Just because you’re active doesn’t mean that you should head to the nearest fast-food restaurant for lunch every day. Not only are those foods not good for you, but they can also quickly derail your diet and exercise plan. They’re full of bad calories and ingredients.
Instead, you need a lunch that fits into your healthy lifestyle. Looking for some inspiration? These healthy lunch ideas from the experts at My Fit Foods are designed for active adults, and they all taste amazing. Check them out below.
Healthy Lunch Components
Putting together a healthy lunch means including a number of different foods that can be found on the food pyramid. Consider adding some of the following to your lunch:
- Vegetables – There are many different ways to incorporate vegetables into your lunch. Consider a side of steamed broccoli, some roasted asparagus, or even a leafy green salad recipe. You can also mix low-calorie veggies with cut-up leftover chicken breasts to make a healthy chicken salad If you prefer finger foods in your lunch box, some red peppers and slices of cucumber alongside a healthy dip is another option for busy days when you don’t have time for a lunch recipe.
- Fruit – Although your main meal shouldn’t consist of just fruit, since you need a lunch that’s a little more well-rounded, feel free to incorporate fresh fruit in one way or another. For example, some crispy apple slices with peanut butter dip on the side make a great dessert.
- Dairy – Few things go better with a healthy lunch than cheese. Whether you prefer cheddar cheese, mozzarella, Colby jack, or something a little sharper and distinctive, like blue cheese, is up to you. There’s always the option of egg salad or a grilled cheese sandwich as well. Why not find a way to add cheese slices or snack-sized pieces into an easy recipe for lunch?
- Meat – If you eat meat, then you more than likely want to have some at lunchtime. (If you don’t, there are plenty of other options, like Impossible meat, mushrooms, and more that will provide a little boost of protein.) Lunchmeat isn’t always the best option because it’s heavily processed and very salty. However, you can find low-salt varieties or even steer clear of lunchmeat entirely by using meat sliced off a chicken or turkey breast.
- Whole Grains – There’s no hard and fast rule that says you need to include whole grains in your lunches. However, if you want to, look for slices of bread to make sandwiches or even whole grain crackers to pair with your cheese. You can also incorporate whole grains into your meal prep by making pasta salad, lasagna, or whole wheat pesto pasta
- Nuts – Nuts tend to come pre-salted, which means that they aren’t the best, but in small amounts, feel free to indulge. Pack a handful of almonds to serve as a side dish to your main lunch entrée, or use them to provide you with the protein that you’d normally find in a piece of meat if you prefer a vegetarian or vegan lunch.
- Legumes – Chickpeas, lentils, and the many other legumes are packed with protein and countless other nutrients. Many legumes fit well into easy lunch ideas, such as a Mediterranean chickpea salad or a chicken wrap with feta and chickpeas.
While there are a few healthy suggestions listed above, there are plenty of others to consider. Keep reading to discover a bunch of healthy lunch ideas for active adults.
Healthy Lunch Ideas
When it comes to putting together a school lunch for college or a work lunch for the office, you need to find a balance between all of the possible inclusions listed above. You don’t want to eat just fruit or even a simple (boring) sandwich of meat and bread. Consider getting creative and making one of these lunch ideas.
1. A Bento Box
Taking an idea from Asian cuisine and turning it into a somewhat classic American lunch is pretty easy to do. Bento boxes come with a lid and have their main compartment separated into smaller segments. The whole idea is that you fill those sections with foods that you can eat with your hands.
Wondering what to include? Some nuts, a few pieces of fruit, some veggies with dip, and even rolled-up slices of meat are all good ideas and will provide you with a well-rounded meal. You can also place crackers, grapes, chunks of cheese, and more in the sections of your bento box.
2. Turkey Sandwich With a Twist
What’s better than a standard turkey sandwich? One that contains a twist that no one quite expected. This tasty lunch starts with two pieces of whole grain bread and some low-salt turkey lunch meat.
Place the turkey slices on one piece of bread, top them with some cheese (medium cheddar works well), and then for the twist: some thin slices of apple. Place the other piece of bread on top and you have a well-rounded sandwich that also tastes great.
3. Wrap Sandwiches
Every meal is more fun when it consists of a wrap sandwich. Consisting of a simple flour (or gluten-free) tortilla or flatbread wrap with an interesting filling, these sandwiches can be served alongside vegetables, fruit, or any other type of side dish.
Need some inspiration? A combination of rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, low-cal mayonnaise, and your choice of cheese makes for a good wrap. You can also make that sandwich spicy, simply substituting buffalo sauce for the mayo. Feel free to experiment with different meats, cheeses, toppings, and sauces until you end up with a combo that you love.
4. Everything Salad
Called an everything salad, because it, well, includes a bit of everything, like bell peppers, shredded cheese, a hard boiled egg, Italian deli meat, and even some thinly chopped walnuts, this salad will keep you full for the rest of the afternoon. You can always add some pita on the side as well for a Greek-style add-on.
Include an array of shredded lettuces, such as a mix of Boston, romaine, iceberg, and leaf lettuce. Add some shredded carrots, mushrooms, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and just about anything else that you can think of, like sprouts.
The more that you add, the better that this salad will taste! As far as dressing is concerned, choose a vinaigrette or even make your own.
5. Tuna Salad With Some Extras
What’s better than having high-protein, low-carb tuna salad for lunch? Making your own and adding some tasty ingredients to it for extra flavor and nutrition. Start with a single can of tuna and a can of cannellini beans. Drain both cans and mix them together in a bowl.
Add some cooked orzo noodles, some chopped-up spinach and basil, a little diced red onion, some parmesan cheese, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Top with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Now you have a meal worthy of an active adult!
6. Tortilla Rolls
For a meal that’s easy to assemble (and can be made ahead of time) check out these tortilla rolls. Start with a flat tortilla, and spread on some hummus before sprinkling on black beans, black olives, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. Roll up the tortillas and slice them in half before serving. Another option consists of refried beans instead of hummus. The choice is yours!
Active adults need a well-rounded and healthy lunch to help them power through the day. Whether you prefer to focus on plenty of vegetables, like to eat sandwiches, or love the bento box idea, these meals will keep your diet and exercise regimen on track (without making you feel like you’ve deprived yourself of food).
Need more awesome lunch suggestions? Contact us with your questions. At My Fit Foods, we have no shortage of ideas!