What do you eat for lunch?

Do you make nutritious choices for lunch, or are you more likely to reach for a slice of cake or a few biscuits to sustain you until dinner time?

If you choose health over convenience, then you are of the minority, according to a survey commissioned by SumoSalad.

The findings from the national survey revealed that only 31 per cent of Australians choose lunches for their nutritional value, while 46 per cent make decisions based on ease and value for money.

In addition, 86 per cent of people believe that breakfast and dinner are more important meals, and 46 per cent skip lunch at least once a week.

Those who are eating it regularly tend to take a break of less than 30 minutes and consume food at their desks.

Baked goods like cakes, slices and doughnuts are the most popular treats, closely followed by chocolate, and 33 per cent of people who buy takeaways choose options such as pies and sausage rolls or burgers and chips.

These findings suggest that many Australians need to make healthier choices for their midday meals, or risk developing health complications further down the track.

"The SumoSalad National Lunchtime Habits Survey reveals that our lack of time and interest around lunch is leading to poor dietary habits, which can lead to increased risks of obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle related diseases," SumoSalad dietitian Georgina Moore said in a statement.

Ms Moore also said that opting for "naughty" snacks during the middle of the day can set precedence for what is to follow in the afternoon and evening.

"A poor lunch choice can throw off the rest of our day in terms of 'good' habits and can set ourselves up to fail in the healthy eating stakes on a regular basis," she explained.

So what are some healthy lunch choices? Ms Moore recommends including plenty of superfoods in your midday meal, and of course suggests that people opt for a salad!

As a general rule of thumb, aim to eat lots of vegetables and also include some protein, be it in the form of lean meat, eggs, or nuts and seeds.

People should try and avoid options that are high in sugar and fat yet low in nutritional value, as this can wreak havoc on their energy levels.

If you feel as though you can't go without a sweet treat or a midday snack from the baking tin, then why not try creating your own cakes and slices?

By baking your own goods, you can control what goes into them, and use healthy alternatives where possible such as nuts, seeds, wholemeal flour, fruits and low-fat spreads.

Stevia is also perfect for baking, as it is a natural, healthy sugar that is low in calories yet high in flavour. It adds a delicious sweetness to your food without adding centimetres to your waistline! You can also use it in hot drinks or sprinkled over cereal.

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