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10 Quick And Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

10 Quick And Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

In today’s society we are all overworked, pressed for time, and stressed. We all want to be more healthy and most people make a concerted effort by eating better, moving more, and getting to bed earlier. But if you’re like me– it’s an uphill battle.

How often do you find yourself working through lunch? And when you do get a chance to eat, you have to scurry to the nearest quick-market or take-out spot, grab something barely edible, only to scarf it down in front of your computer screen. I know the dilemma– you have got to eat to keep your brain functioning, however quick and healthy options during lunch madness are pretty scarce.

The answer to this dilemma is pretty simple: pack a lunch. It really is the best option for busy people who skip lunch, are crunched for time, and who have “working lunches” frequently.

Benefits of bagging your own lunch

The benefits of bringing your own lunch from home are numerous. Here are just a few:

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  1. You can track and control your nutrients
  2. You can prevent yourself from over-eating and consuming large, calorie dense meals
  3. You save money
  4. You have more time to actually eat your lunch (you don’t have to leave your building or area, and stand in long lines).

By now, I know you are convinced that you should bring your own lunch. Now comes the issue of what to pack. The time saver in you– once you do make it to the grocery store– will try and talk you into buying a bunch of prepackaged processed mess. Don’t do it!

Processed foods are almost as bad as restaurant food:

Here are a few reasons why you should pass on the prepackaged processed meals:

  1. Processed foods contain unhealthy additives and preservatives to give it a longer shelf life
  2. Processed foods contain ingredients that lead to overconsumption and weight gain
  3. Research shows that process foods contain ingredients that make them addicting

It’s never easy to stay healthy with a busy schedule. That’s why you need a program to keep yourself motivated to achieve this goal. Our goal system offers a program that delivers FREE and tailor-made materials to keep you updated with simple and healthy living ideas so you don’t need to spare much time and effort to stay healthy. Click in to learn more!

10 easy practical lunch ideas

1. Quinoa veggie bowl

Mexican-Quinoa-Bowl
    Photo: courtesy of http://www.foodmatters.com/recipe/mexican-quinoa-bowl

    Toss together your choice of fresh or cooked vegetables with cooked quinoa, fresh herbs, and a dressing such as tahini, apple cider vinegar, cashew, cheese, or mashed avocado.

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    2. Chicken for meals, wraps and salads

    Chicken-seasoning
      Photo: Kevin / Fit Men Cook http://fitmencook.com/time-saving-chicken-meal-prep/

      Save time while keeping variety and spice by preparing two or three variations of chicken at once, using aluminum foil dividers in your pan. Sriracha, BBQ, honey mustard — you can have it all. Three birds, one pan.

      3. Chicken, rice or roasted potatoes with veggies.

      Veggie-bowls
        Photo: Jenny / http://picky-palate.com/2013/09/11/grilled-chicken-veggie-bowls-meal-prep/

        Quick, simple, and to the point. Using your different chicken flavor options (from above) you can have different variations of this meal all week without boring your taste buds to death.

        4. Cold cajun chicken 

        Take a piece of grilled or blackened chicken the night before and rub in a homemade cajun spice mix using things you already have in your pantry (or try this recipe.) Serve on top of a green salad, or slice it, and add it to a whole-wheat wrap filled with crunchy veggies.

        5. Desk salad

        Cold desk salad
          Photo: Instagram @orangesandavocados / http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/meal-ideas/12-meal-prep-ideas-arent-sad-chicken-and-rice

          Pack bowls with radishes, tomatoes, feta, and hard-boiled eggs (or whatever protein you prefer). A quick tip for hard boiling multiple eggs at once is to place the eggs in a muffin tin, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes– Magic!

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          6. Steak fajita salad

          Fajita salad
            Photo and Recipe: Chungah/ http://damndelicious.net/2015/03/06/steak-fajita-salad/

            All the amazing flavors of a fajita conveniently assembled in a salad and topped off with the creamiest cilantro lime dressing.

            7. Pesto pasta with sun dried tomatoes and roasted asparagus

            Pesto Pasta
              Photo and Recipe by: Chungah/ http://damndelicious.net/2012/07/21/pesto-pasta-with-sun-dried-tomatoes-and-roasted/

              This is a delightfully light, yet filling meat that will definitely add a twist to the working lunch. Make it for dinner the night before and use the left overs for tomorrow’s lunch.

               8. Fruit and vegetable smoothies

              Smoothie-Baggies
                Photo: Rachel/ http://www.thechicsite.com/2014/02/03/pre-packed-smoothies/

                Buy all of the ingredients in bulk, blend, and then freeze in ice cube trays, plastic bags or muffin tins.

                9. Lettuce Wraps

                lettuce wraps
                  Photo: stu_spivack / https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/410844249

                  Use large leafy green lettuce leaves as a nutrient-rich alternative to a regular wrap. Simply add your favorite fillings. Try vegetables with fish/egg, curried lentils, chilli beans, or falafels.

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                  10. Healthy Left Overs

                  The quickest way to prepare a healthy lunch, is to make more of your healthy dinner. When dishing out your nighttime meal, put some away in a container for the next day’s lunch.

                  Don’t let your busy lifestyle impede your progress towards gaining optimal health. A healthy lunch can help keep you focused, prevent the 3 PM energy slump, boost your mood, and save you time and money in the long run.

                  Find the content useful to you? Click into the goal box below for more time-saving and effortless tips on exercise and diets. By taking this simple act, living a healthy life is no longer a mission impossible for you!

                  Featured photo credit: Kaboom Pics via kaboompics.com

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                  Denise Hill

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                  Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                  The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                  The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                  It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                  If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                  One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                  Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                  In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                  Why you can’t sleep through the night

                  The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                  Stress

                  If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                  Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                  We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                  While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                  Eating close to bedtime

                  Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                  Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                  Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                  Medical conditions

                  In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                  The vicious sleep cycle

                  The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                  Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                  You get a bad night’s sleep
                  –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                  –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                  –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                    Here are a few suggestions:

                    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                    Sleep better form now on

                    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                    Reference

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