You have heard it many times before; eating a proper lunch is an important part of your day. The majority of us work an eight hour shift. That eight hour shift requires; energy, concentration, communication, and so much more. In order to be as productive as you can be, you need to feed yourself.
Always remember, food = fuel. Without the proper nutrients, your body will not function at an optimal level. It's a simple thought, yet majority of people do not get the proper nutrients they need to keep their body and mind active.
What's one of the easiest things to pack for lunch? Sandwiches tend to come to mind. They're quick to make, easy to eat, versatile, and delicious. So what makes up a good sandwich?
By definition, a sandwich is; a light meal that contains of two pieces of bread, with meat, cheese or other fillings. The definition is broad, but the possibilities are endless. So what makes up a good sandwich for work?
- Bread: Start training yourself to stay away from white bread. You are not doing your body any favours by consuming breads that are made with highly refined and processes ingredients. Some people know how to make bread, this is an excellent option. You can make a wide variety; honey and oatmeal for instance. The majority don't make their own bread, so what should you purchase? Whole grain breads are the best. Complex carbohydrates (found in whole grain items) are crucial for your; energy levels, mood, and overall body function. If you are on a gluten-free diet, make a lettuce wrap. You can include all your favourite sandwich fillings, rolled up in a large leaf of lettuce.
- Fillings: There are so many great vegetarian sandwiches options. Falafel wraps for instance are a great lunch idea. If you love the kitchen, why not make a batch? You can always freeze them, so that they're ready for when you need them. Most people will want some meat on their sandwich. Try to stick to leaner options, and more natural pieces of meat. Most deli meat has been highly processed. Your body will benefit more from fresh chicken than sliced deli chicken. If you had a roasted chicken from the night before, use some of the leftovers for a sandwich. Choosing fish options such as tuna or salmon, are also great ways to consume healthy omega fats. These are highly beneficial, especially for your brain. Your brain tends to come in handy at work, so treat it right. Jam as many healthy vegetables as you can into your sandwich. Opt for dark leafy greens; they provide you with multiple nutrients. Vegetables will not only give your sandwich more nutrients, they add flavour and texture.
- Spreads/Sauces: You need something on your sandwich so that it's not dry. The first things that people reach for are generally; butter and mayonnaise. It is time to move away from these options. They do not provide your body with any benefits. Start thinking outside the butter box. Choose a mustard made with natural ingredients. Mustard seed has so many benefits, including; slowing down the aging process, aiding in muscle pain, weight-loss, lowering cholesterol, and much more. Another great addition is a salsa. If you have a turkey sandwich, a hot salsa adds great flavour and moisture.
If you've been living off peanut butter sandwiches, it's time to give your sandwich ideas a makeover. Here are a couple ideas for sandwiches:
Hummus Wrap: Take a whole grain wrap, and pack it with beneficial ingredients. Spread a hearty helping of hummus on your wrap (no need for butter here). Then pack it with your favourite ingredients; red onion, lettuce, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, and whatever else you like. You can even grill some vegetables ahead of time to give it a nice flavour. The hummus is made from chickpeas, which is high in protein. There is no need for meat when you're eating spoonfuls of hummus. Hummus will help you control your hunger, so that you can focus on your work tasks and not your rumbling tummy.
Turkey and Avocado: Turkey is lean and high in protein. If you can, try and purchase higher quality meat. It will taste better and provide you with more nutrients. Turkey, avocado, red onion and cucumber are great together. You can even mash up the avocado a little bit with some greek yogurt. This will add more creaminess to your sandwich. Avocado is great because it provides; healthy fats, protein, low amounts of sugar, fibre and more. Most of us do not own a panini press, but any grill press will work (e.g. a George Foreman grill). Throw your sandwich in the press for a few minutes. Although your sandwich will not be hot when you eat it, it will have a nice toasted exterior.
Vietnamese Style Sandwich: The flavours of Vietnamese sandwiches are fresh and delicious. Why not try something different? Bánh mì sandwiches are traditionally served on a baguette, but you can transfer the flavours to any bread. You can use pork, chicken, fish or tofu. Add thinly sliced; carrots, radishes and cucumbers. You can pickle your carrots and radish (typically daikon), or have them raw. Add some fresh cilantro and hot sauce; you're good to go.
Sandwiches don't need to be boring. They should be exciting and offer your body something it can use. You work hard throughout your work day. It makes sense to stop and re-fuel. Get yourself into the habit of making sandwiches for work. You will get yourself into a routine; preparing components the night before. You don't need to eat peanut butter five times a week, start getting creative!