When it comes to productivity in the afternoon, a balanced lunch is the most effective way to enhance energy levels. After all, energy derives from nutrition and this is especially true in the case of glucose.
In fact, recent studies show that improved grades are directly correlated with healthier lunch meals in schools across the United States.
In case you might be asking yourself, the above-mentioned report was carried out in more than one million schools and calculated using both the energy density and mean adequacy of the food.
However, these same principles also apply to adults and a healthy work lunch is the best way to improve productivity in the workplace.
Establishing a Healthy Work Lunch with the Right Food Groups
As you may know, a healthy lunch should include a sufficient amount of calories, calcium, iron, fiber, protein, and vitamins. With this in mind, the compartment lunch box is a convenient way to separate these food groups and keep them fresh until you reach the workplace.
However, we understand that coming up with a suitable work lunch plan can be tricky for some people and for this reason we have put together an example of a work lunch which you can easily recreate.
Using a Layer System for Lunch on the Move
If you have a compartment lunch box, you will be familiar with the design of this device and how it consists of several layers.
For this reason, the following work lunch is designed based on the three main layers and a “top floor” which is the upper section of a compartment lunch box.
Layer #1 – Blueberry and Spinach Salad
Layer #2 – Potato Salad
Layer #3 – Sandwiches
Top Floor – Mixed-berries and nuts
Layer 1 – Blueberry and Spinach Salad
The blueberry and spinach salad offers a light, crunchy and slightly sweet start to a healthy lunch.
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/5 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/5 cup olive oil
1 Cup of baby spinach
1/4 Cup of blueberries
1/4 Cup cucumber slices
A small handful of hazelnuts
1/4 avocado or 1 sliced boiled egg
Simply combine the mustard, salt, pepper, and honey in a small bowl and whisk one tablespoon of lemon juice into the mix. Next, you can begin adding the olive oil and continuing to whisk the mixture until the salad appears thick and emulsified.
Finally, you should season the salad with salt and pepper according to preference. When you have finished whisking this mixture, add the spinach, cucumber, hazelnuts, and blueberries in a medium-sized bowl.
At this point, the dressing can be drizzled over the salad and either sliced boiled eggs or avocado can be placed on the very top.
As you can see, this is a very straightforward salad to put together but for extra time and convenience, an egg cooker is an excellent device to have to hand when making a work lunch.
Layer #2 – Potato Salad
Potato Salad takes a little more time to prepare than the previous one but potatoes bring just the right amount of carbohydrates and another food group to a healthy work lunch.
1 Celery stick
1/2 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 Cup of mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon mustard
Firstly, you will need to sprinkle some salt into a large pot of water and place this pot on the stove. When the water is coming to the boil, chop the potatoes into cubes and leave them to cook for approximately eight minutes until they are soft in the center.
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While the potatoes are cooking, you can chop the tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and celery into small pieces and place them in a bowl with the mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard.
As the outcome of this salad is largely dependent on using the right ratios and measurements, using a digital measuring cup is recommended for the best results. Either way, once you have drained the water from this pot, remove the potatoes and add them to the salad.
Having boiled the eggs, these should also be peeled and sliced before folding them carefully into the salad. As with the blueberry and spinach salad, you can season with salt and pepper according to taste and then proceed to stir the mixture until it forms an even paste throughout.
Layer #3 – Sandwiches
Whole grain bread is especially high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals but more importantly, it tastes amazing! For this reason, using whole grain bread can bring further excitement to a healthy work lunch and the taste of the seeds is always complimentary to the other ingredients.
When it comes to the meat in this sandwich, feel free to choose tuna or a variety of cold meats but just know that pre-cooked chicken is the perfect companion to this particular recipe.
In many ways, it can be compared to a chicken Caesar salad but at the same time, you will see that we use Greek yogurt as a healthy replacement for mayonnaise
Firstly, you will need to dice all of the above ingredients and combine small pieces of chicken with the onion, apple, grapes, almonds, lemon juice and Greek yogurt in a large bowl.
You can now lightly whisk these ingredients and when the mixture is consistent, place lettuce on the pieces of whole grain bread and scoop this sublime mixture carefully onto the lettuce.
Needless to say, the bread for this sandwich should be small enough to fit inside the compartment lunch box but once inside, you can rest assured that your creation will stay suitably fresh.
Top Floor / Top Layer – Mixed Assortment of Berries / Nuts
Lastly, this is undoubtedly the easiest layer to put together and while you have many options for this one, there is certainly a very sweet and healthy favorite to squeeze into the upper layer.
Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are the quintessential sweets and the perfect dessert to compliment a salad in particular. If time allows, you can also create tasty syrup using a tablespoon of orange flavor liqueur, sprinklings of salt and some finely chopped mint leaves.
Either way, this mixed assortment can stay freshly sealed in a compartment lunch box and should finish off your healthy work lunch with a fresh twist.
At the same time, mixed berries and nuts are obviously the healthy alternative but depending on preference, you may want something a little sweeter inside such as a handful of M&M’s!
As already mentioned, these are just a few options when it comes to creating a balanced and tasty lunch for a compartment lunch box. As you know, salad is not always necessary and there are endless sandwich combinations to mix things up during the week.
With that said, whether you opt for a sun-dried pasta salad or a Tuscan Tuna Sandwich, the objective here is to add a little excitement and creativity to the work lunch and then reap the rewards of this healthy alternative.
What do you put in your lunch box? Please let us know your favorite work lunch in the comments!