Healthy Lunch Ideas for the Office
Have you considered how the quality of your afternoon could be determined by what you eat for lunch?
From lethargic to energetic, it’s not a stretch to consider that what you choose to put in your body will either empower you or haunt you. Instead of giving more thought with what to wear than what to eat, lunch deserves more consideration with how it impacts your working life, so let’s dig in.
Fries with That?
From top leadership executives, management and on down to the front-line employees, the grab-and-dash types of lunches might be an occasional necessity or indulgence that’s regretted later. But it’s wise to put more thought and effort into what you nourish your body and brain with on a consistent basis.
The leadership team of your company can set a good example by putting more effort into their own healthy lunch habits, and encourage employees to follow suit. Healthy employees equal a healthy company, so not only will everyone’s waistline benefit, but the bottom line will too!
Foods to Avoid
Stay away from refined carbohydrates, as they’re fast-burning and digest very quickly, causing spikes in your blood sugar level which then results in the inevitable energy crash afterward. Think your lunch from the deli is healthy? A typical deli-style bagel can have up to 350 calories and 50-60g of carbohydrates – equivalent in carbohydrates to three or four slices of bread.
Eating too many refined carbs can also contribute to food cravings by stimulating the pleasure and reward part of the brain, which, if you’re trying to lose pounds, can hinder your success. Keep these foods to a bare minimum: Pizza, white bread / pasta / rice, muffins, pretzels, you get the picture.
Let’s talk about fast food, and why it’s so hard on your body. Ya sure it’s cheap and fast food is everywhere, but you need to think outside the fast food box to eat smarter than that.
French fries, hamburgers, processed and pre-packaged foods such as crackers and cheese are what could be described as “dead” food – void of any life-giving nutrition and enzymes. In addition to the lack of nourishment, the excessive calories, sodium, sugar, dyes and flavor enhancers like MSG wreak havoc on your system. These types of lunch options are hard to digest, will cause bloating and will drain your energy and ruin your productivity for the rest of the day.
Smart Healthy Lunch Ideas to Sustain Your Energy
Fresh food that is “alive” will out-perform processed food 100% of the time. Rather than having the nutrition cooked and fried out of it, fresh whole foods are full of vitamins and minerals in their natural state that your body and brain need. Choose slow-burning complex carbs to keep your blood sugar steady with no energy spikes, and lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Examples of slow-burning carbohydrates are: fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oat bran, rolled gluten-free oats, brown rice, pearled barley, quinoa, and spelt.
The almighty legume deserves special mention for lunch, such as kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, navy beans, lentils and yellow split peas all make great lunch choices. Affordable and versatile, legumes are packed with protein, zinc and iron, and you can easily feel full and energized by adding these beans and peas to your salad, soup and whole-grain dishes.
Don’t wait until morning when you’re rushed to think of healthy lunch ideas. Prepare it the night before from dinner left-overs. Stock up on seal-lid containers and thermoses and suddenly you’re half way there. Just boiling up a couple of eggs with a container of broccoli, avocado and tomato is a quick and super healthy lunch, packed with protein and vitamins. Or make a batch of vegetable soup on the weekend and freeze individual sized containers as another great option.
Having brown rice, Asian salad or chicken with your dinner tonight? Make a little extra to set aside for tomorrow’s lunch, and jazz up any dish with fresh veggies, feta cheese, nuts and a separate container of simple dressing such as olive oil, lemon and salt. Set aside an apple, banana, or a container of nuts and you’re good to go as you head out the door. Healthy lunch ideas include:
- Quinoa salad with spinach and tomato.
- Veggie wrap, with avocado, sprouts, carrots, sunflower seeds with brown rice or lettuce wrap.
- Chicken salad with shredded carrot, green onions, and tomato.
- Chick pea salad with chopped zucchini, cilantro and shredded carrot.
- Vegetable medley with broccoli, cashew nuts, and yellow zucchini.
- Tuna salad with mayo, chopped green onion and green beans.
- Rice dish (heated or cold) with veggie of your choice.
- Hot soup in a thermos with sliced carrots or rye bread.
- Lentils with chopped kale, red pepper, and feta cheese.
- Tuna sandwich with lettuce cups topped with avocado and tomato.
TIP: Why not share healthy lunch ideas with your co-workers, and start a recipe board in the lunch room?
When you’re ready. Here are some next steps:
- Grab a copy of Fatal Flaws of Employee Wellness Programs. Create a wellness strategy that will actually get results. Available on Amazon here.
- Let’s skip theory and talk about your company. Set up your call here at www.speakwithalison.com