Quick Lunches for a Healthy Immune System
Cold and flu season is in full swing, kids are back in school after winter break, and everything might be feeling a little hectic. When your immune system is “stressed out,” you’re more likely to catch a bug. One of the best ways to boost your immune system and prevent disease is by eating healthy, and that doesn’t always have to be time consuming. Learn what tasty, nutritious elements make up a complete meal, and you’ll soon be packing quick and healthy lunches on the go.
Start with Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables should form the core of a healthy lunch. This is as easy as packing a piece of fruit (apples, oranges, and bananas travel well) as well as some sliced vegetables. Or, make a hearty vegetable sandwich with avocado, cucumber, grated carrot, and lettuce. A veggie-loaded soup from dinner the night before also travels easily in a thermos for lunch the next day. Whatever you choose, aim for at least one serving of fruit and vegetables to ensure you and your family members get enough vitamins and minerals each day.
Consider a Whole-Grain Option
Too often when we’re in a hurry, we resort to whatever is inexpensive, easy to make, and reasonably filling. While that basic approach is fine on occasion, it’s easy to make some simple switches for healthier lunches. Whenever possible, choose a whole-grain alternative instead of a simple carbohydrate. For example, choose whole-wheat bread over white bread, whole-wheat pasta over regular pasta, and barley or quinoa for grain salads.
Choosing whole grains gives your body sustained nutrients rather than a quick carbohydrate fix. This means you won’t be craving a snack within the hour. If you’re looking for other whole-grain ideas, try stir-fried vegetables with brown rice, shredded chicken tacos on whole-wheat tortillas, or a whole-grain roll with sliced chicken and avocado.
Add a Protein
Protein is a critical part of every lunch, because it makes you feel full longer. Many people automatically think of meat options, but there are plenty of healthy vegetarian proteins as well. Lentils, chickpeas, tofu, or peanut butter can be great options depending on your personal dietary restrictions. If you do choose animal proteins, opt for lean meats like chicken breasts, fish, eggs, or dairy products like cheese or yogurt. Protein-rich lunch ideas might include a Mediterranean grain salad with lentils, tomatoes, and feta cheese; sushi rolls with vegetables and chicken; a pita sandwich with hummus and vegetables; or sliced cheese on crackers.
Choose a Beverage
When it comes to making quick healthy lunches, beverages are often an afterthought. Unfortunately, that can leave you or your kids grabbing whatever is convenient at school or on the go. Because some lunchrooms stock up on sugary sodas, this can lead to bad choices. Instead, plan beverages thoughtfully. A carton of fat-free or low-fat milk is a protein-rich option that includes calcium to build strong bones. Water, juices with no added sugars, or iced tea (hold the sugar there, too!) are other smart options. Before choosing, check the nutrition labels carefully. Sports drinks, some juices, and diet soda often contain high amounts of sugar and other additives that can be harmful to your body.
Make Healthy Lunches Part of Your Daily Routine
It is important to always pack a healthy lunch regardless of what’s on the schedule that day. Nutritious lunches give you a mid-day boost of energy and the support your immune system needs. For more tips on how to boost your immune system and keep your family healthy, visit CareSpot Urgent Care online today.