5 Easy Nutritious Lunches

Want to get back into a healthy routine, but have a hard time coming up with lunch ideas? Below are 5 easy midday meals, that can be prepped and packed when heading into the office. If you are at home, these nutrient-dense meals can keep you full longer, making you less likely to sneak to the kitchen for mid-afternoon snacks.   

Beside the main ingredients are listed some of the important nutrients that food contains.[1] [2] This is not a complete list of all nutrients in each food, and it does not break down the specific amounts required for your age group and lifestyle. Instead, it provides you with a basic idea of

why you should include these healthy ingredient choices into your meals.

Salmon Sandwich

  • Multigrain bread with seeds: carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins*, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Baby spinach: vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, calcium, magnesium, and iron
  • Canned salmon (with the bones): omega-3 fats, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Lemon juice: vitamin C
    • Use lemon juice instead of mayonnaise when mixing salmon; you can even put the salmon, lemon juice and spinach together in a small electric blender for a restaurant-style-consistency.

Vegetarian Fajita

  • Multi-grain wrap with seeds: carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins*, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Mushrooms: B vitamins*, protein, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Sweet peppers: vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins*
    • Pan-fry mushrooms and peppers in a sugar-free salsa. If you make extra, this can also be used in an omelette for another meal.
  • Black beans: carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium
  • Plain Greek yogurt: probiotics, calcium, vitamin B12, as well as higher protein and less saturated fat than sour cream

Fresh Vegan Salad

  • Kale: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins* calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium
  • Tomatoes: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium
    • Use cherry tomatoes and save yourself the chopping time.
  • Sunflower seeds: omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, zinc
  • Chickpeas: protein, fiber, carbohydrates, B vitamins*, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium
  • Flax seed and balsamic dressing: omega-3 fatty acids

Chicken Teriyaki Bowl

  • Chicken: protein, vitamin B12, iron and zinc
  • Bok choy: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, B6 and calcium
  • Mushrooms: B vitamins*, protein, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium
    • Pan-fry the chicken, then add bok choy and mushrooms and teriyaki sauce to the pan.
  • Quinoa: carbohydrates, B vitamins*, vitamin E, folate and more protein than rice
    • Quinoa is cooked the same way as rice; it is easy to make a batch up one evening and then use for a few different meals.

Cold Plate

  • Hummus: protein, carbohydrates, B vitamins*, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium zinc, manganese, and selenium
  • Raw broccoli: vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins*, folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Raw sweet peppers: vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins*
  • Hard-boiled egg: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12
    • Boil eggs on the weekend and keep in the fridge for quick easy protein snacks or breakfast
  • Avocado: vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, B vitamins*, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium

Nutrient-dense foods contain a combination of a high amount of required nutrients, all in one food. By combining a few nutrient-dense foods together, you can be well on your way to providing your body with what it needs to make it through the day. Unfortunately, some vitamins are more difficult to find than others. For instance, vitamin D is only naturally found in fish, eggs (in hens which have been fed vitamin D) and in very small amounts in mushrooms.[3] There are also not any natural vegan sources of vitamin B12, as it is only available from animal products.[4]

There is no doubt that some weeks are more hectic than others, and it can be difficult to remember to prep healthy balanced meals. This is why taking a daily multi-vitamin can help to complete those missing vitamins, for days you may not be getting everything you need.

*B vitamins do not contain B12 unless specifically stated

[1] Haas EM. (2006). Staying Healthy With Nutrition, Rev: The Complete Guide To Diet And Nutritional Medicine. Berkeley CA: Celestial Arts.

[2] Nutrition Data. Accessed Aug 25, 2020 at: https://nutritiondata.self.com/

[3] Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Vitamin D. Accessed Aug 25, 2020 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D

[4] Dietitians of Canada. What you need to know about vitamin B12. Accessed Aug 25, 2020 at: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Vitamin-B12.aspx