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Lunch In A Rush: 8 Time-Saving Healthy Food Recipes

Lunch In A Rush: 8 Time-Saving Healthy Food Recipes

You are either always in the rush, or if you aren’t, there are days when you wish you had made lunch the day before. People who work a lot know the struggle of being sick of eating the same unhealthy food that makes you fat and unproductive, since you feel bloated all the time.

Moreover, if you are at home and have a lot of obligations, and there is no time to play some music and play MasterChef, then you have to come up with a healthy solution made out of the leftovers from your fridge. That almost never works out, and in order to avoid eating just buttered bread and drinking milk from the cartoon, let’s go through some healthy meals recipes you can make in no time.

1. Gingered tofu and green veggie stir fry

Gingered tofu

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 3-4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
    • 125g mushrooms
    • 300g broccoli, cut into florets
    • 125g chopped curly kale
    • 200g tofu, cubed
    • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce or stock
    • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

    Put ginger, onion and garlic, in a wok or large pan with heated oil and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add broccoli, tofu, kale, mushroom and soy sauce. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. After it’s done, just sprinkle it with sesame seeds, and your meal is done.

    So, it takes you only 10 minutes to make this delicious and nutritious meal, without much effort. You’ll need 5 minutes to peel and chop, but you can also prepare the vegetables the night before. So, when lunch time comes, you’ll just need to put everything in a wok and have your meal ready in ten minutes without any additional cooking.

    The meal is tasty even if you don’t use mushrooms, as well as if you put chicken instead of tofu. If you aren’t a fan of soy sauce, spice it up with chili. Everything this meal consists of is healthy, and you should practice eating these foods, especially because of the health benefits of tofu, which is naturally gluten-free, and provides you with protein, calcium and iron, while broccoli is perfect for detoxification.

    2. White Bean & Herb Hummus with Crudités

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    White Bean & Herb Hummus

      Ingredients:

      • 1/4 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
      • 1 tbsp chopped chives
      • 1 tbsp lemon juice
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • assorted raw vegetables, such as chopped broccoli florets, sliced green or red peppers, and baby carrots

      Take a small bowl and mix beans, oil, lemon juice and chives with a fork. When it becomes smooth, your meal is ready to be served. Add raw vegetables as suggested previously, and add some more if you like.

      For this meal, you need just 5 minutes to prepare everything without much effort. It’s healthy, simple and delicious. Definitely perfect for a quick lunch, as you’ll get all the needed energy and stay healthy at the same time.

      Don’t forget to add some of the vegetables you like or just have lying around in your kitchen. Chives go perfectly with these ingredients, and are perfect for your metabolism, as they provide you with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. What many people don’t know is that chives need to be cut with a sharp knife and very gently, because the flavor will stay on the cutting board if you squash them with a dull blade.

      3. Spiced quinoa with almonds & feta

      Spiced quinoa

        Ingredients:

        • 1 tbsp olive oil
        • 1 tbsp ground coriander
        • ½ tbsp turmeric
        • 300g quinoa , rinsed
        • 50g toasted flaked almonds
        • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
        • handful parsley , roughly chopped
        • juice ½ lemon

        Boil 400ml water and add to it some vegetables of your choice. Take a large pan, put in the olive oil and all the spices. When it heats up, add quinoa, and when you hear popping, add boiling water and stir. When the water evaporates, let it cool down a bit, and add other ingredients. Mix with crumbled feta.

        You will need 10 minutes for preparation, and it’ll need to be cooked for 15 minutes. Quinoa is a great complete source of protein, as it contains all nine essential amino acids. Instead of feta, you can also use blue cheese. It takes a bit longer to make it, but it’s really worth, as it will keep you going throughout the day. Don’t doubt the nutritional power of quinoa, and if the long day is front of you, make sure you make this meal.

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        4. Porridge with blueberry compote

        Porridge with blueberry compote

          Ingredients:

          • 6 tbsp porridge oats
          • just under ½ x 200ml tub 0% fat Greek-style yogurt
          • ½ x 350g pack frozen blueberries
          • 1 tbsp honey (optional)

          Put 400ml water in a pan, preferably of the nonstick variety, and stir for a minute or two until it thickness, and then add yogurt. Don’t use everything, add a third of it. Put blueberries in another, also nonstick pan, and add 1tbsp water and 1tbsp honey. Pour porridge in a bowl, and pour the rest of the yogurt, and blueberries over. Depending on your taste decide how much yogurt and blueberries you’ll put.

          Quick, easy and tasty porridge with blueberry compote is perfect for a breakfast, but it can also be a brunch or even lunch, especially if you’ve already had brunch. It takes only 10 minutes to make – 5 minutes of preparation and 5 minutes of cooking.

          Porridge oats provide you with fiber, which helps you lower cholesterol. You don’t need probiotic drinks, if you eat porridge oats, as they provide you with more than enough fiber to keep your stomach running smoothly.

          5. Kale, Spinach & Pear Smoothie

          Kale, Spinach & Pear Smoothie

            Ingredients:

            • 1 heaping cup spinach leaves
            • 1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves
            • 1/2 pear
            • 1 frozen banana
            • 1 1/2 cups cold almond milk (or soy milk or orange juice)
            • 1 tablespoon honey

            Put kale, almond milk and spinach in a blender. Don’t forget to remove the leaves from kale, and blend until there are only small pieces of kale. Add a banana, honey and a pear. Keep blending until it’s smooth.

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            With just a bit of healthy fats from the almond milk, not too many calories and 5g fiber it is a great help if you have digestion problems, as it eliminates toxins with fiber. Also, spinach is great source of niacin, protein and zinc, as well as fiber. When you add powerful healthy bananas, you get one of the healthiest smoothies to keep you energized and healthy until dinner time. You may have doubts about the taste, but be sure that the taste of this green smoothie will blow you away.

            6. Open sandwiches – Crushed bean, artichoke & red onion

            Crushed bean, artichoke & red onion

              Ingredients:

              • 1 slice granary bread
              • 1 small can white bean
              • basil oil
              • artichoke heart, from a jar
              • sundried tomatoes, from a jar
              • few slices red onion

              Put a little oil and white (haricot) beans in a bowl and mash. Throw it on a slice of bread, previously toasted if you like, and put an artichoke, tomatoes and red onion on top. Feel free to top with basil oil.

              This sandwich is very quick and easy to make, and because it is very nutritious, it can be a perfect lunch in a rush. If you have just 5 minutes to eat, this sandwich will keep you healthy and energized. The haricot beans are rich in fiber, and as such help lower cholesterol. Moreover, they prevent rapid rising of blood sugar levels right after a meal. If you are a diabetic, and you have planned meals, when you are in a rush this sandwich will definitely be perfect for you. The combination of extremely healthy artichoke hearts, haricot beans and onions makes for one healthy and tasty lunch.

              7. Bold & beautiful coffee smoothie

              Bold & beautiful coffee smoothie

                Ingredients:

                • 1 frozen banana
                • 8g chia seeds
                • 125ml coconut water
                • 1 tsp ground almonds
                • 1 shot of espresso

                This smoothie is so simple. Just put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until it’s smooth. This smoothie recommended by Jamie Oliver is usually a great breakfast. But, if you had a light brunch, then this smoothie will be a perfect addition. The worst mistake is not to have a snack at lunchtime, because of a late breakfast or light brunch, as your body needs energy to keep you focused and productive. Also, the greatest reason is definitely your health.

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                The night before, put a banana in the freezer, as it is the most important ingredient of this smoothie. Except for that, this smoothie doesn’t require a long preparation. While coconut water keeps you hydrated, the health benefits of coffee shouldn’t be neglected either. Except for boosting your physical performance, coffee is rich in antioxidants, which is the reason it is included in many diets. Moreover, chia seeds provide you with omega 3 healthy acids and protein.

                8. Fresh Cranberry and Orange Smoothie

                Fresh Cranberry and Orange Smoothie

                  Ingredients:

                  • 1 cup almond milk
                  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
                  • 2/3 cup frozen cranberries
                  • 2 oranges, peeled, segmented, and seeded
                  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

                  Combine everything in a blender, and when it is smooth, serve it. As this smoothie is a replacement for your lunch, and is also recommended if you had something to eat a bit later in the morning, make sure you use full-fat Greek yogurt. You need some energy to keep you going until dinner, so don’t think that you will gain weight because of half a cup of yogurt.

                  However, if you are having this smoothie as a snack after a big meal, then use non-fat yogurt. As smoothies can negatively impact your teeth, particularly ones with highly acidic fruits like oranges, make sure to brush your teeth or at least rinse with water after you’ve had this quick meal. On the other hand, cranberries are always a plus, as they prevent germs from sticking to your teeth. Also, they are good for preventing urinary tract infections, and improving immune functions.

                  Lunch is an important meal, which needs to keep you fueled and focused, while making sure you stay healthy. Avoid junk food, as there are no health benefits and plenty of downsides. When it comes to smoothies, they can be a great replacement for a lunch, when you are in a rush, but make sure it doesn’t happen every day.

                  These meals will definitely help you get the needed vitamins, fiber, some iron and proteins, but still it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend at least one day in the kitchen preparing something more complex. If you had a light and early breakfast, it is not recommended to have a smoothie for lunch, but as you are in a rush, opt for gingered tofu or spiced quinoa. Bon appétit!

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                  Ivan Dimitrijevic

                  SEO Consultant

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                  Published on November 14, 2018

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                  With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                  For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                  In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                  Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                  Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                  It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                  For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                  Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                  Symptoms of Fatigue

                  Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                  • mental blocks
                  • lack of motivation
                  • headache
                  • dizziness
                  • muscle weakness
                  • slowed reflexes and responses
                  • impaired decision-making and judgement
                  • moodiness, such as irritability
                  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                  • reduced immune system function
                  • blurry vision
                  • short-term memory problems
                  • poor concentration
                  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                  Causes of Fatigue

                  The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                  Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                  Medical Causes of Fatigue

                  If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                  Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                  Anemia

                  Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                  Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                  There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                  This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                  Diabetes

                  Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                  Sleep Apnea

                  Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                  Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                  Thyroid disease

                  An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                  Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Lack of sleep
                  • Too much sleep 
                  • Alcohol and drugs 
                  • Sleep disturbances 
                  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                  • Poor diet 

                  Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                  Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                  Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                  How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                  Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                  1. Tell The Truth

                  Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                  To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                  Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                  The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                  One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                  • How you feel
                  • What time of day it is
                  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                  • How your mind and body reacts

                  This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                  2. Reduce Your Commitments

                  When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                  If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                  When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                  Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                  3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                  If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                  Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                  If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                  Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                  Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                  4. Express More Gratitude

                  Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                  It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                  Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                  5. Focus On Yourself

                  Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                  There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                  But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                  We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                  6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                  Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                  Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                  The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                  Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                  7. Take a Power Nap

                  When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                  Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                  This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                  8. Take More Exercise

                  The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                  Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                  The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                  You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                  9. Get More Quality Sleep

                  To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                  Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                  My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                  10. Improve Your Diet

                  Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                  Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                  On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                  To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                  Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                  Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                  11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                  Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                  When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                  Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                  My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                  12. Get Hydrated

                  Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                  Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                  If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                  The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                  The Bottom Line

                  These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                  If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                  [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                  [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                  [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                  [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                  [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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