Dietitian Catherine Gallagher is on a mission to cut through catchy nutri-babble by taking on the world of social media to show us What Food Can Be.

Cathy G

Catherine Gallagher from Donegal, a UK Registered Dietitian, has created her own blog What food can be with Cathy G… Here, she shares a list of healthy lunch recipes to suit everyone and discusses the motivation behind her new online project:

Something that’s been weighing on my mind lately is the influence that self-proclaimed nutrition gurus or celebrities are having on society. The magazines and newspapers are full of the latest diet craze, promising readers that they will fit into that dress again within a few weeks, have skin a dermatologist would be proud of and so much energy they could run a marathon tomorrow without needing to stop for a breath. Their diets appear to be the best thing since sliced bread.

Unfortunately, some publications in the media lack any sensible, evidence-based voices in their coverage, not always because a nutrition professional (such as a dietitian) was not available but because their evidence-based comments do not fit with the story that these gurus are trying to sell.

Registered nutritionists and dietitians, as the true experts on nutrition, can and should be providing the voice of science and in many cases, of common sense too. If we are not prepared to put ourselves forward on social media, we can hardly be surprised when the public reach out for someone who will confidently provide them with a catchy quote, even if it is more nutri-babble than fact!

What food can be with Cathy G…

On that note, as a registered dietitian from Donegal, I was delighted to contribute a post for Donegal Woman this month. I am proud to suggest some nutritious and easy lunch ideas to pick us up, amidst our January blues. Snack and lunch ideas that don’t include the latest “superfood” (spoiler: there is no such thing as a superfood) In my suggestions, I won’t be advocating any breakthrough weight loss supplement, sorry whatever Dr Health is selling this month I’m not buying.

And I won’t be telling you “never eat these six foods” or that the paleo, Atkins, low carb, gluten free, vegan, <insert any trendy diet here>, is the best. The suggestions listed below can be enjoyed as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle, as advocated in the UK “Eatwell plate” and the Irish “Food Pyramid” models.

What have my ideas boiled down to? Here are 40 healthy ideas for your next lunch or sandwich:


  • Tomato and red pepper soup with a wholegrain seeded roll (V)
  • Lentil soup with 4 crispbreads (V)
  • Seeded bagel with avocado and plum tomatoes and side salad(V)/ cottage cheese and side salad (V)/ goats cheese, beetroot and side salad(V)/chicken, lettuce and tomato and side salad
  • Chicken and roasted vegetables in a wholemeal pitta pocket, served with salad

    Pita Pocket

  • Grated carrot and hummus in a pocket pitta, served with salad(V)
  • A baked or sweet potato topped with chickpea, grilled halloumi and baby spinach(V)/ tuna, sweetcorn and low fat mayonnaise/ a chicken portion, plum tomatoes and rocket
  • Smoked or plain salmon, watercress and soft boiled egg on a seeded bagel
  • Smoked or plain Mackerel risotto with a large green salad
  • Honey ginger cod with sautéed vegetables and puy lentils
  • Prawn and stir-fry fried vegetables on a bed of brown/basmati rice and steamed kale

    Prawn Stir Fry

  • Pepper stuffed with seasoned cous cous, onion and garlic and served on a bed of spinach and steamed vegetables (V)
  • Stuffed Portabello mushrooms (Sundried tomatoes, diced green pepper, spring onion and reduced fat cheddar) (V)
  • Cous cous with salmon and sauteed vegetables (plum tomatoes, yellow pepper, red onion and sweetcorn)
  • Cous cous with roasted vegetables and sprinkle of pine nuts and lemon juice (vegetables- courgette, pepper, onion, garlic) (V)

    Cous cous

  • Spicy harissa chicken with puy lentils and green salad
  • Skinless spiced chicken fillet (2 tablespoons of a fajita seasoning mix) on a bed of kale, swede, broccoli and sweet potato cubes
  • Seasoned chicken pieces with bulgar wheat and tossed salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, chick peas)
  • Penne pasta with tomato and mozzarella sauce with broccoli and rocket (V)

    Penne pasta

  • Turkey meat balls with tomato sauce and tagliatelle and mixed vegetables (frozen peas, diced carrots and sweetcorn)
  • Prawn and pea linguine with lime
  • Lasagne (vegetarian or lean mince) served with baby spinach, plum tomatoes, pepper and cucumber
  • Vegetable Chilli served with basmati or brown rice
  • Beef and pinto bean chili with basmati or brown rice
  • Omelette with onion, ham, tomatoes and spinach. Serve with wheaten bread/ slice of Toast
  • Omelette with vegetarian fillings only. Serve with wheaten bread/ slice of Toast (V)


  • Baked beans on x2 medium thick wholegrain sliced Toast/ x1 pitta pocket/x1 Bagel/ x2 Thins (V)
  • Tinned sardines on x2 medium wholegrain sliced Toast x1 pitta pocket/x1 Bagel/ x2 Thins (V)
  • Avocado, tomato and mozzarella on wholegrain roll (V)
  • Stir fry veg and cashew nuts in a wrap (V)
  • Veggie bean burger with salsa and salad (V)
  • Mexican spiced roasted vegetables in a tortilla wrap with green leaves and grated cheese (V)
  • Chickpea pate roll(V)


Ideas for Sandwiches

(all sandwiches listed below are currently suitable for vegetarians but can be adapted to include fish/meat if desired)


  • Grated carrot and shredded lettuce mixed with hummus in a toasted pitta
  • Cheddar cheese ploughman’s on medium thick wholemeal/wholegrain bread
  • Mushroom or chickpea pate with lettuce and cucumber in a roll
  • Goat’s cheese and sliced beetroot on a bagel


  • Avocado, tomato and mozzarella on a bagel, warmed in the oven
  • Veggie sausage with tomato and mustard on a seeded roll
  • Stir fry vegetables with cashew nuts in a wrap
  • Veggie burger with tomato salsa in a toasted bap


Check out @whatfoodcanbewithCathyG for new recipes, no-nonsense food advice and healthy eating motivation.