Prepping food in advance (once or twice a week) is a great way to ensure you are on the right track at all times and prevents you from reaching for less ideal meals and snacks when you’re desperate and there isn’t much in the way of nutritious options on offer. But, for those of us who don’t enjoy prepping their own food and actually prefer buying their lunch and snacks outside there are some great options if you work in and around London or another busy City or high street with lots of choice. One of my favourites at the moment has to be Pret! I used to think of Pret as nothing more than somewhere to get a sandwich or a croissant, but it really has stepped up its health game over the last year or so.
I want to go through some of their breakfast, lunch and snack options and I hope it helps you make good choices and not feel so stumped next time you’re looking for a healthy and balanced lunch option.
For those of you who don’t work near a Pret or just don’t like it, most of these options will be available in a similar form in other eateries so can just help to give you a good idea of the kinds of things to look out for.
I only found one decent breakfast option in Pret but you could also go for a protein snack pots I’ve listed in the snack section, who says breakfast has to be typical breakfast food? No one!!
- Porridge with honey or other sweeteners, remember these places want you to keep coming back so they wont be shy on the amount of sugar they include
- Croissants, brioches, muffins, cereal bars, other so-called ‘healthy’ bars.
- White bread and baguettes
- Honey and compotes
Five Grain Porridge – made with quinoa, amaranth, flax seeds, whole oats and organic coconut water. It’s naturally creamy (never gloopy), dairy-free and made with no gluten ingredients. We like this one! If you want to sweeten it up add your own raspberries, blueberries, or ¼ of a banana.
Pret are now using ingredients like brown rice, quinoa, black rice and buckwheat, oh and of course kale, which is really great! The options I’ve listed here contain these types of slow releasing carbohydrates, not refined quick releasing ones like white rice, pasta and bread.
- Wraps, baguettes, sandwiches, toasties.
- Roast salmon & avo superbowl
- Beets, squash & feta superbowl
- Chicken, pesto & buffalo mozzarella
- Chicken, peppers & feta superbowl
- Red tapenade & avo superbowl – but this one needs some extra protein added to it to add one of the snack pots below e.g. boiled egg.
- Red thai chicken curry quinoa rice pot
- Tuna nicoise salad
- Chef’s italian chicken salad
- Chicken, broccoli & brown rice soup
- Chicken, edamame & ginger soup
- Coconut chicken curry
- Lemon chicken
- Smoky chicken & bean
- Tuscan bean
- Vegetable tagine
The salad dressings their and sugar content
The dressings are supplied on the side with the salads, in a small tub, some of them are higher on the sugar side than other and I’ve listed this below. So ideally take the salad back to the office and use your own extra virgin olive oil (and a small dash of balsamic vinegar if needed), but if you cant do that then just use ¼ of the pot of dressing if it’s a high sugar one.
How much sugar per 100g is ok?
Labels that show more than 10g of sugar per 100g are leaning towards the high side; ideally we want to see less than 5g per 100g.
The Dressings and sugar content
- Apple Balsamic Dressing – 8g = 2 teaspoons of sugar (25.2g per 100g)
- Coconut and chilli dressing – 13.1g per 100g
- Dijon dressing – 2.3g = ½ a teaspoon (5.1g per 100g)
- Lemon dressing – 0.4g = 10th of a teaspoon (1.4g per 100g)
Some of Pret’s soups are full of slow releasing carbohydrates like buckwheat, beans, butternut squash and brown rice, with great vegetables choices like kale. Some are lower in protein that others and I have specified this below. For a main meal you ideally want about 25-30g of protein so these soups could make a lovely heart-warming side.
- Coconut chicken curry – 7.8g protein
Lemon chicken – 14.1g protein
Smoky chicken & bean – 15.2g protein
Tuscan bean – 4.8g protein
Vegetable tagine – 7.4g protein
They’re snack pots are great, they are based around protein which is exactly what you want to be snacking on to keep your blood sugar levels stable, keep you feeling fuller for longer and satisfied. Protein is also something so many people aren’t getting enough off, but the body and brain really needs it to function properly, and to keep your weight in check.
- So-called ‘healthy’ bars, cereal bars, cakes, muffins, mousse, yoghurt and compote pots, croissants, bread, brownies etc.
- Egg & avocado protein pot
- Smoked salmon & egg protein pot
- Egg & spinach protein pot
- Chicken & edamame protein pot
- Crayfish and avocado no bread
- Edamame beans
- Miso soup
- Nuts (natural, not salted or roasted) and an apple
If you’re still hungry
Check first that it isn’t just too soon after eating to make your mind up and wait 10-20 minutes, if you still feel hungry have a small pot of natural full fat yogurt with a good sprinkling of ground cinnamon to help balance your blood sugar levels nicely and keep you feeling satisfied. Or have a couple of squares of dark chocolate, I like mine dipped into some almond butter 😉
So, if you have a Pret near you, look no further, they’ve got your lunchtime covered, now there is really no reason to opt for a massive jacket potato, a sandwich, or fish and chips because there was nothing else available, Pret is at your service.