Breakfast may be the “most important meal of the day,” but lunch is certainly a huge deal as well. A good, healthy lunch can help keep your energy levels high and prevent you from mindless mid-afternoon snacking later. But what would be considered the healthiest lunches to have? We reached out to a few registered dietitians and asked them their recommendations for the healthiest lunches you can possibly have.
Here are the meals they say are the best-of-the-best, and for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of the 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.
“One of the healthiest lunches you can have is grilled salmon over a colorful salad,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. “Salmon is high in protein which helps you to feel full and rich in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids (known as “good fats”). A colorful salad contains an assortment of veggies, which are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and the different colors ensure that you are getting a mix of different nutrients. I love a blend of romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, and cucumbers.”
“Did you know that seafood is one of the best dietary sources of animal protein? It’s packed with vital nutrients, such as heart-healthy omega-3s, and has less saturated fat and cholesterol than other protein options,” says Rima Kleiner MS, RD, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist at Dish on Fish. “Protein may help our brains recognize the hormone leptin, which helps us feel fuller longer and provides energy for our bodies.”
“I love putting veggies and grain bowl together because you can use up what you’ve got in the fridge and create endless variations,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN. “I like starting with a base of high fiber barley or quinoa and adding whatever colorful veggies I have on hand. This time of year it’s probably roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots, plus a bit of kimchee for probiotics and then a packet of tuna for high-quality protein. I like the ones from Bumble Bee because they come in tasty flavors like Thai Chili, they require no prep, and they offer important vitamins and minerals, like vitamin D (so important for winter!), iron, and selenium.”
“I am a huge fan of packing my lunch like you would your kid’s for school,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “One of my go-to’s is the ‘Adult Lunchable’ that includes cheese, whole grain crackers, grapes,…