Working lunch: the Bite team's healthy lunch challenge

  • 13 June 2013

Warding off a mid-afternoon slump at work could be as easy as eating a healthy lunch, according to the results of a recent 5+ A Day survey. The survey on consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables in the workplace found 72 percent of workers felt more productive in the afternoon after eating a healthy lunch rather than something high in fat or sugar.

It seems fruit has a feel-good factor for workers, with 69 percent of respondents reporting they would feel positively towards their employer if fresh fruit was available to them. Yet, the majority of those surveyed (65 percent) said their employers did not provide fruit or make it available to them at work.

Anna Sloan, dietitian at Nutrition Connection says eating fruit daily provides immunity-boosting vitamins and is a nutrient dense source of energy.

“Fruit and vegetables have powerful antioxidants that supplements can’t mimic and fruit as a snack doesn’t give the same energy slump that snacks like chocolate or lollies do,” says Anna. “In fact, bananas release a compound that gives the same good feelings in the brain that chocolate does, and apples are a more effective wake up food than coffee.”

The results are from a survey of 368 people nationwide, conducted by Nielsen in November. It forms part of 5+ A Day’s ongoing research into the eating habits of New Zealanders when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they would take part in a healthy eating challenge if it was organised by their employer.

And who better to issue a healthy lunch challenge to than the Bite team. Under the discerning eye of editor Jo Elwin, various members of the office team, and even a visiting guest, accepted the challenge to create the best vegetable and fruit-based lunch.

What we liked


Sliced avocado and micro greens on wholemeal bread spread with pesto, slices of smoked salmon and chopped spring onion.


Salad of mesclun and rocket, snow pea sprouts, chopped tomatoes, sliced peaches and toasted walnuts. Toss through a dressing of pesto loosened with extra virgin olive, drizzle with balsamic and add dollops of ricotta.


Avocado, tomato, low-fat cheese, coriander, fresh chilli, chicken and pesto in a wrap, toasted and served with a green side salad.


Mesclun, coriander, chicken, mango, low-fat cream cheese, and sunflower seed wrap.


Banana split salad consisting of a bed of lettuce with a dressing of low-fat yoghurt, chopped kiwifruit and pumpkin seeds, surrounded by sliced banana, avocado and mango. Garnished with bacon bits, walnuts and a squeeze of lime.


Microwave-baked kumara stuffed with a mix of low-fat cottage cheese, red onion and mushrooms with parsley, bacon bits and sunflower seeds.


Thinly sliced fennel, tomato and spinach on wholemeal bread with ham, low-fat cheese and a low-fat yoghurt and extra virgin olive oil dressing.


Mesclun, coriander, hummus, fig, and pinenuts in warm pita bread.


Baby greens, avocado slices and thinly sliced red onion on toasted wholemeal bread with cannned salmon, lemon juice and a generous spread of low-fat mayonnaise.


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