Lunch Hour? Try These Power-Packed, Light-On-The-Tummy Dishes
For lunch, it is important that we give our body some high-quality fuel-mix to boost our energy level and productivity at work. That is why, grabbing a cup of coffee and a pastry and calling that a meal does not work!
Now everyone gets a lunch hour, and we must make optimum use of it. First, some basic rules:
- Keep lunch light (about 500 calories or less)
- Keep it low fat to fuel your energy without leaving you drowsy in the afternoon
- Make it a quick-eat kind of a meal
- Ideally, always combine protein and carbohydrate-rich foods, as eating just a high carb meal (like a potato sandwich) will raise levels of serotonin, which will leave you feeling sluggish. In contrast, a combination meal will raise levels of another chemical called norepinephrine, which increases alertness and mental clarity and maintains blood sugar and energy levels. Example: grilled fish with a whole wheat slice of bread.
Wondering what to make and take along to office? Choose from some of these brilliant options!
1. Aloo Chaat
Make a mixed fruit and aloo-chaat with boiled aloo or sweet potato (shakarkandi), guava, cucumber, and pomegranate seeds. Add a good handful of boiled chana, a splash of yogurt for protein, and tamarind paste for tang. Sprinkle with some sunflower seeds. Chill and pack to take along. This is quick to put together and is delicious.
2. Fish Love
Mix tinned tuna and chopped apples (or pears). Season lightly and pair with crudites (cucumbers, carrots, more apples, radish, water chestnuts (singhara). Add some roasted makhanas for crunch!
3. Eat Some Beans
Steam a handful of French beans. Boil some channa, rajma and kala channa soaked overnight. Get some cube cucumber, boiled potato, and apple. Toss in lemon juice and add a fistful of raisins and a boiled egg. Whisk together with one tbsp olive oil, juice of a lemon, one teaspoon vinegar, a dash of mustard, and a clove of mashed garlic. Let the dressing sit for a while to allow the flavors to infuse, then pour over the beans and fruits. Tear up a few leaves, fresh lettuce, and add to the rest of the ingredients.
4. Sprouts and Roots Salad
Place sprouts — one boiled and diced potato, a shredded carrot, a small sliced onion, a small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, half diced radish, two chilies sliced — in a bowl. Add to one cup hung yoghurt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Lay out a layer of lettuce in a platter and spoon over the salad.
5. The Good Old Sandwich
Make a sandwich using whole wheat bread with either of these dips:
- Take half cup walnuts, one cup hung curd, mint, coriander, a couple of garlic flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Blend all the ingredients into a paste.
- Boil spinach. Chop it fine with the kitchen scissors. Mix it in a bowl of thick yogurt. Temper with half tsp of mustard seeds and two green chilies in a spoon of oil. The taste is divine!
- Make a paneer and fruit sandwich. Take thin slices of brown bread, fill them with mashed and lightly seasoned paneer placed under slices of mango/melon/strawberries. Add some sliced red pepper too.
6. Burger Delight — Dal Burger!
Soak 30 grams chana dal. Grind it, add finely chopped 20 gm onion, spices, 30 grams boiled potato or steamed cauliflower, shape it like a pattie and air fry. Place in between burger buns with some sliced cucumber and coleslaw.
7. Spinach and Egg Burger
Heat two tsp oil, add 1 quartered tomato and 2 cloves of sliced garlic, cook for about 4 minutes. Place in a bowl. In the same pan, add 1 tsp oil, 1 cup spinach leaves, a pinch of red pepper flakes and half chopped onion. Saute till the spinach is tender. Now arrange it in the pan, scatter blistered tomatoes over it, season with salt and pepper. Pour one beaten egg, stir and scramble. Place in between the burger bun and dig in.
8. One Pot Meal: Chicken and Mushrooms
Sauté chopped garlic, sliced onion, sliced mushrooms and add pureed tomatoes. Put in sautéed boneless chicken strips. Season with salt, herbs, pepper. Add water. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the chicken is done. Add a few strips of capsicum and cook for another minute.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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