There are three times of the day I look forward to and they're breakfast, lunch and dinner, and whilst some people might be preparing their sandwiches for tomorrow's lunch, stop there right now, as there are some delicious and healthy alternatives to a lunchtime sandwich that I would like to share with you. I have been known to induce cases of SSE (Severe Salad Envy) at work. And whilst people look sorrowfully at their limp and anaemic sandwich, I whip out my salad, hold it to my nose and savor the aroma as they look longingly, salivating at the exotic ingredients I have included in the salad. It has become something of a tradition with 'Salad Watch' being something that they look forward to and I seem to be spreading the message: there's more to life than cheese and pickle, people! So, in the interest of spreading the message further, here are some alternatives to a lunchtime sandwich that you're sure to adore.
A Couscous salad is one of the great alternatives to a lunchtime sandwich. For those of you who haven't experienced the joys of couscous, here are some details. Originally created in North Africa, couscous is fragments of semolina dough. This food stuff is held in high esteem by many and it's because it's so delicious and versatile. Ready in five minutes flat, if you opt for the instant version that is, this fabulous alternative to rice, pasta or potatoes can be a great lunchtime meal. Add seeds, avocado and lean turkey for a satisfying and healthy lunch that will keep you going until dinner time.
I love this ancient super grain, which has been touted as the 'gold of the Incas.' It's rich in protein, contains iron, which is great for our red blood cells, and contains lysine, which is essential for tissue repair and growth. It is also rich in magnesium, which helps the body in so many ways. For example, it keeps our bones and teeth healthy and helps detoxify the body. It's also high in riboflavin, which improves energy metabolism. So, if these weren't enough reasons to start including quinoa in your diet, then another one will have to be about the sublime and nutty texture. Make a delicious and simple quinoa salad with avocado, seeds and salmon and you're sure to induce salad envy in all those around you.
3 Wholewheat Pasta
Wholewheat pasta is another great alternative to bread or white pasta for lunch. High in fibre and with a low glycemic index, this will help keep you going throughout the afternoon. Team with a simple tuna and tomato sauce and there you have a healthy lunch option that won't be too heavy but that will give you the energy you need to get through the afternoon.
4 Pulses and Turkey Salad
Pulses are another great sandwich alternative. How about a lunch consisting of lentils and turkey? Green and brown varieties of lentils are a great source of selenium, which is an antioxidant mineral and helps protect the body against free radical damage. Selenium is also essential for healthy skin, hair and eyesight. Lentils are also a wonderful source of manganese, iron and zinc, helping to keep your energy levels up and sustaining you through the afternoon. As for the turkey, this is rich in niacin, which is good for maintaining healthy skin and a healthy digestive system. So, whilst your colleagues are hitting that sugar-low at 3:30 and reaching for the candy bar, you'll still be bright and sprightly after your super-healthy lunch.
5 Green Beans, Tuna, Sweet Potato and Egg Salad
I love green beans and this salad combination is full of so many nutrients. Green beans are low in calories, contain no saturated fat and are a rich source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins, such as immune boosting vitamin C, and minerals, such as iron, calcium and magnesium. The sweet potato is another one of my favorite foods and a far healthier alternative to its starchy sister. They can help prevent heart attacks, are rich in vitamin C, contain vitamin D for healthy bones and skin and are another good source of iron.
6 Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur wheat is another great base for your lunch and you can add pretty much anything to it. It's a Middle Eastern staple and is actually what is left after the wheat kernels have been steamed, dried and then crushed. Low in saturated fat and calories and high in protein and fibre, it will help fill you up and is also great for those who are watching their weight.
7 Brown Rice
Brown rice has a delicious nutty texture and can be a filling accompaniment to your lunchtime meal. It is a far more nutritious and flavorsome alternative to its white counterpart. Team with kidney beans and a simple tomato sauce and top with slices of avocado for a simple and delicious meat-free chili.
These are just a few of the lunch alternatives I tease my colleagues with. The possibilities are endless; it just takes a sprinkle of imagination and a little preparation. Which ones will you try to shake-up your lunch this week and make all your colleagues envious? Do you have any other sandwich alternatives you would like to share?
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