Lunch is the perfect time to replenish your energy supplies and get yourself ready for the afternoon ahead of you. Not all meal choices make the cut though. What you want is a good ratio of complex carbs, protein and healthy fats. This combination pumps your body with nutrients while also maximizing your energy and giving you the fuel you need to make it until dinner time. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some easy ideas that will totally satisfy.
1. A Salmon Salad is Never a Bad Choice
Salmon fulfills a couple of the requirements for an energy boosting lunch. It’s loaded with protein, but it also contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are a healthy type of fat that your body needs. Pair your salmon with mixed leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever other veggies you love to get your fill of healthy carbs. Go easy on the dressing and croutons, which are usually high in fat and calories.
2. Stir-Fry with Rice is Something Different
The great thing about stir-fry is that it’s super easy to make and you can easily mix and match your favorite ingredients to shake things up whenever you want to. Start with veggies, such as carrots, celery, bell peppers and bok choy. Then add in some protein from chicken breast or shrimp. Pair your stir-fry with brown rice to round it out with complex carbs. You can make this meal the night before and warm it up if you only have a small amount of time for lunch.
3. Go Fast with a Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
You should be taking a lunch break, if not for your health, then for your sanity. If that’s just not going to be in the cards, a portable lunch is in order. A peanut butter and banana sandwich fulfills all of your needs. Stick with just a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and use 100% whole wheat bread and you get all the carbs, protein and fats you need at lunchtime.
4. A Cup of Minestrone is Filling and Delicious
Minestrone is the perfect soup choice because it’s broth based, which helps control the fat and calorie content. Making your soup at home allows you to keep the sodium content under control and you get to hand pick the ingredients you want to use. Opt for whole grain pasta and lots of veggies. Sprinkle a bit of low-fat cheese on top for healthy fat. Yum!
5. You Can Have a Slice of Pizza if You Want
If pizza is your favorite lunch, you can still have it if you want to. The trick is ordering it the right way. You want a thin, whole wheat crust to start with. Then you want chicken breast in place of pepperoni and all the veggies you can handle. Think onions, green peppers, olives or tomatoes. Then a small bit of cheese to hold it all together. Have just one slice and then fill up with a veggie salad.
6. Jazz Things up with a Bean Burrito
Beans are a great non-meat option for protein and they make a yummy and healthy burrito. Wrap your beans in a whole wheat tortilla and add some avocado cubes for flavor and texture. Some salsa or green chile will give your burrito the spiciness you crave. Lettuce and tomato will help make it filling.
7. Nibble on Some Snacks if You Want
Instead of making a meal, you can simply cobble together some healthy snacks so you can nibble and still get the energy you need. Pair a hard-boiled egg with a handful of nuts, a string cheese and an apple or orange. Easy, right?
What’s your favorite energy boosting lunch? Which of these ideas do you want to try in your lunchbox tomorrow?