Nutritious food for the whole family
Eating a healthy meal at lunchtime not only prevents you from reaching for unhealthy snacks, it also fuels your brain and provides your body with essential nutrients to get you through the afternoon. Ensuring you make time to eat a healthy lunch is important for productivity, mental focus and your overall health.
If you’re looking some inspiration in the kitchen or you want to make your lunches that little bit healthier, here are seven healthy lunch ideas – nutritious food for the whole family.
Why is it important to eat a healthy lunch?
Lunch is an important meal of the day as it gives you energy and provides essential nutrients for your brain to function. It also helps to maintain your blood sugar levels, preventing afternoon fatigue and mood slumps. Eating a healthy lunch, one you have prepared yourself, is also key. People who snack all day or don’t eat lunch tend to put on more weight as they consume too many of the wrong types of foods such as sugar-laden carbs or high trans-fat foods, and there is also a tendency for them to overeat at dinner time.
Shop-bought, convenience lunch foods such as sandwiches, pizzas, bagels, pasta and potato salads are laden with unhealthy fats, sugar and additives. The poor fibre and low nutrient content of these foods means they offer little in the way of nutritional value. Instead, they spike your blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. Making a delicious, healthy lunch is the best way to boost your nutrition and ensure your concentration and energy levels remain high throughout the afternoon.
What should you eat for lunch?
A healthy lunch should contain at least three or four portions of fresh vegetables, a quality protein (such as quinoa, beans, peas, nuts, seeds) and some healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, seeds). Keep grains to a minimum and only eat whole grains such as millet, wholegrain rice, buckwheat and bulgur. Season your food with herbs and spices instead of refined table salt and eat foods to support gut health such as sauerkraut and kimchi. Supercharge salads and soups with superfoods like chia seeds, mixed sprouts, beetroot and kale.
Healthy lunch recipes
- Spinach and quinoa balls which are crammed full of plant-based protein and fibre, making them a great packed lunch option. They can be eaten on their own or served with a hummus or a tasty salad.
- Turmeric hummus with cucumber and carrot sticks makes a quick and easy lunch and is a great option for kids too.
- Creamy cauliflower soup. Soups are warming and nourishing for those winter days where your body might be in need of a little warmth and extra nutrition.
- Butternut and parsnip soup is an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins C and A which help support your immune and respiratory systems.
- Black rice sushi rolls are a healthy alternative to sandwiches or wraps, and are an excellent way to get your vegetables in.
- Cucumber roll ups are a big hit with the kids, especially if they can help make them. Change the fillings so each one tastes different.
- Moroccan buddha bowl is loaded with flavour and nutrition with its spicy hummus, quinoa, roasted carrots and crunchy almonds. It makes a great lunch for at home or the office.
Make time to eat a healthy lunch
Making time to eat a nutritious lunch is essential for maintaining energy and concentration levels. Avoid skipping lunch or eating convenience food on-the-run as your blood sugar levels will suffer and it could cause you to pack on some additional pounds. Prepare a healthy salad or soup, or opt for homemade sushi or spinach and quinoa balls which are loaded with nutrients and flavour.