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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule
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In today’s society we are all overworked, pressed for time, and stressed. We all want to be healthier, 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, especially if you don’t know where to find healthy lunch ideas.

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 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 to eat to keep your brain functioning, and quick and healthy options during lunch madness are pretty scarce.

The answer to this dilemma is 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 Making Your Own Lunch

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

  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.
  5. It will help you on your journey to get fit.

It’s easy to feel convinced that it’s a good idea to bring your own lunch to work. However, 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. You’ll have to fight these instincts to build in the new habit of preparing your own meals.

If you need help boosting your motivation to start this new habit, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost. It will help you tap into your reasons for doing what you do and help you find a “why” for making your own healthy lunches.

To get you started, here are 10 easy, healthy lunch ideas that you can make in a short amount of time.

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10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas

1. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

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. Quinoa is an amazing grain that is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, so it’s a great addition to any meal.

    The quinoa and veggies can be cooked the night before, making this the perfect lunch for when you know you’ll have to get up and go the next morning.

    Get the recipe here!

    2. Buddha Bowls

    Protein-Packed Buddha Bowl Recipe by Tasty
      Buddha bowls are one of the most versatile lunches you can make and top the list of many easy recipes. They can be altered depending on your favorite sources of protein and the tastiest vegetables sitting in your fridge. If you’re looking for health lunch ideas, look no further!They often consist of a base of rice, quinoa, or another healthy grain. The next layer is built with two to three vegetables and a protein. You can even add hard boiled eggs! If you like mixing and matching depending on what’s available, this is the perfect healthy lunch recipe for you. For extra flavor, many choose to make a healthy sauce to top it all off, which usually uses soy sauce or olive oil as its base.Get the recipe here!

      3. Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls

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      Veggie-bowls
        This recipe is quick, simple, and to the point. If you’re a chicken fan, you use this as your base and build around it using your favorite vegetables. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try using sweet potatoes and green beans, or even adding rice. Using different spices for each day, you can have different variations of this meal all week without boring your taste buds to death.Get the recipe here!

        4. Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

        Best Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe - How To Make Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup
          If you know you’ve got a busy week ahead of you and are looking for quick and healthy lunch ideas, put this soup at the top of your list of healthy meals. Let it cook in the slow cooker Sunday evening, and you have a week’s worth of healthy lunches to keep you going.

          Full of protein-packed peas and healthy vegetables, this soup is filling and delicious at the same time.

          Get the recipe here!

          5. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

          UltimateChickpeaSaladSandwich1

            Meatless Mondays aren’t just for Mondays anymore! Go meatless for a week by prepping the chickpea filling for this sandwich and bringing a little to work each day. Have some bread waiting at your desk, and you have a quick and healthy lunch that won’t take time away from your break.

            Get the recipe here!

            6. Steak Fajita Salad

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            Fajita salad

              This salad is full of vitamin-filled vegetables and contains all the amazing flavors of a fajita, making it one of the best healthy lunch ideas. It’s topped off with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing that will feel new and fresh each time you eat it.

              Get the recipe here!

              7. Pesto Pasta

              Pesto Pasta

                This is a delightfully light, yet filling meal that will definitely add a twist to the working lunch. It’s packed with roasted tomatoes and asparagus, adding another dimension to an already delicious pesto pasta. Make it for dinner the night before and use the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

                Get the recipe here!

                8. Spinach Artichoke Turkey Panini

                If you’re a fan of spinach artichoke dip, you’ll love this easy panini. It includes Greek yogurt, which will offer an extra dose of protein and combine well with the flavors of the turkey and spinach. Everything combines to create filling sandwich that’s the perfect alternative to the traditional ham sandwich that you often find strewn on your coworkers’ desks.

                Get the recipe here!

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                9. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                This Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe is easy to make and has incredible flavor!

                  These are favorites at Chinese restaurants, and now you can make them as a quick and healthy lunch ideas in your own home! Use large leafy green lettuce leaves as a nutrient-rich alternative to a regular wrap. This recipe calls for ground chicken, but you can use ground turkey, lentils, black beans, or any other protein to fill your lettuce.

                  Prepare the filling on a Sunday evening, and you’ll have your lunch ready to go for several days.

                  Get the recipe here!

                  10. Mason Jar Ramen

                  This Mason Jar Ramen Recipe Will Forever Change Your Lunch Game

                    Forget boring, sodium-packed, store-bought ramen. This homemade ramen is stored in mason jars, making it amazingly easy to just pull out of the fridge before you head off to work. It also includes kimchi, Korean fermented vegetables, which is full of probiotics that will help you digestion[1]. This is truly one of the best quick and healthy lunch ideas for a busy lifestyle.

                    Get the recipe here!

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                    The Bottom Line

                    Don’t let your busy lifestyle impede your progress towards gaining optimal health. Healthy lunch ideas can help keep you focused, prevent the 3 PM energy slump, boost your mood, and save you time and money in the long run. Learning how to meal prep is a process as it’s a new habit you’ll have to form, but once you’ve learned it, life will be a great deal easier.

                    More Healthy Lunch Ideas

                    Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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                    Published on July 14, 2021

                    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

                    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)
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                    We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

                    You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

                    But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

                    1. Turkey

                    If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

                    It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

                    Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

                    2. Fish

                    Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

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                    Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

                    Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

                    3. White Rice

                    White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

                    White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

                    4. Bananas

                    Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

                    Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

                    5. Cheese and Crackers

                    Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

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                    This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

                    6. Warm Cereals

                    Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

                    Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

                    7. Yoghurt

                    Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

                    Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

                    Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

                    8. Eggs

                    Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

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                    Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

                    9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

                    As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

                    As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

                    10. Tart Cherries

                    Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

                    Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

                    11. Honey

                    Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

                    It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

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                    12. Popcorn

                    When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

                    Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

                    13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

                    French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

                    As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

                    Final Thoughts

                    When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

                    Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

                    When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

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                    Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

                    More Healthy Snacks Options

                    Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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