We know, we know—it’s hard to eat a healthy lunch every day. Sometimes, we just don’t have the energy in the morning to pack up something nutritious for later. Some days, we’re too busy to even consider leaving our desks, so we just munch on whatever we’ve stashed in our desk drawers. Other days, the temptation of fast food beckons. And we have no excuse—after all, we work on a health magazine.
But experts agree that a midafternoon break is critical to maintaining mental sharpness. When blood sugar starts to plummet, eating a meal can help even it out and improve mood and performance. Lunchtime provides a brief respite from the stress of the first half of the day; it allows for mental and physical refueling before tackling the second half.
Some of the following recipes are rich in protein to regenerate cells and rebuild muscles; others contain complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. It’s easy to add your favorite extras, such as vegetable sticks or fruit, to these main dishes. If you’re trying to achieve the nutritionists’ recommended goal of “five a day,” getting a couple of fruit and vegetable servings in at lunch puts you that much closer to your quota.
All of these recipes are good sources of vitamins and minerals, and they can be made the night before. Try whipping up a few on a Sunday night so you’ll have a couple of lunches prepared for the early part of your work week.
Healthy Lunch Recipes
Amy Baugh-Meyer is associate editor of Herbs for Health. She also holds a diet counselor certificate from the Institute for Educational Therapy in Santa Cruz, California.