National healthy lunch day is celebrated almost across the world. It is held every year to encourage people to develop healthy lunch habits. The reason being, that lunch happens to be an important meal of the day. It should consist of healthy meals rather than calorie and sugar-filled items. Furthermore, this is a great way to encourage kids and young individuals to consider their daily diets so that unhealthy eating habits are avoided.
Countries like the United States pay special attention to meals that are provided during lunchtime to students at school. On the same hand, parents are also conscious of their daily intake at the same time. The aim is to feed the students, meals that are packed with essential nutrients. Since lunch is supposed to refuel and reproduce the energy lost till halftime, it needs to be beneficial to the body in every way. Therefore, let us discuss how important is the national healthy lunch day and how it should be celebrated.
What is a healthy lunch?
A healthy lunch is supposed to provide your body with all the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs during the day. These nutrients will help your body function normally and at the same time help it grow and reproduce. To get the most out of a healthy lunch, it should consist of the following items:
Your lunch should have a sufficient portion of fresh fruits, to begin with. Fruits contain anti-oxidants and other essential vitamins and nutrients that will provide energy to the body while reducing the calorie and sugar intake.
Whole grains are rich in fibers and nutrients. Furthermore, it has the potential to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Since you will be spending most of the day, working on a chair, whole grains will help with healthy digestion and bowel movements. A brief guide to whole grain can help you to know about healthy lunches.
Proteins are important when it comes to repairing and growing muscles. In addition to that, it also sharpens brain cells, which improves our thinking process as well. Abundantly found in almonds, eggs, and chicken breast, etc. Proteins should be consumed both at breakfast and at lunch.
Although the idea of consuming different types of vegetables at lunch does not settle well with many people but it provides several important benefits as compared to fast food and other meals people mostly prefer. Lunch is supposed to be light and provide maximum nutrients. If it is the other way around, the body will hardly benefit, instead suffer.
What is the role of calories?
A lot of people tend to get confused when it comes to calories. Furthermore, people are of the view that calories are always bad for health, whereas, in reality, it is not. The number of calories present in food refers to the amount of energy it stores. Calories are required by the body to breathe, think, and carry out other important functions.
Furthermore, an average person requires 2,000 calories a day, however, it depends on the sex, age, and physical activity. In addition to that, people who tend to exercise require more calories as compared to those who do not involve themselves in physical activities. Therefore, calories are required by the body but that does not mean that one should consume excess unhealthy food items.
Things such as ice-cream, pizza, cakes, and cookies could be consumed every once in a while, to match the daily calorie requirement. While consuming calories, make sure that your intake foods that are healthy and rich in other nutrients as well. You would not want to munch on food items that provide empty calories and result in weight gain.
Why is a healthy lunch important?
The body requires a healthy lunch to work efficiently and effectively. People who tend to skip lunch or prefer eating unhealthy meals are more vulnerable to fatigue, infection, disease, and poor performance. Therefore, a healthy lunch is important especially when it comes to kids and young individuals.
Children who are not provided healthy lunch may suffer from poor academic performance, growth, and developmental problems. More importantly, they are prone to developing unhealthy eating habits. While kids are, encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities, it is important that they are fed healthy meals to develop their bodies and brain.
What does a healthy lunch look like?
A healthy lunch should be a balanced meal. What it means is that it should consist of every important nutrient such as proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vitamins & minerals. Furthermore, a balanced diet should consist of grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and protein foods such as eggs, fish, legumes, and nuts. Unfortunately, the younger generation today seems to be more attracted towards junk food as compared to healthy meals.
This increases the chances of obesity at a very young age. As time and age progress, fighting such problems becomes difficult. Moreover, while this might not highlight the effects at a young age but in the long run, the body will suffer. Therefore, developing healthy eating habits especially when it comes to lunch is important.
Foods to avoid
While we have discussed what a healthy lunch looks like, it is necessary that we mention the foods to avoid as well. To begin with, highly processed foods and alcohol should be completely avoided. Munching on hamburgers with carbonated drinks will only make the day worst.
At the same time, red and processed meat such as hot dogs is not the ideal choice for lunch. Substitute such food items with fruits and vegetables that will keep you going for the rest of the day.
Healthy Lunch Recipes To Try
Chipotle Veggie Burritos
- Cilantro – 1 Bunch, Chopped
- Garlic – 1 Clove
- Chipotle Chile Powder – 1/2 Tsp
- Kosher Salt
- White Rice – 1 Cup
- Black Bean Soup – 1 15-Ounce Can
- Frozen Chopped Spinach – 1 10-Ounce Thawed, And Squeezed Dry
- Frozen Corn – 2 Cups, Thawed
- Tomato – 1 Large, Diced
- Lime Juice – 1 Lime
- Flour Tortillas – 4 Burrito-Size
- Pepper Jack Cheese – 2 Cups, Shredded
- Puree all but 3 tbsp cilantro with chili powder, garlic, salt, and water in a blender until they make a smooth mixture. Now transfer it to a medium saucepan with the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and cover the saucepan. Cook it for 18 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Now uncover, stir and leave it for minutes to cool.
- Meanwhile, bring the black bean soup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook it for 3 minutes until liquid is reduced. Now add spinach and return to the boil. Remove it from the heat and keep it warm.
- Combine cilantro, lime juice, tomato, corn, and chili powder to taste in a large bowl.
- In a dry skillet or microwave, heat the tortillas. Divide bean mixture, rice, and cheese among tortillas. You can use corn sauce for garnishing. Fold in the bottom of the tortilla, then fold in the sides and roll-up.
- Serve the chipotle veggie burritos with the remaining corn sauce.
Tex-Mex Chicken Quinoa
- Salsa – 2 Tbsp
- Cumin – 1/2 Tsp, Ground
- Chili Powder – 1/4 Tsp
- Salt And Pepper – Freshly Ground
- Olive Oil – 1 Tsp
- Red Onion – 1/4 Cup, Diced
- Chicken – 1/2 Cup, Cooked, Roughly Chopped
- Quinoa – 1/2 Cup, Cooked
- Black Beans – 1/4 Cup
- Combine red onion and oil in a large cup or small bowl.
- Microwave it for 1 to 2 minutes until softened.
- Now add beans, quinoa, chicken, chili powder, cumin, salsa, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Stir the ingredients for a perfect mix and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
- You can use ingredients of your choice to serve it on a national health lunch day.
Nordic Shrimp Toast
- Whole Coriander Seed – 1 Tsp, Toasted
- Fresh Dill Fronds – 1/4 Cup, Fresh, 2 Sprigs
- Lemon – 1, Zested and Halved
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper – Freshly Ground
- Shrimp – 8 Ounces, Small, Tails Removed, Deveined, Peeled
- Cream Cheese – 1/2 Cup
- 2 Percent Greek Yogurt – 1/2 Cup
- Pumpernickel Bread – 4 Sliced, Toasted
- Persian Cucumber – 1, Thinly Sliced into Half Moons
- Radishes – 3, Thinly Sliced into Half Moons
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add half lemon zest, sprigs of dill, cilantro, and salt and pepper. Boil it for a minute and remove the pot from the heat. Now add prawns and cover the pan. Let the shrimp stand and cook it for 2 minutes until cooked through. Drain the prawns and cool them in ice water. Once cooled, remove and dry them. Make sure you refrigerate them until use.
- Chop 2 tbsp of dill leaves and them into a small bowl with the juice of the half lemon and remaining zest. Now add yogurt and cream cheese to the bowl and stir to combine. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the slice of toast.
- Place as many shrimps as possible flat between 2 plastic deli container lids. Make sure the tops of the caps should face each other. With a clenched fist, press down on the top lid to hold the shrimp in place. Place a sharp knife between the narrow opening of plugs and cut the shrimp in half using a sawing motion. Repeat it with the remaining shrimp. Also, you can use a cutting board as an alternative.
- Arrange the shrimp, radish, and cucumber in a decorative overlapping row. Sprinkle dill leaves on each toast and serve it on a national health lunch day.
Savory Artichoke Feta Quiche
- Eggs – 3, Extra Large
- 2% Milk – 1 Cup
- Artichoke Hearts – 1/2 Can (14 Oz.), Drained and Roughly Chopped
- Feta Cheese – 1/4 Cup, Crumbled
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes – 2 Tbsp, Chopped
- Turkey Or Chicken Sausage – 2 Links, Cooked
- Kosher Salt – 3/4 Tsp
- Pepper – Cracked, To Taste
- Frozen Pie Crust – 1
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Beat the eggs until frothy and add milk, sausage, tomatoes, feta, artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into the crust.
- Place the crust in the oven and bake them for 45 minutes until the eggs are completely set. Insert a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean, it means they are ready. Also, when the top is lightly browned, they are ready.
- Refrigerate them for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad
Who doesn’t love avocados, but how to prepare avocados? You can use the blade carefully around the pit or slice or dice to spoon out the soft flesh.
- Chicken – 12 Oz., Cooked
- Arugula – 12 Cups
- Cranberries – 1/4 Cup, Dried
- Avocado – 1, Pitted, Sliced, And Peeled
- Goat Cheese – 1/4 Cup, Crumbled
- Walnuts – 1/4 Cup, Roughly Chopped
- Honey – 1/4 Cup, Mustard Vinaigrette
- Salt And Black Pepper – To Taste
- Combine goat cheese, avocado, cranberries, arugula, chicken, vinaigrette, walnuts, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Use 2 forks or hands to mix the ingredients well.
- Serve with your favorite garnishing or the ingredients of the salad would be enough for garnishing.
National Healthy Lunch Day – Make Your Lunch Healthier
A healthy lunch is a meal that usually and mostly consists of fresh fruits and vegetables and limits the intake of unhealthy food items. If you are someone who has developed the habit of consuming unhealthy meals at lunch, it might be a bit difficult to substitute them for fresh fruits and vegetables initially. However, think of it as an investment. The better the investment, the better will be the outcome, which is a healthier body in the long run.
Try various healthy lunch recipes to enjoy national health lunch day. But good ideas for healthy lunches are like gold. Make your lunch healthier with vitamin and mineral-rich diets in the middle of a busy workday. Good healthy lunch recipes are easy to make and they focus on keeping you full all afternoon. Instead of just using them on national health lunch days, make them a part of your daily lunch diet.