Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work

Written by Andrew Eydt

Topics: Health & Nutrition

Some people don’t require much lunch – or at least think they don’t need it.
I, however, believe that lunch is an extremely important aspect of your daily nutrition.
If you worked out in the morning, then a proper lunch will continue the process of recovery.
However, if you workout in the evening, then your lunch is the cornerstone of your energy levels.  A lunch that is too small will leave you hungry and prey to mid-afternoon snacking.

If you’re an office worker, then your lunch will get you away from your desk/email/computer/phone for 30-60 min, allow you to interact with friends and co-workers, and leave the stresses of the job behind, even if only for a few minutes.

 

Old Fashioned Lunch

I grew up on a farm and lunch time was extremely important to us, though it was never called ‘lunch’.  No, our meal was always called ‘dinner’ which I think better represents how substantial it was to us.  It took place somewhere between 12-2pm, was normally the biggest meal of the day, and always involved the whole family.

Later, I lived in Europe where the practice of making lunch the most substantial meal of the day is still very much followed.

I tell you my history here so you realize why I tend to favor a large lunch meal.

 

Tip #1 Avoid take out

This means skip the special #3 with rice at the local Chinese restaurant, the mystery sandwich form the gut truck, the submarine loaded with salami, and definitely avoid the chocolate bar vending machine.

Nothing good will come from any of these choices.

 

Tip #2 Have protein, fat, and carbohydrates

Thankfully we have now eliminated ramen noodle packs too.

A balanced lunch of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vegetables, etc. will yield the energy to propel you through the afternoon at work, help you to avoid snack cravings, aid your muscles in their recovery from a previous workout, and provide a burst of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, etc.

I am not suggesting that you have a chicken breast with stemed vegetables everyday; that’s hardly sustainable – for me at least.  Now some of my favorite lunch foods include:

Now, in order to make some of these dishes health-supporting, most recipies have to be tweaked somewhat.

 

Tip #3 Include as many vegetables as possible

One easy way to improve the nutrition profile of most recipes is to include more vegetables in them.  I add finely chopped carrot and spinach to my pasta sauces, chop broccoli almost into a powder and add to recipes wantonly, and finally I cram as much tomato, onion, and garlic as tolerable into my chili recipes.

I eat cherry tomatoes, carrots, and celery sticks with my lunch as well.

 

Tip #4 Have a small bite of dessert

By dessert, I don’t mean a donut, cake, or muffin.  No I prefer something that is still healthy and natural.  All I mean is something that is a bit sweet and signals that lunch is over.  This definitely helps you to feel satisfied with your meal!

I should point out that this probably stems from my country upbringing, but there’s nothing stopping you from making dessert healthy.   Oh, and keep the portion sizes small.
Some of my favorites:

  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Dark chocolate
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Dried goji berries
  • Dried apricots

 

See, nothing wrong with those choices as long as you keep reasonable portion sizes.

 

Tip #5 Finish with black tea

Research has shown that black tea can help to regulate blood sugar levels, when consumed after a high carbohydrate meal.

Personally I really enjoy a good, black tea and really struggled to switch to green tea (until I discovered how amazing Japanese green tea can be).  So I allow myself one cup of black tea per day (this has definitely the cost of stain removal at the dentist).

I prefer a quality, loose-leaf black tea over the generic supermarket tea bags.  Right now, I am enjoying Ahmad Tea of London’s Imperial Blend.  This tastes a lot like a very fresh Darjeeling mixed with Earl Grey.

 

Enjoy your lunch!!

Comments are closed.