It may shock you, dear reader, to be told that I generally enjoy eating. No really, I do, many times a day and many things. What with loving food and being a woman of a certain age who doesn’t exercise an awful lot, I go through stages of hyper awareness of food lables and find myself obsessively compelled to count any or a mixture of calories, fat grams, syns, points, GI scores, F values and other ridiculous food counting units- 99% of women in their 30s know exactly what each of those are by the way.
It may also shock you to learn that I don’t always have the time/memory function to prepare a healthy, filling and low calorie lunch to take to work with me every day. Yes, sinful as lifestyle gurus tell me it is, I eat at my desk more often than I don’t. I’m busy and our staff room is full of babbling teenagers. But it’s not a bad thing, as it keeps the inbox down and frankly if I’m not eating at my desk on a school day I’m probably in the pub next door having a fishfinger sandwich and chips.
So why should you care about my lunchtime habits? Just what is my damn point? Well I’ll tell you, some weeks ago I found myself on route to the office without prearranged sustenance and as so often happens in these situations, I stumbled into M&S. Because it’s neatly placed between my home and place of employment and I love an M&S sandwich. Ooh and their parsnip crisps. And a smoothie. Maybe a carrot cake bar too. Granola slice? If I must. Oh, but the guilt, THE GUILT! The weekend had been boozy and full of diet damning lovliness, and I had been at the gym already that morning was I really going to throw all that work away on an over indulgent sugar heavy lunch?
*drum roll please* Enter the M&S super wholefood salad. I’ll say I was sceptical on the ‘fuller longer’ tag as no matter what my lunch consists of I am always, always hungry again between two and three pm or as I like to call it- The Kit Kat hour. But super wholefoods, they have to be good right? And no bread, for me, is something of a no brainer when it comes to lunchtime saintliness. Plus it was only three quid and a much better wallet option than my usual scavenger hunt through the bakery and food to go sections. I bought it (yeah fine, and a smoothie too) then wound on my merry way to work, put it in the fridge and forgot about it. Lunch time came, and I wanted that sandwich I don’t mind admitting but ho hum, here we go. Remove cardboard sleeve, spend three minutes removing cellophane layer which only comes off in teeny tiny shreds, pour on creamy lemon and mint dressing, realise have left fork in kitchen, go back for fork, and consume.
And I don’t say that lightly. Wow. There’s a bunch of these super salads available (they could make their own Super Food Avengers film) but the one I had was a mix of edamame, borlotti and cannelleni beans, quinoa, feta, lentils and pomegranate seeds. Sounds horrific, right? I mean, beans and chalky cheese and my long time nemesis quinoa? And we all know that edamame beans should only be served steamed and salted in a little bowl from Wagamama, right? Wrong. Yes, I said it- wrong. This was one of the nicest and most satisfying desktop lunches I have ever had. Ok, nicest and most satisfying desktop lunch that didn’t involve 75% of my daily calorie allowance I have ever had. But this, THIS, is my real point. Despite enjoying every protein rich superheroey mouthful, I struggled to finish it. Don’t panic, I did finish it but I could have left a bit. I was full. And not bloaty, gross, I’ll need three espressos to make it to five thirty full, just comfortably full. Refuelled. Ready to stop eating and ready to go through the afternoon.
My friends, I did not have a kitkat that day. Infact I didn’t even think about eating anything else until well past home time. On 375 calories. I must be honest, I’ve not lost an awful lot of weight since that day and there have been a couple of granola slices since then but I have to give this salad a little plug. Because it’s tasty, it’s not a bank breaker and most importantly, it’s not going to lie to you. Fuller longer. Super wholefoods, super yum. Consider it for your lunch, even if you don’t give a toss about your waistline.
Did someone just say kitkat?