In need of greens? Healthy lunch options for anti-salad eaters
Lunchtime rolls around, and you already had a bacon egg and cheese for breakfast. Your body literally needs something healthy, but it’s 45 degrees out and raining, so you’d much rather have warm, filling comfort food over an underwhelming and overpriced salad.
With enough creativity and just a few kitchen skills, you’d be surprised at how many healthy lunch options exist that don’t involve leafy greens and balsamic vinegar. “Lettuce” turn your Instagram into a healthy food blog and try out some of these delicious anti-salad recipes and snack ideas.
This brunch classic is featured on the menu of virtually every trendy cafe out there, so many people don’t realize you can make this meal in less than 5 minutes. Avocados contain more protein than bananas and are loaded with fiber and heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats. Skipped breakfast this morning? Everything’s better with an egg on top. With pretty red cayenne, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, homemade avocado toast will easily feel gourmet.
Also known as zucchini noodles, this pasta imposter is actually quite satisfying. Raw and packed with C, B6 and K vitamins, noodles provide nutrients and are also very versatile, just like real spaghetti. Add in fruits and vegetables, such as avocado and tomatoes, or add a protein, such as spinach, top it off with pesto sauce and you’ve got yourself a filling but still carb-free lunch. If you’re looking to treat yourself, sprinkle the dish with grated Parmesan cheese.
Another versatile lunch option is pizza as the topping options are endless. This isn’t your typical greasy slice though: take a whole wheat slice of flatbread or pita and top with practically anything you’d eat on a pizza: tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, such as mozzarella, swiss or feta, plenty of vegetables and possibly pineapple-- if you’re into that sort of thing. When looking for a filling meal, always opt for whole grain bread as it provides fiber and keeps you fuller longer compared to white bread.
Although probably not as good as Chipotle, a homemade version is a great way to get a food-pyramid approved meal. Always use brown rice as a base, add beans for protein and any combination of vegetables you please. This 30-minute meal is nutrient-rich, super-filling and meal-prep friendly. Make in the morning or the night before and heat up in the microwave for a delicious desk lunch.
Sweet Potato Chips
Everyone’s guilty pleasure is potato chips, but the ones from the vending machine are oily, salty and an “empty calorie” snack as they provide pretty much no nutritional value and don’t keep you full. Although they contain the same amount of carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are often seen as the regular potato’s healthier sibling, since they contain more fiber and have a richer taste than the white potato. Sweet potatoes are readily available and extremely affordable, which makes them a fun ingredient to DIY with. Slice, dice and toss the potatoes into some olive oil and pop them in the oven on a baking tray. Once cooked, pack the chips in sandwich baggies for a homemade snack you bring to class.
See, healthy doesn’t always equal salad. Of course, we suggest you incorporate leafy greens into your meals, but there are other ways to enjoy them besides cold, raw and dressed in oil.