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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 June 27, 2019

                  Scientists Find 15 Amazing Benefits Of Listening To Music

                  Scientists Find 15 Amazing Benefits Of Listening To Music

                  If you love listening to music, you’re in good company. Charles Darwin once remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” Albert Einstein declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.” Jimi Hendrix called music his “religion.”

                  I’ve always been in awe of people who can sing and play guitar. As a young girl, I secretly listened to singer-songwriter music in my bedroom into the wee hours. As a rebellious teenager, I cranked rock ‘n’ roll in the house whenever I had to do chores. I always felt great afterwards – now I know why.

                  Recent research shows that listening to music improves our mental well-being and boosts our physical health in surprising and astonishing ways. If we take a music lesson or two, that musical training can help raise our IQs and even keep us sharp in old age. Here are 15 amazing scientifically-proven benefits of being hooked on music.

                  1. Music Makes You Happier

                  “I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.” – William James

                  Research proves that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University, injected eight music-lovers with a radioactive substance that binds to dopamine receptors after they listened to their favorite music. A PET scan showed that large amounts of dopamine were released, which biologically caused the participants to feel emotions like happiness, excitement, and joy.[1]

                  So the next time you need an emotional boost, listen to your favorite tunes for 15 minutes. That’s all it takes to get a natural high!

                  2. Music Enhances Running Performance

                  “If people take anything from my music, it should be motivation to know that anything is possible as long as you keep working at it and don’t back down.” – Eminem

                  Marcelo Bigliassi and his colleagues found that runners who listened to fast or slow motivational music completed the first 800 meters of their run faster than runners who listened to calm music or ran without music.[2] If you want to take your running up a notch, listen to songs that inspire you.

                  3. Music Lowers Stress and Improves Health

                  “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from.” – Billy Joel

                  Listening to music you enjoy decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which counteracts the effects of chronic stress.[3] This is an important finding since stress causes 60% of all our illnesses and disease.[4] One study showed that if people actively participated in making music by playing various percussion instruments and singing, their immune system was boosted even more than if they passively listened.[5]

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                  To stay calm and healthy during a stressful day, turn on the radio. Be sure to sing along and tap your feet to the beat to get the maximum healing benefit.

                  4. Music Helps You Sleep Better

                  “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach

                  Over 30% of Americans suffer from insomnia.[6] A study showed that students who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before turning in slept significantly better than students who listened to an audiobook or did nothing different from their normal routine.[7]

                  If you’re having trouble sleeping, try listening to a little Bach or Mozart before bedtime to catch some Zs.

                  5. Music Reduces Depression

                  “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou

                  More than 350 million people suffer from depression around the world.[8] A whopping 90% of them also experience insomnia.[9] The sleep research above found that symptoms of depression decreased significantly in the group that listened to classical music before bedtime, but not in the other two groups.

                  Another study by Hans Joachim Trappe in Germany also demonstrated that music can benefit patients with depressive symptoms, depending on the type of music. Meditative sounds and classical music lifted people up, but techno and heavy metal brought people down even more.[10]

                  The next time you feel low, put on some classical or meditative music to lift your spirits.

                  6. Music Helps You Eat Less

                  “There’s a friendly tie of some sort between music and eating.” – Thomas Hardy

                  Research at Georgia Tech University showed that softening the lighting and music while people ate led them to consume fewer calories and enjoy their meals more. If you’re looking for ways to curb your appetite, try dimming the lights and listening to soft music the next time you sit down for a meal.[11]

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                  7. Music Elevates Your Mood While Driving

                  “That’s what I love. Not being interrupted, sitting in the car by myself listening to music in the rain. There are so many great songs yet to sing.”  – Alison Kraus

                  A study in the Netherlands found that listening to music can positively impact your mood while driving,[12] which can lead to safer behavior than not listening to music. The next time you feel frustrated in traffic, turn up the tunes to improve your state of mind. It won’t hurt your driving performance – it may even help you drive more safely.

                  8. Music Strengthens Learning and Memory

                  “Music is the language of memory.” – Jodi Picoult

                  Researchers discovered that music can help you learn and recall information better, but it depends on how much you like the music and whether or not you’re a musician. Subjects memorized Japanese characters while listening to music that either seemed positive or neutral to them.[13] The results showed that participants who were musicians learned better with neutral music but tested better when pleasurable music was playing. Non-musicians, on the other hand, learned better with positive music but tested better with neutral music.

                  Memorize these results. You now have a strategy to study more effectively for your next test.

                  9. Music Relaxes Patients Before/After Surgery

                  “He who sings scares away his woes.” – Miguel de Cervantes

                  Researchers found that listening to relaxing music before surgery decreases anxiety.[14] In fact it’s even more effective than being orally administered Midazolam, a medication often used to help pre-op patients feel sleepy that also has gnarly side effects such as coughing and vomiting. Other studies showed that listening to soothing music while resting in bed after open heart surgery increases relaxation.[14]

                  Globally, 234 million major surgeries are performed each year.[15] If you or someone you know is going into surgery, be sure to bring some soothing tunes to ease anxiety. It may work better, and will certainly have fewer adverse side effects, than the meds they dispense.

                  10. Music Reduces Pain

                  “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marely

                  Research at Drexel University in Philadelphia found that music therapy and pre-recorded music reduced pain more than standard treatments in cancer patients. Other research showed that music can decrease pain in intensive care patients and geriatric care patients, but the selection needed to be either classical pieces, meditative music, or songs of the patient’s choosing.

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                  Bob Marely was right about this one – listen to music you love to take your pain away.

                  11. Music Helps Alzheimer’s Patients Remember

                  “The past, which is not recoverable in any other way, is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity.” – Oliver Sacks, M.D.

                  A non-profit organization called Music & Memory helps people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other age-related dementias remember who they are by having them listen to their dearest songs. The awakening is often dramatic. For example, after Henry listens to music from his era, this wheelchair-bound dementia sufferer who can barely speak sings Cab Calloway songs and happily reminisces about his life .

                  Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics at the University of California at the Irvine School of Medicine, explains that because music affects so many areas of the brain, it stimulates pathways that may still be healthy.[16]

                  One in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s Disease or another dementia,[17] so odds are you know someone who has it. To connect with loved ones who suffer from age-related dementia, try playing some of their best-loved music.

                  12. Music Improves Recovery in Stroke Patients

                  “I know why the caged bird sings.” – Maya Angelou

                  Research at the University of Helsinki showed that stroke patients who listened to music they chose themselves for two hours a day had significantly improved recovery of cognitive function compared to those who listened to audio books or were given no listening material.[18] Most of the music contained lyrics, which suggests that it’s the combination of music and voice that bolstered the patients’ auditory and verbal memory.

                  Stroke is the number 5 cause of death in the United States.[19] If you know someone who has suffered a stroke, bring their favorite songs as soon as you can. Listening to them can significantly ramp up their recuperation.

                  13. Music Increases Verbal Intelligence

                  “Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.” – Modest Mouse

                  After only one month of music lessons (in rhythm, pitch, melody and voice), a study at York University showed that 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 6 had a significant increase in verbal intelligence.[20] Researcher Sylvain Moreno suggests that the music training had a “transfer effect”[21] which enhanced the children’s ability to understand words and explain their meaning. Other research found that musically trained adult women and musically trained children outperformed those without music training on verbal memory tests.

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                  No matter whether you’re an adult or a child, if you want to boost your verbal skills, try taking music lessons!

                  14. Music Raises IQ and Academic Performance

                  “Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

                  Research shows that taking music lessons predicts higher academic performance and IQ in young children.[22] In one study, 6-year-olds who took keyboard or singing lessons in small groups for 36 weeks had significantly larger increases in IQ and standardized educational test results than children who took either drama lessons or no lessons. The singing group did the best.

                  To help your children achieve academic excellence, encourage them to sing or learn to play an instrument.

                  15. Music Keeps Your Brain Healthy in Old Age

                  “Music is the true breath of life. We eat so we won’t starve to death. We sing so we can hear ourselves live.” – Yasmina Khadra

                  A study with healthy older adults found that those with ten or more years of musical experience scored higher on cognitive tests than musicians with one to nine years of musical study.[23] The non-musicians scored the lowest. “Since studying an instrument requires years of practice and learning, it may create alternate connections in the brain that could compensate for cognitive declines as we get older,” says lead researcher Brenda Hanna-Pladdy.

                  Business magnate Warren Buffet stays sharp at age 84 by playing ukulele. It’s never too late to play an instrument to keep you on top of your game.

                  Plato had it right when he said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” No matter whether you’re young or old, healthy or sick, happy or sad, music can improve the quality of your life in numerous ways. It reduces stress and anxiety, lifts your mood, boosts your health, helps you sleep better, takes away your pain, and even makes you smarter.

                  New research shows that music “can communicate basic human feelings regardless of the listener’s cultural and ethnic background.” We’ve only just begun to understand all the ways this universal language can profit the world.[24] Rather than cut funds for music and art programs in schools, why not invest in exploring all the secret places that music reaches so that we may continue to reap its amazing benefits?

                  More About Music

                  Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] McGill: Investigations of the links between music, emotion and reward, Valorie Salimpoor
                  [2] The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: How Does Music Aid 5 km of Running?
                  [3] Psychology Today: Cortisol: Why the “Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1
                  [4] The American Institute of Stress: Master Your Stress
                  [5] J Music Ther.: The effects of active and passive participation in musical activity on the immune system as measured by salivary immunoglobulin A (SIgA).
                  [6] The Better Sleep Guide: The Insomnia Statistics
                  [7] J Adv Nurs.: Music improves sleep quality in students.
                  [8] World Health Organization: Depression
                  [9] Dialogues Clin Neurosci.: Sleep disturbances and depression: risk relationships for subsequent depression and therapeutic implications
                  [10] Dtsch Med Wochenschr.: [Music and health–what kind of music is helpful for whom? What music not?].
                  [11] Georgia Tech News Center: Helpful Hints for Healthy Holiday Eating
                  [12] Ergonomics.: The influence of music on mood and performance while driving.
                  [13] Front Psychol.: Pleasurable music affects reinforcement learning according to the listener
                  [14] J Clin Nurs. : Soothing music can increase oxytocin levels during bed rest after open-heart surgery: a randomised control trial.
                  [15] Wise Geek: How Many Surgeries Are Performed Each Year?
                  [16] Alzheimers.net: Music Therapy For Dementia: Awakening Memories
                  [17] Alzheimer’s Association: Facts & Figures
                  [18] EurekAlert: Listening to music improves stroke patients’ recovery
                  [19] Heart.org: Heart and Stroke Statistics
                  [20] APS: Short-Term Music Training Enhances Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function
                  [21] Pacific Standard: Music Training Enhances Children’s Verbal Intelligence
                  [22] PLOS: Practicing a Musical Instrument in Childhood is Associated with Enhanced Verbal Ability and Nonverbal Reasoning
                  [23] US News: Music Training May Help Keep Aging Brain Healthy
                  [24] The Mind Unleashed: This is How Music Is Indeed a Universal Language

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