meet your nutritional needs
  • Paninis and lattes – again, these can be low in fibre and protein to keep you fuelled for longer

Overall, these lunches tend to be high in calories, have low/no fibre or protein, and often they aren’t filling and are high in calories.

The best healthy lunches for women over 40

So, what do we recommend instead? We’ve compiled a list of easy to make, tasty and healthy lunches for you to indulge in and still hit your weight loss goals. Here they are:

  • Homemade soup with added protein
    • Add potato, such as sweet potato/squash
    • Add protein, like ham, chicken, lentils
    • Have a protein shake on the side
  • Homemade salad
    • Add a protein source (meat, fish, eggs, tofu)
    • Have a variety of veg, like lettuce, mange tout, cucumber, green beans
    • Use a healthy dressing, like balsamic vinegar/glaze
  • Omelette
    • Add optional extra protein: ham, chicken
    • Add veg, like peppers, onion, spinach
    • Include salad on the side
  • Jacket potato
    • Use minimal butter/mayo
    • Add tuna, chicken, chicken sausages, chicken, bacon
    • Use lighter mayo
    • Have a salad on the side
  • Healthy ready meals
    • Go for ones with 20g+ of protein
    • Opt for ones under 450kcals
    • Examples include Sainsbury’s My Goodness, M&S Count on Us/Balanced For You range, or Waitrose Love Life
  • Last night’s dinner leftovers
    • If you cooked a healthy dinner, cook an extra 1-2 portions and save yourself the hassle of making extra lunches
    • Tip: Lunch doesn’t have to be different to any other meal – that’s just a marketing ploy to sell more stuff!
    • This is a good option if you can reheat food at work (or your home office)

Find out more about how we can help by clicking here!

Snacks to lose weight