What's for lunch?

Many of us don't take much time over lunch - and a whopping 78 per cent of us will grab a ready made snack and eat it on the run. Ready made meals can be high in salt, fat and calories. With a little forward planning you can transform your lunch into a satisfying, healthy and tasty meal.

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Pasta salad is an easy energy-rich meal to make and works with all kinds of combinations. It's an easy way to get some protein, vitamins and fibre into your diet. If you are making pasta the night before just cook a little extra. Mix cold pasta with cherry tomato, cucumber, olives and feta cheese. Add a little olive and lemon juice for a Greek salad style pasta lunch. As an alternative try tuna, sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes with a light mayonnaise.

Cous cous is easy to prepare and good source of protein, fibre and vitamin A. It also has virtually no fat and so makes for a really healthy lunch. Use in combination with roasted vegetables flavoured with cumin and paprika. Add chickpeas, fresh mint and red onion for a high protein, energy boosting midday meal. If you want something more substantial add roasted chicken or poached salmon.

Soup is a great way to top up on your five a day. From winter favourites, like leek and potato or spicy parsnip, to summer inspired Mediterranean vegetable or cream of asparagus. Prepare a batch of soup the night before and heat up in the work microwave with a chunk of crusty bread.

It's easy to turn a limp salad into a filling and nutritious meal. Try a three bean salad with cherry tomatoes, rocket and tuna. How about smoked mackerel with watercress, red peppers, spinach and red onion salad? You can use a little olive oil and Dijon mustard to dress or try balsamic vinegar.

If you really feel you want to pop out and buy something, sushi is a great lunch food on the go. It's low fat and filling and delicious too.

Finally, don't let the same soggy sandwiches make lunch time boring. Fill a pitta or tortilla with humus, black olives, tomatoes, mint and parsley. Alternatively use low-fat yoghurt with fresh mint, chick peas, cucumber and peppers for a refreshing change.

Do you have any lunch ideas to share?