Lunch is arguably the most important meal because it occurs mid-workday when we need to refuel for the remainder of the day. Yet, it is also vital that this meal not overwhelm our bodies, as we need the energy to continue performing at an optimal level.
Thus, eating a light, healthy lunch is critical. But, one challenge is creating healthy meals that are dynamic enough to withstand any environment that we might be in.
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In this article, we offer 3 healthy lunch ideas that are geared towards people with busy lives.
Sandwich and Chips
While this healthy lunch idea might sound like a traditional choice, there is actually nothing unhealthy about this duo if the proper ingredients are sourced. We recommend making your own bread and chips whenever possible using organic, locally sourced ingredients.
This can be done ahead of time to make packing lunch in the morning even easier. It will also allow you to avoid waiting in line at the local cafeteria and wasting precious hours of the workday.
Also, many people claim that toasting bread makes it more digestible, so if you can do this before you leave the house, then that would also be ideal.
Potatoes are also quite healthy food when eaten in moderation and without added preservatives. Try making chips using only potatoes or experimenting with using sweet potatoes or kale as your base.
Part of eating healthy also includes enjoying your food and experimenting with new ideas. One way to switch things up is to slice the chips extremely thin and to include them on your sandwich. This is especially perfect if you make kale chips as you can use them as a replacement for lettuce.
The Final Step
If you decide to include an animal product on the sandwich, make sure it’s as fresh as possible and that you load the sandwich with veggies to facilitate digestion.
A common combination we use is smoked salmon, cream cheese, a leaf of romaine lettuce, 2 slices of tomatoes, half a red bell pepper, and some capers.
If you want to dress, try making a home-made version that imitates your favorite store-bought variety.
One simple recipe we use is to combine lemon juice, mustard powder, oregano, olive oil, garlic, and some of our favorite nuts in a blender. We store this in a container in our fridge for use throughout the week.
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This healthy lunch idea requires minimal preparation yet is also loaded with healthy fats, proteins, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
We prefer hard-boiled eggs as they are easy to transport and can be made ahead of time to facilitate maximum convenience.
We like to make a dozen or two at the beginning of the week and then take 3 or 4 with us each day for lunch.
If you are looking to mix things up, try underboiling the hard-boiled egg ever so slightly. This will result in a gooier yoke that you can use partially as a salad dressing on the salad.
We like to keep it simple here by emphasizing 4 or 5 vegetables, a simple dressing, and a legume or nut depending on the day. For vegetables, we usually use a combination of spinach and arugula, cucumbers, bell peppers, and some beets that we usually steam the night before.
For protein, we usually add chickpeas or a handful of almonds. If we feel like treating ourselves, we add several pieces of dark, unsweetened chocolate which can provide much-needed energy to get through the day.
For dressing, we typically only drizzle some kind of oil on the salad, like flaxseed oil or hempseed oil.
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4-Bean Vegan Chili
This healthy lunch idea works great as a dinner option too, and we often make it fresh at night and use it as leftovers throughout the week. It’s also great because it emphasizes plant-based foods which can keep you light and creative throughout the day.
To create this dish, which is 4-5 servings, we use the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of chickpeas
- 1/2 cup mung beans
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 2 cups of firm tofu
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1 cup of corn
- 5 celery stalks
- 6 dried chipotle peppers
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
- 3 cloves of finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
First, we boil our beans, and then we add everything into a pot, cover it, and let it cook on low heat for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This should give the vegetables plenty of time to become tender without wilting them down too much.
The veggies are crucial as they give the chili much-needed texture and consistency.
For lunch, we like to bring several slices of our homemade bread to dip in the chili.
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