Lunch for life

Takeaway lunches

Easy ideas to make your lunch-to-go healthier

When you enter a coffee shop or take-away outlet you are often overloaded with a selection of sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and sweet snacks. It is also often very hectic at noon. But it is also worth it not to reach for the usual “BLT sandwich” right away, and to have a look at the alternatives.

Try a veggie alternative

Most coffee shops offer vegetarian alternatives. How about a delicious mozzarella baguette with tomato and basil or a wrap filled with falafel and vegetables? It is a great way to increase your “5 a day” too and often the vegetarian alternatives have less calories.

Tip many coffee shops also offer their menus on their website. Take a look at the alternatives, so you can make a quick, healthy choice while standing in the shop.


Tip instead of grabbing a large baguette, see if there are smaller versions, e.g. a sandwich.


If you want to have meat: Make it chicken or fish, preferably sustainable and/or organic

Stay away from bacon, ham and Italian prosciutto today and grab a chicken or, salmon alternative. How about a tasty sandwich with organic salmon or a wrap with plain organic chicken and vegetables?

Science Tip: Limit your processed meat consumption! A reduction in the consumption of processed meat is recommended, since there is evidence that higher consumption of processed meat is associated with higher risk of breast cancer.


Say no to that Soft Drink and grab for water or a low-calorie-alternative

Soft Drinks are often high in sugar. How about grabbing a (zero calories) water bottle filled from home (Just ask at the coffee shop for a refill – they will often do this for free) or reaching for a low-sugar-alternative (e.g. “low sucrose”-Soft Drink, or Infused water)? This will save you plenty of calories and sugar and, if you want, leave room for dessert. Have a look at our friends at Lemonaid  who offer organic, plastic free fruit juices for some alternatives.

Science tip: Limit your sugar consumption! Consuming lots of sugar can promote weight gain without providing important nutrients and vitamins and being overweight or obese increases the risk of (post-menopausal) breast cancer, so try to cut down on your sugar consumption.

Feel like having a snack? Choose a healthy option – or share!

If you still feel like having some treat after lunch, you don’t have to resist it. There are several options how you can make your desert a bit healthier. For example, you could reach for a fresh, uncut piece of fruit like an apple (they are in season in October). Whole fruits also contain lots of fibre, which is healthy and makes you feel full.

If you really can’t resist the temptation of that Bakewell Slice, then why don’t you share it with your colleague?

Science tip: Eat your fibre! Although there’s not enough evidence to prove there’s an association between increased fibre intake and reduced breast cancer risk, there are many other health benefits. It can lower your risk of a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer.

 Coffee – Choose a small version or ask for lighter, low calorie alternatives

In many coffee shops today, there is an enormous selection of “iced, blended coffee drinks” with sweet syrups and creamy toppings. Delicious – but also rich in calories. One drink can have up to 600 kcal, which is more than ¼ of the average daily energy intake. How about a cappuccino made from low-fat milk instead? And if it has to be the “Chocolate Caramel”-coffee with cream, then definitely go for the smallest size on offer.

Further reading:

For more information on how diet can impacts you risk of breast cancer, see out diet and weight pages.

Read our statement on organic food and breast cancer risk.

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