What you eat has a lot more to do with how you feel than you might think. Even if you don’t have a food allergy or sensitivity, science has shown that consuming certain foods do yucky things to your health, which in turn affects your mind, mood and behavior. How you act and the choices you make — often based on how you feel — determine much of the course of your life. When you look at it that way, it makes sense to choose a healthy lunch! Read on 9 Healthy Lunches to Energize Your Work Day.
You want to nourish your body with healthy vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, the positive chemicals and their magical combination in whole foods that keep you functioning at your best. You also want to tempt your taste buds.
What should you add to your kettle or Bento box? Here are nine healthy lunches to energize your work day.
9 Healthy Lunches to Energize Your Work Day
1. Roasted Vegetable Salad With Glazed Salmon
Salads might be a lunchtime staple, but you can do better than a lifeless bowl of iceberg punctuated only by the occasional red cabbage or carrot strip. One super easy idea? Roast some veggies you might typically think of as dinner sides, like sweet potatoes, eggplant (aubergine) and zucchini. Let them chill overnight and voila! They’re ready to toss in dressing in the morning.
You can follow a favorite recipe or take the lazy route. You’ll now find bags of roasting veggies at your favorite grocery already sliced for you, yielding about three servings each. That’s one for you and your beau for a dinner side and leftovers for one the next day.
A little protein added to the mix helps you ward off the 3 pm doldrums. You can roast this teriyaki salmon with your veggies, accounting for time. Although your co-workers might wince, they’ll delight when you don’t head to the microwave — it tastes equally scrumptious topping your chilled roasted veggie salad.
2. Chicken Primavera
Getting into meal prep is a wise idea. It doesn’t need to mean resigning yourself to the same dishes night after night — make a few extra bags each week to stash in your freezer. Before long, you’ll have a collection of healthy concoctions that are equally simple to pop into the slow cooker for dinner or take in your Bento box for lunch.
One great recipe to add to your meal prep rotation is this easy chicken primavera — a fancy term that’s Spanish for spring and simply means chicken with veggies in this context. The sweet potatoes and green beans ensure you eat the rainbow by getting three colors on your plate.
3. Brisket Tacos
Beef brisket sounds fancy but is simple to make. It cooks best with a low, slow simmer to make the meat less tough, allowing you to set it and forget it while you go about other business. Preparing the brisket is your biggest prep chore for this healthy lunch, so start this before tackling your tasks.
From there, it’s a cinch to store the meat. You can reheat it, but it’s equally delicious cold, making it easy and portable for lunch — just add shells, lettuce and salsa.
4. Barbecue Jackfruit Sandwiches With Summer Slaw
If you’re vegan or simply doing meatless Monday, here’s another recipe to make in advance and line your freezer. Assembling the components is the hardest part.
Jackfruit is a tropical tree that produces the world’s biggest fruit — that has the texture of pulled chicken or pork. Its light, subtly fruity flavor makes it natural for barbecues that take to sweet sauces — you might not be able to tell the difference. The vegan slaw keeps this recipe safe for those who choose cruelty-free lifestyles.
5. Falafel Wrap With Tzatziki Sauce
Here’s another vegetarian recipe, but you can make it vegan by substituting cashew yogurt in the tzatziki sauce. Prep the falafel separately and add tortillas, shredded lettuce, onion, red cabbage and tomatoes.
Falafel is a lot like a vegan meatball. It uses chickpeas instead of ground meat and plenty of spices for a full burst of flavor. The sesame seeds lend healthy fats and lignans for reproductive health.
6. Grilled Flank Steak With Summer Relish
Here’s another salad-like dish that isn’t your typical lunchtime fare. Grill this up the night before and take leftovers or add them to your ever-growing freezer meal stash.
This dish tastes equally good served warm or cold, so you can wait in line for the office microwave or eat it cold, salad-style. You still get fabulous protein and a plant-based rainbow of nutrients to fuel the rest of your day.
7. Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad
Another way to elevate your salad is by adding pasta. You can stick with tradition or boost your health perks by opting for whole-grain or alternative-flour noodles like chickpea.
Best of all, the total time it takes to assemble this recipe is less than 20 minutes. While it isn’t the best for freezing once mixed, you can take this dish to a weekend barbecue, making a bit extra for weekday lunches.
8. Arugula, Watermelon and Feta Salad
You also have fruit salads — but why not go wild and mix the sweet stuff with your veggies? Watermelon is juicy, coating the arugula and cutting its bitterness, leaving you with no more excuses if you typically choose iceberg because you object to the flavor of darker lettuces.
The feta provides balance and protein that keeps you full. However, if you need a bit of extra muscle power, sprinkle on sunflower seeds instead of croutons.
9. Summer Grain Bowl With Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette
A grain bowl is yet another twist on the salad theme, one that gets you plenty of plant-based protein and filling fiber to keep you satisfied until dinner. It also introduces you to another way to meal-prep if you still resist the notion based on the misconception that it makes your life boring.
What to do? Prep the ingredients. Then you can combine them in dozens of exciting ways.
This recipe calls for a rainbow of arugula, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, sunflower seeds and barley, all tossed in a tangy dressing. Lemon, basil, oil and vinegar keep the topping light and summer fresh.
It also introduces you to how creative you can be with cooked grains — who said they’re only for baking bread? You can even use grains in some beauty recipes on your next DIY spa day.
9 Healthy Lunches to Energize Your Work Day
A healthy lunch gives your body what it needs to fuel the rest of your day. Meal prep doesn’t have to be boring. Whether you add to your freezer stash or take leftovers, the healthy lunch recipes above energize your work day.