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Healthy Lunch Recipes You Can Pack to Work
Stay on track with your wedding diet with these healthy lunch recipes you can make ahead and pack to work!
Some of the most difficult times to stay on track with a healthy diet are when busy lives interfere. Work is chaotic, wedding planning is in full swing, and before you know it, you’ve been indulging in a few too many meals out. However, this is precisely when you need to take the time to fuel yourself properly by preparing nutritious meals that nourish both your mind and body.
The key to packing healthy lunches is planning ahead. Each of the recipes below can be made on Sunday night and enjoyed all week long. Taking the time to plan ahead means that when temptations arise—your co-workers are ordering takeaway, or the convenience store crisps are calling your name—you’re prepared with healthy, satisfying meals and snacks.
Healthy Lunch RecipesImage by Isabelle Boucher licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Whoever said you shouldn’t drink your calories had obviously never sipped on this cold, refreshing Spanish Gazpacho. The perfect way to cool off in the Singapore heat, this Spanish Gazpacho is a healthy lunch recipe that’s simple to make and transport. It’s an especially great choice when your work day gets busy, because you don’t even need to heat it up to enjoy!
3 medium tomatoes; peeled, seeded, and chopped
½ green capsicum, seeded and chopped
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 slices day-old bread, torn into small pieces
1. Add all ingredients except bread to high-powered blender or food processor, and process until smooth.
2. Add pieces of bread to blender, and again process until smooth.
3. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
Guacamole Chicken Salad
If you’ve had traditional chicken salad before, then you know it’s loaded with mayonnaise and other not-so figure-friendly ingredients. This Guacamole Chicken Salad eliminates the mayonnaise altogether, replacing it with a creamy, filling alternative: avocado.
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 avocado, pitted and mashed
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
1. Add chicken breast to pot and cover completely with water. Place lid on top of pot.
2. Bring water to a boil. As soon as water begins to boil, remove from heat (keep lid on pot).
3. Let chicken poach in hot water for 15-20 minutes, or until no longer pink inside.
4. Shred cooked chicken, and combine with avocado, tomato, lime juice, salt, garlic powder, and coriander.
5. Serve chicken salad over bed of spinach or on whole-wheat toast.
Rainbow Veggie Wrap
If you’re looking for a fresh, healthy lunch, then look no further than this Rainbow Veggie Wrap. Bursting with color, this wrap is nutrient-packed and easy to make. When purchasing the tortillas for this recipe, be sure the first ingredient listed is “whole wheat flour.” Anything else, even if it’s labeled as such, is not truly whole wheat.
1 tablespoon plain Greek yoghurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 whole-wheat tortilla
¼ cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
½ red capsicum, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 small handful baby spinach
1. In a small bowl, stir together yoghurt, mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined.
2. Spread thin, even layer of yoghurt mixture onto tortilla.
3. Arrange vegetables evenly on tortilla.
4. Roll tortilla tightly, and slice into small, bite-sized sections. Secure with a toothpick, if necessary.
Creamy Kale Salad with Spiced Chickpeas
While creamy salad dressings are usually a no-go when it comes to healthy lunches, this Creamy Kale Salad with Spiced Chickpeas is the exception to the rule. The dressing is made with plain Greek yoghurt, which is packed with protein and will help keep you full throughout the afternoon. The best part? This salad can be made and dressed a few days ahead of time without getting soggy, thanks to the heartiness of the vitamin-packed kale.
1 cup chickpeas (if using dried beans, be sure to soak overnight)
½ teaspoon coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups kale, stems removed and torn
1. Preheat oven to 200°.
2. Rinse chickpeas and pat dry. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with coconut oil and spices.
3. Spread chickpeas evenly on baking sheet. Roast chickpeas for 15 minutes, stir, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
4. While chickpeas are roasting, prepare dressing. In a food processor, combine yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and a few dashes each salt and pepper. Season to taste.
5. Add kale to large bowl and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Massage kale with hands until it becomes tender and somewhat wilted.
6. Toss kale with desired amount of dressing and top with chickpeas.
Note: If preparing ahead of time, leave off chickpeas until ready to serve.
Healthy Snack Ideas
While these healthy lunch recipes are filling, sometimes you hit that 3:00 slump and need a little something extra to get you through until dinner. But enjoying an afternoon snack doesn’t have to mean devouring a bag of crisps or handful of biscuits. Instead, focus on wholesome ingredients and portion control. Pack small, single-serving snacks that include a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
Sweet and savoury
Pair apple slices with small pieces of low-fat cheddar cheese for a sweet, savoury, and satisfying afternoon snack.Image by I_Nneska licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Almonds with a kick
Boost your metabolism with these Chili-Lime Almonds. Simply toss 2 cups of almonds with 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bake at 200° for 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove from oven, top with a squeeze or two of lime juice, and enjoy this tasty snack all week long.
Veggies with a side of protein
Raw vegetables, like carrots, capsicum, and celery, are excellent snacks because you can eat a lot of them without consuming too many calories. Unfortunately, you might end up hungry 30 minutes later! Add some staying power to raw veggies by dipping them in protein-rich hummus.
Just a touch of sweet
When intense sugar cravings hit, don’t reach for the sweets! Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth by adding a teaspoon of peanut butter to a pitted date. This easy snack will give you a quick burst of energy that you’ll need to get through the rest of your workday.
Simple yet effective
Sometimes the best healthy snacks are the ones that are ready-made… and we’re not talking about the packaged kind. The next time you’re in a rush and looking for an easy snack, grab a banana. It’s perfectly portioned, filled with potassium, and helps to aid digestion.
Don’t let your busy life get in the way of eating mindfully. As long as you plan ahead, you can enjoy a healthy packed lunch every day of the week.
Credits: Feature image by California Bakery licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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