I’m on a mission to feel better and have more energy and so far, it’s working! I have been doing yoga on a regular basis and fitting a little running in when time allows, but mostly, I’ve been making healthier food choices. Over the last few years, I have fallen into a bad habit of letting lunchtime get the best of me. We homeschool so we can exercise healthy food choices, but we don’t always do it. Some days we are knee-deep in schoolwork and don’t allow for a real lunch break. We eat while discussing our latest math concept or history timeline. That’s not always a bad thing, but doing these things over sandwiches and chips is not so great.
I’m not knocking sandwiches. They are what you make them. For the chips, I have no strong argument. I will say, there was a time in my life I didn’t eat chips. I never even bought them. Five years ago, after discovering the need to eat a gluten-free diet, I began substituting the wheat snack crackers I once enjoyed with chips. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. It wasn’t thinking about the extra fat and empty calories until the extra pounds began layering themselves on my person. It isn’t a daily thing, but I put chips on my plate more often than I care to admit and my thighs are angry about it. They’re not gonna take it anymore! (You’re singing Twisted Sister in your head right now, aren’t you? Sorry.)
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Paying attention to the days I feel great and back-tracking to link the glory days to food choices, I have come up with a list of easy and tasty, gluten-free lunch choices. Since I want us all to feel great because feeling great leads to being happy and being happy leads to being nice to others, I’m sharing some healthy lunch ideas with you! If we all feel great and become better people, maybe it will cause a butterfly effect and ripple all way to the worn-torn countries of the Middle East and Africa. It could happen!
Achieving world peace one healthy choice at a time! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
Healthy Lunch Options
Vegan Power Greens Salad
One of my go-to lunches is one of the easiest to accomplish (go figure). For this salad, I pile organic greens (spinach, kale and chard) in a big bowl. I throw in whatever veggies I have on hand. The usual suspects are sliced radishes, shredded carrots, red cabbage and cucumbers. I top it with sliced avocado and whatever fruit or berries that are in season. Spicy mango salsa is one of my favorite toppings as well as homemade raspberry vinaigrette. Sprinkle on some toasted sunflower seeds and dig in. All the goodies piled on top make this a filling and satisfying lunch. You won’t miss the meat or cheese! Eat at least one vegan meal a day. Your body will thank you for it. Pinky promise!
I bowl of fruit gazpacho drizzled with Valentina hot sauce is one of my favorite foods on this planet. I love it! I would marry it if I were single.
The Big Salad
This is the Power Greens salad from above, but with toppings galore. Pan-seared tofu, a chopped vegan burger patty or sliced hard-boiled egg provide extra protein after a workout to help your muscles recover and grow. Marinated feta is a delicious topping for this salad since it doubles as the dressing. The salad below has roasted acorn squash seasoned with cumin, chili powder and garlic with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing made with coconut yogurt. So easy and so delicious!
A smoothie for lunch is a great way to get the nutrients you need when you are on the go. Add whatever fruit, berries and a handful of greens and sweeten with honey, if desired. Add a little flaxseed oil or flaxseed meal for omega-3’s with a splash of carrot juice and milk of choice (coconut, soy, hemp, flax) then blend. I’m behind the times and have an old blender. Because the blender attachment fits on a regular-mouth mason jar, I just pack all the ingredients in the jar then blend and drink from the same jar. This is the reason I keep talking myself out of getting a new fancy-schmancy blender. That, and the clams I’d have to shell out to buy one.
Brown Bag Lunch
Sometimes lunch is eaten away from home and a lunch-to-go is necessary. Whether it’s 4H that keeps us on the go, a busy errand-filled day or co-op eventually, we still gotta eat! Some healthy lunches for the cooler include a piece of fresh fruit, a salad in a jar or in EasyLunchboxes containers, carrot sticks, granola bars, dried fruit, vegan triple chocolate cookies, nuts and seeds and a bottle of water or two. Never underestimate how much water you need during the day. Chances are that it’s more than you drink!
When IKEA announced its new vegan meatballs, it got my mouth watering and my stomach lead me to concocting a vegan meatball recipe that is perfect for forming a burger patty! The beauty of the vegan burgers is that they keep well in the fridge or the freezer. I can make a whole recipe and pull them out and warm them up when needed. Serve them like a traditional burger, or chop up a patty to top off a salad. The burger patties are very filling and satisfying.
Use one egg and one egg white, or all egg whites for a lighter version. Scramble the eggs with a 2 tablespoons of water. Fill the omelette with sautéed greens and mushrooms. Top with shredded cheese and serve with a side of fruit.
Like an omelette, crepes can be stuffed with all sorts of fillings. To keep it clean, stick with sautéed veggies. A fruit-filled crêpe dusted with powdered sugar is a healthy sweet option. Crepes can easily be made gluten-free. If you’re feeling naughty fill it with Meyer lemon cream, but only for a special treat. That’s what I did in the picture below. Then I had to go run a couple of miles to burn off that goodness. Don’t be like me.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! What are some of your favorite healthy lunches? Please share!
For more inspiration for healthy eating, please visit my Fit Foodies Pinterest Board.