Updated: Sep 9
One way to focus on nutrition is to direct your attention on making healthful choices at meal time! Sometimes looked at as the forgotten meal, lunch time is an important time to refuel and reenergize. Eating the right foods during the day keep you feeling fuller longer, limit cravings and helps to maintain heathy blood sugar levels. Likewise, eating the wrong foods will zap the energy right out of you and have you reaching for sugary items like cookies, chocolate bars or soda.
So, it’s time to think about lunch again! Here are 5 Ways to Power Up Your Lunch! 1. TOSS IT UP by mixing healthy greens such as spinach, red leaf lettuce and kale in a Ball Glass Canning Jar. The glass jar helps keep the salad fresh. The leafy greens are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and K, and antioxidants. Try adding nutrient dense veggies such as cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumbers and radish! For protein, toss in grilled wild-caught salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids - a healthy fat your body needs to fuel the brain. Experiment with black beans or chick peas for added protein and fiber, then add sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds. Dress your salad with fresh herbs and a good quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Shake it up (with the lid on of course) and you’re done! Prepare salads in a jar ahead of time so that all you have to do is reach into the refrigerator, toss into your lunch bag and go! Make various types of salads all at once so that you are providing yourself with a variety of nutrients. Aim to make your glass jar look like the color of the rainbow! 2. REINVENT THE “SANGY!” There’s no need to feel as if you have to resort to the old two-piece traditional sandwich when you can create something fun and easy with a wrap or pita pocket...and an open-faced sandwich gives you the option to cut your carbs in half by using half the bread. Try stacking freshly sliced turkey with tomato, lettuce, avocado, hard boiled egg and alfalfa sprouts! For the bottom, look for options labeled “whole” wheat or “whole” grain with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving/slice. Gluten-Free options made with quinoa and flax seed pack a nutritional punch! 3. DIP IT, DON’T SKIP IT! If you can dip with it, you should consider it! Sliced bell peppers are great to dip in hummus and homemade guacamole. Red bell peppers have approximately three times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange! Baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli and edamame are easy grab and go options for dipping. 4. THINK LEFTOVERS! Toss the leftover chicken from last night’s dinner on top of a salad or in soup. Whip up a small portion of chicken salad or make a quesadilla. Shred baked fish to create a fish taco or mix up a quinoa bowl with roasted sweet potato and left over veggies. 5. TAKE A MENTAL BREAK! If you really want to power up, you need to power down! We need time away from screens and phones. Physically getting out of your office chair and eating your lunch in a friendly, calming environment can do wonders for your brain. If you are at home with the kids, turn off the TV and other electronics during lunch time and enjoy each other’s company. Taking a quick break to recharge at lunch, even if it is only for 15-20 minutes has been shown to increase productivity and lead to better decision making skills the rest of the day. Want to learn about more ways to prepare nutrient-dense foods for your lifestyle? Contact me for a FREE 15 minutes consultation to learn how I can help you feel your best again! Have ideas for lunchtime that you'd like to share with others? Post your comments below. I'd love to hear from you and how you are using lunchtime to reboot!
Amanda is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist working in private practice with a concentration in integrative & holistic nutrition. She is the owner of the newly created “Nutrientrichlife.org,” an online resource for nutrition, fitness and lifestyle.