For many people, the mid-day meal often makes or breaks their diet. Some will have planned their lunch out ahead of time, done any prep-work that was required, and packed the meal to take with them to the office or wherever they will be eating. Others cannot say the same. Instead, they head out on a hunt for nourishment, but often are only left with a few options that consist of fast food or vending machine fare.
Being prepared is half the battle with your midday meal, and it's important that you are prepared because it plays a critical aspect in your day. If you don't eat properly, not only are you much more likely to turn to simple carbs by the time 3 pm rolls around and your stomach throws a hunger fit, but you will not be setting yourself up for when you go to do your workouts later on in the afternoon or evening.
Getting in both carbohydrates and protein will be essential to prepare your body for the work that is to come. Here are seven easy healthy lunch options for you to consider. All are based around a calorie count of between 350-450 calories.
Note: if your particular calorie requirements call for you to take in more calories, you can either double up on the servings of some of the food or add an additional piece of fruit, handful of nuts, or protein shake.
If, on the other hand, your calorie requirements call for you to be slightly lower for your mid-day meal, then you can reduce back on the carbohydrates or fats listed in each meal option. Just keep the protein the same!
Monday: Tuna Wrap
Quick and easy, this one is great to take in the morning when you're in a rush and headed back to work at the start of the week.
- tuna 1 can
- fat-free mayonnaise 1 tbsp
- onions 1/4 cup sliced
- pickle 1 sliced
- wheat tortilla 1 whole
- peppers 1/2 cup
- apple 1
- peanut butter 1 tbsp
- Mix together the tuna with mayonnaise, onions, and the pickle.
- Spread over a whole wheat small tortilla wrap and then fill with the chopped vegetables of your preference (mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, etc).
- Roll up and serve.
- Have an apple smeared with peanut butter afterward for something sweet and to provide some healthy fats to slow down the digestion of this meal.
Tuesday: Chicken 'Fried' Rice
This healthy version of a favorite recipe will provide you with a good dose of protein and carbohydrates to get you through the afternoon. You can easily make this the night before and store it in your fridge to grab quickly on your way out the door.
Wednesday: Baked Potato Extreme
If you're able to run home quickly for your lunch break or work in an office that has a good lunchroom with fridge and microwave, this is a delicious, well-balanced meal to prepare.
Thursday: Italian Shrimp Pasta
Shrimp is an excellent source of protein and when purchased pre-cooked, requires very little prep time at all. Take 5 minutes to prepare this in the morning to take with you.
Friday: Tuna Burger And Salad
Saturday: Chicken Stir-Fry
Stir-fry dishes are simple to create and typically only take ten minutes tops. If you purchase pre-chopped vegetables already, your prep time will be further reduced. There are many different variations of sauces you can come up with so be sure to try a variety of your own. Keep in mind that with a few ingredient swaps, you can also really improve the nutritional content of most sauce recipes.
Sunday: Protein Pancakes With Fruit
If you're like most people, you like to enjoy sleeping in on the weekends and getting up to a brunch that reminds you of your mom's home cooking. Rather than opting for high calorie pancakes or waffles, try this healthier version that you can whip up yourself in minutes.
So don't let yourself fall off your diet during this lunch-time meal again. With some creativity in the kitchen it's definitely possible to stay on top of your diet and please your taste buds at the same time - all within a twenty minute time span.