Lunch is an important meal of the day and it is best to pack something nutritious and balanced to avoid feeling dissatisfied midafternoon and an energy dip later on.
An easy and nutritious lunch can be straightforward to create; all it requires is selecting foods rich in nutrition such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
Fruit is a rich source of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre to support a healthy eating lifestyle. Furthermore, its phytonutrients may protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Fruit is a fantastic source of nutrition; rich in both fiber and water to satisfy hunger while being low in calories and fat content. Furthermore, they’re an excellent source of essential vitamins like C, potassium and folate that provide essential health benefits.
As long as you don’t consume too much fruit for lunch, it is a healthy choice. However, if you have a health condition or take medication that alters how your body processes sugars and utilizes them efficiently, consult with a physician or registered dietitian on what would work best.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines advise people to eat a wide range of fruit, including berries, as part of a balanced diet. Berries contain essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre; their plant chemicals help lower risk factors such as heart disease, cancer and certain forms of dementia.
Make sure that when selecting fruit, it is ripe and fresh to maximize antioxidant intake. Superfruits like guava, mangosteen and acai may boast impressive nutrient profiles; however, research shows that even ordinary apples, grapes and other fruits offer healthful benefits.
Make the switch from high-calorie snacks like chips, which don’t provide as many nutrients, to fruit. Or blend different varieties together for homemade fruit spread that’s low on sugar but high on vitamins and minerals compared to commercial preserves or jams.
Vegetables contain essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can improve your health while lowering disease risks and increasing energy. By regularly eating a variety of veggies every day, you may notice changes to your health that reduce risk factors while simultaneously increasing energy.
Spinach is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, packed with antioxidants to fight chronic disease and strengthen your immune system. Plus, spinach provides plenty of potassium and vitamin C – not to mention iron and calcium!
Fruit is an excellent source of luteolin, an anti-heart disease phytonutrient and source of folate for eye protection and immune system support. Plus it’s high in Vitamin A to maintain eyesight health as well as support.
Celery is another ideal vegetable to add to your lunch diet because it is low-cal and packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, not to mention providing fiber which can aid weight management.
Broccoli is an antioxidant-rich cruciferous vegetable known for lowering cancer risks. Additionally, broccoli provides vitamin K, folate and sulforaphane which make this vegetable an exceptional source of nutrition.
Snacks containing turkey are an ideal option for people living with cardiovascular disease or other medical conditions as it helps keep blood pressure within normal range. Furthermore, it is a source of protein, fiber and potassium – making this meal choice both heart healthy and potassium rich!
Not only should you eat vegetables, but it’s important to include whole grains and healthy proteins as part of a well-rounded diet. Choose small servings from each food group in order to get enough essential nutrients.
Vegetables make an easy and nutritious lunch option. Their simple preparation makes them portable, and their variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients provide essential nourishment. Vegetables also contain fiber which can help you feel fuller for longer during mealtimes to prevent overeating.
When on a diet, adding lean proteins to your lunch can help keep you full longer and prevent overeating at the end of your meal. Plus, this type of nutrition supports muscle growth and maintenance while dietetic, helping prevent loss of lean mass while keeping metabolism going strong.
Opting for lean proteins over higher-fat foods is essential to heart health, with 10-35% of your daily calories consisting of proteins from meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy sources ideally.
The USDA suggests selecting foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. When purchasing poultry products such as cuts of chicken or turkey meat that are lower in fat.
Pork is another healthy and high-protein food option that’s quick and simple to prepare, whether grilled, baked or steamed for lunchtime meals. Tenderloin or chops with less visible fat make excellent selections as do lean roasts like New York style roasts.
Oysters make an excellent lean-protein lunch option, offering 69 calories, 8 grams of protein and two grams of fat (with less than one gram of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving). Other seafood sources like sardines, tuna and salmon may also provide ample amounts of lean proteins.
Soy products like tofu and tempeh provide vegetarian-friendly sources of complete proteins, plus fiber, plant chemicals, vitamins, and minerals.
Beans, peas and lentils are nutritious options that make delicious sandwiches, salads and bowls. Plus they’re versatile; try steaming, roasting or stir frying to add them into sandwiches, soups, risotto or pasta dishes for even more nutrition!
Consuming whole grains is an excellent way to increase your nutrient intake. These healthy carbs contain fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium – all key vitamins for overall wellness.
Grains are an essential component of a plant-based diet, and can be found in soups, salads, breads and much more!
When purchasing grain products, read their labels closely. Look out for anything with at least three whole grains listed as ingredients or words like “whole grains”.
Avoid products containing added sugar, fat and salt as these ingredients can change the flavor or create an unappetizing, refined texture in whole-grain products.
Refined grains differ significantly from whole grains because their grains have been milled, which strips away many essential health-promoting nutrients found within their kernels. You can still get many of these health-promoting nutrients with whole grain foods that have not been processed, although you will need to pay closer attention when shopping to ensure you make informed choices that fit within your diet.
The USDA advises adults to incorporate at least half of your meals with whole grains – which amounts to six 1-ounce servings daily – into your lunch, such as adding slices of whole-wheat bread or sandwiches on whole-wheat bread; eating rolled oats or crushed whole-wheat bran cereal with nuts and dried fruit; or filling up pita pockets stuffed with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon powder.
Farro Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Edamame is an easy and delicious way to incorporate whole grains into your lunchtime diet! Packed full of essential omega-3s from farro and microbiome-enhancing fiber from quinoa – plus heart-healthy omega-6s too! – it provides all of the nutrient goodness your body needs while filling up on heart health-promoting omega-6s!
Healthy side dishes can make an excellent addition to any meal, providing extra fiber, flavor and nutrients while adding variety and helping you reach your daily serving requirements of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
Sides can really elevate a sandwich meal without adding too many extra calories – there’s plenty of delicious salads, soups, pasta dishes and beverages out there that will add zest to any deli sandwich, grinder or submarine!
Vegetables are an excellent alternative to onion rings for providing color and nutrition in your meals. Slice up a cucumber, sweet pepper or leafy dark greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an effortless way to add both color and nutrients to any dish!
Roasted cauliflower and grilled asparagus are some of our go-to vegetables for any main course! Both of these recipes can add a delicious crunch and make an incredible side dish option!
Potatoes are an indispensable side dish that pair beautifully with any dinner recipe, from steak and chicken dishes to hash browns and roasted red potatoes – you could even create an entire meal using potatoes!
This zucchini tomato bake is an irresistibly flavorful way to get extra veggies into your meals! Just 30 minutes are required and makes great use of seasonal summer produce.
Vegetables are one of the easiest and tastiest ways to add nutrition to your plate! Their vibrant hues conceal an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – perfect for providing balanced meals! Plus they’re low in fat and sodium too – an easy choice that won’t weigh down on you!