If you are like most Americans, lunch is the most difficult meal of the day to eat healthfully. Whether it is speeding to a meeting in ½ an hour, picking the kids up from school or running too many errands, the mid-day meal is often when most people find themselves unable to maintain their healthy habits.
Our breakfasts are usually spent eating foods high in fiber and packed with nutrition to help us sustain our energy throughout the day. We make our smoothies, boil our eggs and even throw in some spinach to help increase that vegetable intake. There are those of us who heeded the call of the healthy effects of anti-oxidants and have turned in our coffee mugs in exchange for green tea cups. Long gone is the eating of simple carbohydrates without consideration to balancing them with good proteins and essential fats. We move into the day with a healthy start and hope to sustain it throughout the day.
Skip ahead to dinner and most of us are home, able to relax in our own atmosphere. Although we are often exhausted from work, we have the choice to continue our quest for wellness and make a simple, nutritious meal. There is the option of cooking from scratch, for a nutritious meal or to make something quick from healthy packaged foods. We are listening to the USDA’s recommendations of 5 vegetables per day and adding them to our evening’s dishes. Our fish and lean meat intake has increased to balance the macronutrients in our diet. We go to bed content with our decisions that will keep our health at its optimal level.
And then there was lunch. There are so many obstacles to eating a well-balanced nutritious meal during the mid-day that it is a wonder how any one person can preserve the practice. There are appointments to juggle, corporate ladders to climb and fast food joints to avoid. Fortunately, we have developed some great ideas to help you maintain your healthy routines, even in your busiest times.
Make it at night
Cooking for one or more? If you and your family usually have dinner at home, why not make enough dinner for just one more? You will have enough food left over to take to work the next day. If you don’t like the idea of taking meals from the night before because it would have to be eaten cold, there are some options. There are more uses for a hot pot than in your old college dorm room. Leave one at work and heat up your leftovers in 5 minutes or less. Or, if your office has a small microwave oven, put your lunch in a glass container to reheat easily.
In addition, you can make easy recipes with ingredients from dinner, changing them slightly to make them more lunch-friendly. For example, if your nightly nosh included black beans and veggies as a side dish, you could wrap these in a whole-wheat tortilla with some spinach. Pack it in aluminum foil, take some salsa on the side and have a delicious lunch.