If you are trying to shed pounds and maintain a healthy eating plan, lunchtime can be a battle. We have all suffered from hunger pangs that seem to hit in the afternoon causing us to reach for an unhealthy snack like a candy bar or chips. If your stomach is rumbling, it could mean that you didn’t eat the right foods during lunch to keep you full for the rest of your afternoon until dinnertime.
Eating a healthy lunch is very important. Here are two big reasons why:
Energy—eating a lunch packed with nutrients helps you to avoid a mid-afternoon crash. It will ensure that you re-energize your body, keep your metabolism active, elevate your blood sugar levels and focus.
Don’t Skip—if you skip lunch, it can leave you starving when you come home from work or running errands during the day. Skipping a meal can lead to binge eating or the temptation to reach for an unhealthy option.
To make sure you are fueling up at lunch properly, incorporate these filling foods daily:
- Complex Carbohydrates—whole-grain bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes
- Protein—salmon, chicken, tuna, nuts, beans, turkey, eggs
- Low-fat Dairy—reduced-fat cheese, yogurt, soy milk
- Fruits—oranges, apples, mangos, blueberries, bananas
Here are 3 healthy lunch ideas to start eating today
Hummus and Vegetables
This easy to pack lunch is delicious and healthy. The chickpeas in hummus will provide you with protein and fiber and the vegetables are full of antioxidants. Bring a variety of colorful vegetables such as red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas and broccoli.
A salmon salad is the perfect combination of protein and good fats. Salmon, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, helps to prevent heart disease and boost memory. Toss in some red bell peppers which are antioxidant-rich, high in fiber and folic acid.
Barley & Black Bean Salad
Prepare this salad the night before for an easy-to-grab healthy lunch idea. Barley is a whole grain to keep your energy up and it also helps to lower cholesterol. Black beans contain protein and antioxidants. Add some tomatoes—they contain lycopene which is believed to fight cancer. Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or salsa to give your metabolism a boost.
Chicken Pita Sandwich
This simple and easy lunch provides all the nutrition you need. Spinach adds vitamin A and folate while the whole-grain pita provides more than 20% of your daily fiber. Chicken is an excellent source of protein and red bell pepper offers antioxidants and crunch. Use a low-fat Italian vinaigrette or olive oil and balsamic to top it off.
If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your overall these healthy lunch ideas are a good start. Just like breakfast gives you an energy boost in the morning, a healthy lunch fuels the second half of your day—helping you steer clear from the unhealthy snack options.
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