Easy Energy Boosting Lunches
By Shannon Crocker MSc RD, Vibrant Nutrition Communications
Working from home, home-schooling kids or going to a workplace, no matter what your weekday looks like, lunch needs to be quick and easy! It should also give you a boost of energy so you can power through a busy afternoon.
The key to feeling invigorated — instead of sluggish — after lunch is to eat a light, energizing meal filled with nutrient-rich foods like veggies, whole grains and high quality protein foods like lean turkey.
Tips to Build a Better Sandwich
One of the simplest (and tastiest!) ways to package up those veggies, whole grains
and turkey — a sandwich!
Sandwiches sometimes get a bad nutritional wrap, but they can be a healthy option when you build them better:
- Choose a whole grain or authentic sourdough bread
- Layer on lots of veggies for crunch, flavour and fibre to fill you up
- Add lean protein to keep you energized and satisfied all afternoon
- Spread condiments on lightly for a little flavour razzle dazzle
Not big on bread? Make any sandwich into a salad or nourish bowl with extra veggies and whole grains like brown rice or barley.
Lunch is Ready in Five Minutes!
The best strategy for a speedy lunch: do a minimal amount of meal prep on the weekend so sandwich ingredients are ready to go.
Here are three simple meal prep strategies that take about half an hour on Sunday so you can make weekday lunches in a jiffy:
- Cook a turkey breast or two, slice and refrigerate for sandwiches. I do this while I’m prepping veggies, writing my week’s to-do list or chilling out in front of Netflix on Sunday night. Easy peasy!
- Prep veggies: wash lettuce and cut a few days worth of veggies for sides to go with your sandwich.
- Slice whole grain bread or buns and store in the freezer
Three Super Sandwich Recipes
While sandwiches are a long-time standard lunchbox option, that doesn’t mean they need to be same-old-same-old. Create your own turkey sandwich combo with ingredients you love.
If you need some sandwich inspiration, here are three snazzy sandwiches that will have you craving healthy:
- Reinvent leftovers for lunch. Make this Grilled Turkey Scallopini with Dijon Sauce for dinner and double the turkey so you have enough for Grilled Scallopini Sandwiches with Pickled Vegetables.
- A warm grilled sandwich on a cold November day is the ultimate comfort food. This one is made even better with the tasty addition of roasted turkey breast. This Turkey Grilled Cheese with a steamy cup of tomato soup will have you raring to go for any virtual meeting.
- Make the cilantro chutney the night before so you can enjoy this flavour-packed Turkey Sandwich with Mumbai Inspired Cilantro Chutney for a weekday lunch — your taste buds will thank you!
My go-to turkey sandwich combo: whole grain sourdough bread with roasted turkey, romaine lettuce for crunch, arugula for a peppery bite, sliced tomato, mashed avocado (slices tend to slip off!), a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. I add a handful of crunchy carrot and celery sticks on the side.