As tempting as it is to get through your lunch hour on a cup of coffee and a candy bar, you don’t want to take the risk of an afternoon crash. Skipping meals results in fatigue, mood swings, a decrease in concentration and an increase in cravings for junk food. Whether you have a long day at work or in school, eating a healthy lunch provides you with the nutrients to keep your body healthy and brain sharp during a hectic day. Below are 3 tips for enjoying more nutritious lunches.
1. Balance Nutrients
Healthy lunches should be balanced with quality protein, natural fats, nutrient-dense veggies and fresh fruit. The easiest way to make sure your meals are balanced is to choose whole foods over processed products. Pizza with cookies and soda is the perfect example of an imbalanced lunch. Whereas, a chicken salad with spinach, strawberries and walnuts is a great balanced meal.
2. Choose Greens Over Grains
Beware eating starchy, high carb foods at lunch such as bread, pasta, pizza, rice, chips or fries. Those refined foods encourage the body to produce serotonin, making you lethargic and sleepy. Make the switch from processed foods like grains by choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods such as greens (leafy green wraps, salads, or raw veggies). While transitioning to more natural foods, select “sprouted” or sourdough bread and eliminate half the bread so you have an open-faced sandwich. Over time you’ll realize that the “good stuff” is on the inside.
3. Plan Ahead
Eating around the same time every day can help to regulate your appetite. Be flexible, but try to plan ahead so you’re not suddenly ”starving” at 3PM, reaching for a quick-fix from a vending machine. Apart from piling on the pounds those processed products will only leave you hungrier for more junk food. Be proactive by packing a healthy lunch from home. It helps to keep some snacks in the office fridge and to have a go-to list of healthier restaurant or fast food options.
- Chicken with hummus, carrots, cucumber and red peppers
- Salmon salad with spinach, strawberries, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette
- Roast beef rolled with mustard, arugula, cheese and tomatoes
- Sausage kebabs with diced apple and raw milk cheese
- Pork meatballs with mashed sweet potato and almonds
- Spicy chicken lettuce wraps with beans sprouts, carrots and ginger
- Lettuce-wrapped turkey burger with baked sweet potato wedges
- Shrimp tacos with romaine lettuce, tomato salsa and guacamole
- Sardine salad with green beans, red potatoes and cherry tomatoes
- Ham stacked with green apple and raw milk cheese
- Sourdough sandwich with turkey, avocado, tomato and arugula
- Paleo/Sprouted bread sandwich with almond butter and sliced banana