Office lunches are a dilemma so many people face. Especially if you are concerned about your health, eating the thailay ki biryani or bun kababs each day make you squirm. Besides being unhealthy and unhygienic, they are often too heavy. We all resolve to take something healthy from home every day but the problem arises when it comes to the preparation. It takes a whole lot of motivation from yourself to yourself to make a lunch!
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A good lunch should be light yet fulfilling, healthy and easy to prepare. Here we have compiled a few healthy lunches that will not take forever to prepare, you can take more than one of these, if you like:
- Fruits: fruits are always my first resort. They are healthy and something you don’t have to sit down or take out time to eat and, the best part, you don’t have to do any prior preparation. Fruits provide you with fiber and vitamins but not proteins. We would suggest that you take one of the following lunch options along with a fruit.
- Sandwiches: there is a great range of sandwiches that can be made within two to three minutes, if you do a little preparation the night before. Keep boiled chicken or eggs, shred them and store them. For sandwiches, mix the chicken or egg with a teaspoon of mayonnaise (preferably homemade) and toss in a few peas, corns and/or olives. This makes a healthy lunch in terms of nutrition. It gives you fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals without being too heavy.
- Chickpea chaat: being true Pakistanis, we all crave for spicy foods. Chana chaat is a healthy and easy way to satisfy hunger pangs, taste buds and health concerns. Boil chickpeas beforehand. In the morning just toss in diced onions, tomatoes and green chilies, sprinkle salt and spices according to your taste and drizzle some lemon juice; and your lunch is ready. This palatable lunch is full of proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but no fat at all!
- Salad: generally, we do not recommend a plate of salad greens for lunch every day, except if you can tweak it to add some proteins to it. Make a salad with three or more of the following: sliced cucumber, tomato, radishes, boiled corns, salad leaves, olives or whichever vegetables you like. Add in half a cup of boiled red kidney beans or slices of a boiled egg to it. For taste enhancement, we might suggest some lemon juice or spices, but that is a matter of personal preference. This makes for a complete lunch which will give you proteins, vitamins, fiber, and minerals for an active day and a healthy life in the long run.
- Fruit yogurt: this is a personal favourite. If you are somebody who likes to go for very light meals, this is just the right thing for you. Mash any of the seasonal fruits like strawberries, bananas, peaches, mangoes or any other and add them to a cup of yogurt. This is much more economical and reliable than store-bought fruit yogurt. This meal may be light on stomach but isn’t light when it comes to nutrients. Yogurt is almost a complete meal in itself with its good quantities of proteins and calcium. Addition of fruits add fiber, vitamins and antioxidants to your diet.
- Potato cutlets: let’s admit, more than half the Pakistani population loves potatoes and no list of foods for us can ever be complete without a potato dish. Here, we are adding potato cutlets. But we do not recommend an intake of a deep fried, only-potato cutlet. For a healthier option, mash potatoes with a small piece of boiled, shredded chicken or a boiled egg and vegetables like peas or corn, sprinkle salt and spices and make your cutlets. You may also add beans to your cutlets. Do NOT deep fry them, but bake them. If you do not have a baking facility, shallow fry them. These cutlets tend to provide you with proteins, vitamins, minerals and some amounts of fat.
- Pasta: Pakistanis rarely like traditional mac n’ cheese, instead they alter it according to their taste buds. Mostly they are made with excessive white sauce and cheese. Well, the sad news is you will have to cut down on both of these. Every time you want to take pasta, you can boil whole wheat pasta and a small piece of chicken side by side. Shred the chicken, mix with pasta, add in olives and pizza sauce. U may add a table spoon of shredded cheese on top. You may make pizza sauce and store it in refrigerator for your ease. This dish is likely to give you fiber, vitamins and proteins, and calcium if you add cheese.
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These are only a few of the options. The list is huge. Once you start with this, let your creative juices flow and let them guide you in the way of health.