In an ideal world we would all love to whip up our own homemade, healthy lunch every day. Unfortunately, our time-poor modern lifestyles mean we often find ourselves lunch-less, on the run from a lunch-break workout or yoga session, rushing to a meeting and struggling to find something suitably, quick and healthy in the usual lunch haunts (why is there sugar in everything?). And it gets trickier if you suffer from food intolerances, allergies or follow a plant-based or raw diet. If you finally find something healthy which tastes ok, you tend to stick with it. But the same lunch everyday gets a little boring!

Hip and Healthy has come to your lunchtime rescue! We have found London’s best places to pick up a healthy lunch so you don’t have to spend your precious time checking food labels for sugar, gluten or dairy. All of our favourite lunch destinations have vegan, raw, dairy-free and gluten-free options and plenty of them! Even better, we have a place for each day of the week so you don’t have to stick to that same, safe salad every day.

If the weekend has been indulgent and your body needs a serious health boost, Covent Garden’s Lab Organic is perfect for a Monday reboot. One of the only completely vegan options in London, this place is serious about health without compromising on deliciousness. Although specialising in organic juices (The Alkaliser is particularly yummy), Lab Organic also sells a variety of fresh vegan salad pots such as the Super Quinoa Pot packed with super foods and no trace of stale, wet lettuce. And if you want to pick up a mid-afternoon snack while you are there, you can choose from homemade guacamole, raw kale chips, chia puds or their fresh nut “mylks” (the Sweet and Salty Cashew Mylk is amazing!). Everything is made on site, everything is organic and nothing has sugar, dairy or gluten – hooray! The only issue you will have here is restraining yourself from buying everything.

Continue the healthy tone set by Monday’s super food lunch by picking up a box from the delicious Detox Kitchen. Now with two locations (Soho and Harvey Nichols), this food delivery company has brought their yummy produce to the high street. You can choose from their regular salads (think magical combo of greens, good fats and other super food yummies) or daily salad specials, or even combine a salad with one of their “mains” – we love the aubergine with tomato sauce, pomegranate, soya yogurt and mint. They also serve organic, fresh juices and smoothies as well as hot drinks with dairy-free milks!

Wednesday – CRUSH
Hump day is often when we start to feel a little tired and frazzled and resort to grabbing stodgy, sugar-infused lunches. For some healthy hump day inspiration head to Crush, a healthy-eating chain which has been slowly spreading all over London. Crush has most of their lunches boxed and ready to go as well as every item in the fridge being clearly labelled with its ingredients and whether or not it is suitable for special diets. We love the Super Greens Salad and the Crush “Health Pots”, in particular the Kale and Avocado Tabbouleh Health Pot. Crush also serves soups, vegetable-packed stews and curries (think thick aubergine ratatouille) served with brown rice and snack-attack packs such as carrot sticks with pistachio pesto.  All Crush stores also have the obligatory fresh juice bar selling Green Goddesses and other liquid goodness – perfect for rebooting on hump day!

It is basically the weekend (yay!) and lunch today calls for a little creativity. As timings wouldn’t allow you to get creative in your own kitchen, head over to Vital Ingredient and put together your own salad in less than five minutes. To start, choose from a selection of bases (spinach, lettuce, quinoa, brown rice and “guests” such as raw carrot and cabbage) and then choose your five toppings from an array of fresh veges, nuts/seeds and proteins. You can also choose to keep your salad clean by asking for some lemon juice and olive oil instead of one of the creamier dressings (no lettuce drowned in mayo here!). If you aren’t feeling Thursday’s creativity, you can select one of their house salads or opt for a wholesome soup or stew.

Friday –
If you are planning a Friday dinner party or need to stock up, at Planet Organic you can buy your lunch while getting those essentials for a healthy weekend! In addition to being a grocery store, Planet Organic has a plethora of takeaway salads and lunchboxes of goodness from well-known healthy kitchens such as Saf and Laura’s Ideas. Also in the fridges are Rawlicious’s raw sandwiches and burgers – the coconut BLT is actually pretty good and surprisingly filling. As well as the fridges full of organic lunch amazingness, you can fill a box with their  homemade “mix and match” dishes which include various salads and hot dishes such as lentil stew, all of which are clearly labelled for special diets. And if you need something extra to see you through Friday afternoon, there are bags of kale chips, mixed nuts, raw chocolate bars and other nutrient-infused nibbles on offer. Plus they also sell some tasty puddings (choccy/avocado mousses, chia pots and raw cheesecakes) if you fancy a Friday treat.

Thank you to all these wonderful places for providing London with healthier lunches and saving us from the same salad every day!

words by Kathleen Fleming

Image Raw Vegetable Salad from The Detox Kitchen