Easy ways to a healthy lunch
The midday meal- whether you work outside the home or spend your days indoors caring for kids, lunch time is typically sandwiched between the activities of your daily hustle and bustle, no pun intended. Because of this, it can be tempting to grab and eat whatever is in reach or to skip lunch all together. Why is eating a nutritious lunch so important? Eating lunch plays a crucial role in keeping your blood sugar and energy levels stabilized while also providing the nutrients that the body needs. It also decreases the likelihood that you will devour an entire bag of potato chips by the time 4:00 pm rolls around! Preparing healthy lunches does not have to be difficult. There are many ways to do so without spending a lot of time, money or energy.
One of the smartest and easiest ways to prepare lunch is to brown bag it the night before. Many evening meals can double as leftovers and some, like spaghetti for example, may taste even better reheated the next day once the flavors have had a chance to “marry” overnight. Investing in some durable food storage dishes in a variety of sizes is all you need in order to tote and reheat meals. This is also a great tip for money saving as it reduces food waste.
Soup is another great idea for lunch. When paired with a salad or a baked potato, you can enjoy a satisfying, nutritious lunch without the concern of feeling overly full or tired an hour later. Many soup recipes can be prepared at the start of your week in a crock pot and stored as individual servings for daily use. There are few things more soothing than the aroma of a savory soup that has been simmering all Sunday long. Chicken and rice soup is delicious in any season. Simply toss an uncooked chicken breast, one cup of uncooked rice, one cup of chopped vegetables of your choice (such as celery, carrots, corn, garlic or onions), chicken flavored broth and six to eight cups of water in your crock pot. Any combination of your favorite herbs and seasonings can also be added for flavor. Cover with lid and cook on low for eight hours. You will have a delicious aromatic soup to last throughout the week. Other crock pot soup ideas, depending on your taste, may include: chilli, beef and barley, vegetable, corn chowder…… the list goes on. Crock pots are almost fail proof, and many recipes can be found online by performing a simple Google search for inspiration.
Another great concept for easy, nutritious lunches is to have an assortment of cold salads on hand in your refrigerator. Egg salad is an easy recipe that is also chock full of vitamins and protein found in the primary ingredient: eggs! While there are some variations, a basic egg salad will typically consist of boiled eggs, mayonnaise, finely chopped celery and salt and pepper. You may also wish to add mustard and chopped onions to taste. Egg salad is delicious on a sandwich or as a spread on crackers. Cold pasta salad is another tasty idea. Bow-tie pasta has the perfect texture to absorb flavor and to “grasp” the ingredients in a salad, so begin by cooking the bow-ties according to package directions. After draining well, toss with Italian dressing, chopped bell peppers (red, yellow or green), chopped red onion, parsley and artichoke hearts if desired. Some other cold salad ideas include: tabbouleh (a wheat bulgur salad combined with fresh parsley), tuna salad, cold pea salad or a three bean salad. Again, all of the options listed here will be ideal for sustaining energy and avoiding the after lunch lull that can accompany a heavy meal.
Lunch time is a great time for relaxing and refueling. Enjoy experimenting with the above ideas and have fun letting your creative juices flow as you invent your own variations!