How Healthy Is My Lunch?
An energy-rich lunch can help fuel you for success throughout the day. Stay away from processed foods like chips, pretzels and granola bars which contain added sugar or sodium levels that exceed what your body requires.
Protein helps slow digestion and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, while vegetables and fruit provide essential nutrition. Add avocado slices to sandwiches or salads for an extra burst of nutrients!
Your child needs a nutritious lunch to remain energetic throughout their school day and improve performance at school. Skipping or indulging in unhealthy lunch options could compromise concentration and learning processes.
Your goal should be to include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and veggies as well as heart-healthy fats such as nuts or fish in their lunch. Carbs provide energy; proteins can aid digestion while vegetables and fruit provide fiber. Nutrit-rich fats from nuts or fish provide heart-healthy fats and help satisfy hunger.
Pack fresh or frozen fruits and veggies as a delicious, crunchy lunch option to please children. Make it more appealing by cutting into fun shapes like hearts, stars or circles – kids may prefer them over plain fruits like oranges. When selecting low-sugar whole fruit options like berries, oranges, apples or grapes.
Avoid processed and high-fat snack items with saturated or trans fats as well as added sugars, like chips, pretzels and granola bars that contain these elements. Instead, opt for extra vegetables, nuts or yogurt.
Add vegetables with deep colors to your lunch to boost its nutritional content, especially potassium (which helps lower blood pressure), vitamin A and calcium. They’re also an excellent source of fiber – something your lunch might otherwise lack!
Try mixing up your sandwich options by trying different types of bread and fillings, such as wheat pita with tuna or chicken salad, vegetable and hummus wrap with grilled chicken, vegetarian garden veggie chickpea sandwich with avocado and arugula or quinoa bowls filled with roasted squash and spinach – or use your favorite meat or beans as fillings for wraps or salads like lean turkey with salsa and avocado, sliced ham with cheese, canned salmon with chili sauce, egg salad with arugula or refried beans with guacamole for starters!
Consider adding tofu to your lunch. As an excellent source of complete proteins, tofu contains all essential amino acids – making it an ideal choice. Furthermore, tofu also provides isoflavones – compounds which may help protect against heart disease.
Add more vegetables to your diet by having a serving or two of soup for lunch. A hearty bean soup containing steamed broccoli makes an energizing and satisfying lunch, which you can prepare in advance and refrigerate until lunch time arrives. Combine this meal with whole grain bread rolls or baguettes as well as low-fat dips like hummus, babaganoush or ranch dressing for even greater nutrition!
Meat, poultry and fish protein is an integral component of a balanced meal. When shopping for meat, be mindful to purchase lean or low-fat varieties that have lower saturated fat contents; when possible avoid visible fat as well as skin and crackling containing more saturated fat that also tends to contain higher calorie counts. Eating too much red or processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer so limiting consumption is highly advised.
If you prefer prepackaged deli meats, opt for turkey, lean ham or roast beef with low sodium levels and no nitrates; alternatively purchase slabs of meat and slice into lunch-meat portions yourself.
Dieting with variety at each meal will keep you satiated and energized throughout your afternoon. Aim to include at least one lean protein source, fibre source (such as nuts or seeds), avocados or olive oil; as well as healthy fat sources like nuts seeds avocados olive oil fish for optimal nutritional intake. Planning meals ahead can help prevent impulsive decisions at lunch time by offering more nutritious choices – even taking packed lunch to work can prevent last minute cravings!
If you want to curb hunger at lunch time, whole grains are an ideal choice. They contain both heart-healthy soluble fiber and appetite-suppressing protein – as well as B vitamins, iron and antioxidants. Furthermore, one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests they could also help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
All grains begin as whole grains, but milling processes remove key components, lowering their nutritional value. Look for products labeled with “whole”, as this indicates their true whole status; or simply check the ingredient list to make sure – particularly those containing enriched wheat which has had many of its health benefits removed.
Increase your fiber intake with bulgur wheat (found in tabbouleh salad) and quinoa for maximum pregnancy health benefits. These two grains are rich in iron and magnesium – essential ingredients in maintaining a healthy pregnancy!
If your lunch involves sandwiches, Rifkin suggests choosing one with whole grain bread for greater health benefits and taste enhancement. Salad lovers could add rice or quinoa for their grain portion; research shows a diet rich in whole grains can also help protect against colorectal and liver cancer as well as enhance gut bacteria health and improve mood.
Nuts provide protein, heart-healthy fats, soluble fibre and an array of essential vitamins and minerals – not to mention immune support and antioxidant protection! Nuts can easily be integrated into food items like sandwiches, salads or grain-based dishes for extra nutrition – plus they’re an important source of selenium, an important nutrient for prostate health!
Nuts should be eaten daily to promote weight loss, protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes, reduce cancer risks, satisfy hunger between meals and provide energy boost. Although nuts contain plenty of calories, their consumption should be limited.
If your school has a nut-free policy, try replacing peanut butter with hard boiled egg or fruit as part of your lunch. Or consider switching it out for another nut or seed butter.
Avoid leaving the house without an itinerary in mind for lunch in the morning – this will lead to unwise, less healthy choices being made on impulse. Instead, plan ahead and select healthier lunch items like whole-wheat sandwiches or salads with lean meat as your option for lunch, packing an insulated or thermos-style bag with cold bottle of water for added cold beverage cooling if available; avoid adding unnecessary kilojoules with sugary drinks and limit how often packaged ‘instant’ yoghurts and biscuits come ‘instantaneously’ in.
Avocados may seem like something best served on taco salad, but this versatile fruit can be used for any lunch meal. With its creamy texture and amazing versatility, avocados make great additions to salads, sandwiches, wraps or even used as the foundation of delicious homemade guacamole!
Avocados contain predominantly monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. Furthermore, avocados also provide folate, potassium and fiber which all play key roles in maintaining heart health by helping manage blood pressure levels.
Avocado has the added advantage of making you feel full for longer after eating it, according to research published in Nutrition Journal. People who added half an avocado to their meals reported feeling less hungry afterwards.
Avocado is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits for both brain and heart. Omega-3s can reduce inflammation within the body as well as decrease blood pressure levels. Avocados contain beta-sitosterol, which is a plant form of cholesterol. When eaten regularly, beta-sitosterol may help lower cholesterol levels by providing plant-derived sources. Avocados also boast an abundance of soluble fiber to keep digestion running smoothly and avoid constipation issues. Avocados are one of the few fruits to contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid which has been shown to protect against inflammation diseases4. They’re also an excellent natural laxative, helping promote regularity and prevent constipation.