Making the time to put together a healthy lunch before you head out the door for work or school can be a challenge. A lot of the time we end up grabbing an unhealthy frozen dinner from the freezer, or we suck it up and buy something to eat on campus or nearby the office. Before you even realize it, these last-minute meals can end up packing on the pounds.
Weight loss has been identified as the number one goal of Red River College staff members who have signed up for a Personal Wellness Plan as part of the “One” initiative, and a big part of trimming pounds includes a healthy diet. If we put in the effort to make our own lunches, it’s easier to control what types of foods we’re eating rather than being motivated by hunger into choosing less-healthier options just to satisfy our hunger.
The simplest lunches are meals that can be made the night before and packed up in a container, which is easy to grab and go in the morning – like this easy salad from Best Health Magazine:
Tangy Noodle Salad
1/2 1-lb (454-g) package broad rice noodles
2 baby carrots, finely sliced
Small handful broccoli florets, blanched until tender (about 2 minutes)
1-in. (2.5-cm) length English cucumber, finely sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, finely sliced
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Large handful fresh coriander, minced
Small handful crushed peanuts
Dressing: Combine 1 Tbsp (15 mL) mango chutney, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce, 2 tsp (10 mL) sesame oil and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange juice.
Directions: boil the noodles until cooked and then drain, and let cool. Add noodles to chopped vegetables and toss with half the dressing. Pack the remaining dressing (and peanuts) with your lunch to add when you sit down to eat.
This salad is great because it can be switched up based on what types of foods you have already at home. Don’t have rice noodles? You can substitute vermicelli noodles, or whole wheat angel hair pasta instead. If you want to increase protein, add sliced cooked chicken or tofu.
Want more great healthy lunch ideas? Check out more recipes from Best Health Magazine and Eating Well. If you have any great mid-day meals that have worked for you in the past, let us know on the blog by sharing your recipes with us!
Submitted by Hayley Brigg, Creative Communications student