Healthy lunch: Recipes and interesting facts about a balanced diet
Whether pasta, fish, steak, potatoes, grilled food or something delicious from the oven – a tasty lunch with fresh ingredients can look diverse. Especially during the week, lunch often has to be quick, but it still has to be wholesome. When the family gets together for lunch at the weekend, the cooking can be more elaborate. We reveal appetizing recipe ideas for a healthy lunch that everyone will enjoy.
What is a healthy lunch?
A healthy lunch is a dish that is rich in nutrients and provides long-lasting satiety. You can choose from a wide variety of products – because no food supplies all nutrients in sufficient quantities. In order to supply your body optimally with energy as well as vitamins, minerals, trace elements and secondary plant substances, it is important to have a varied combination of different foods.
The so-called macronutrients serve as energy suppliers for the body. These include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Complex carbohydrates contribute to a long feeling of satiety. They are found primarily in legumes, whole-grain pasta and potatoes. Protein-rich foods such as lean beef and peanuts are important for muscle development as well as for the immune system, among other things. Fatty fish, canola oil, avocado and numerous other foods contain many (poly)unsaturated fatty acids. If you want to lose weight, you also need to pay attention to the correct energy balance – this results from a suitable diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle habits.
Wholesome food is also characterized by freshness: If you cook yourself and use mainly seasonal products, you usually eat healthier. If you pick up the wooden spoon yourself, you know exactly what goes into the pot.
Healthy lunch: Enjoy vegetarian
The basis of a healthy diet is variety. A varied weekly menu can therefore include healthy vegetarian lunches. If you follow the recommendations of the German Nutrition Society (DGE), you’ll be on the right track anyway: The DGE recommends including mainly plant-based foods in your diet. The menu is supplemented by a maximum of 300 to 600 grams of meat per week and fish once or twice a week. Part-time vegetarians – also known as flexitarians – follow the vegetarian diet, but only strictly abstain from meat on certain days.
For optimal nutrient supply, it is important to eat a balanced diet. This principle works just as well with vegetarian foods, but requires a little more knowledge about the nutrient content of various foods: For example, vitamin B12 is found not only in animal products, but also in cheese and algae. The trace element iron is found in leafy vegetables and whole grains. However, vegetarianism is not necessarily the same as being healthy: If you constantly eat deep-fried fries and eat sugary chocolate, this will not have a good effect on your fitness in the long run. Therefore, always follow the general rules for a wholesome diet, which apply equally to lunches with or without meat.
Ready in less than 30 minutes: Preparing a healthy lunch quickly
Busy people often don’t have much time in their day to cook balanced meals. A ready-to-eat pizza may be ready in a flash, but it’s not necessarily nutritious. This is where quick meals made from fresh ingredients come into play: the recipes can be prepared in less than half an hour and bring plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. to the table.
Another great tip for a quick, healthy lunch is the Meal Prep trend: This is the preparation or pre-cooking of meals. You either prepare your healthy lunch the day before in the evening or cook several meals at the same time on the weekend for the coming week. Meal prepping saves time and allows you to eat healthy every day – even when time is short.
Healthy lunch for kids: delicious recipe ideas and tips.
Good eating habits from childhood contribute to the fact that a person still likes to reach for healthy food as an adult. That’s why it’s only beneficial to offer your children a balanced diet and a wide variety of foods. For example, if you quench your thirst as a three-year-old with water instead of fruit juice or lemonade, you’re getting a healthy taste. When it comes to food, however, youngsters often bring a fair amount of skepticism with them. It’s perfectly normal for toddlers in particular to eat a one-sided diet at times and sometimes have little desire for vegetables. For some children, it can take some time before they try new foods and expand their menu.
There are some clever tips on how you can positively encourage your child to eat a varied diet, despite specific preferences for certain favorite foods. When cooking with children, these tricks will help:
- Children love pasta, but they prefer the light variety to whole-grain pasta. Try to get them interested in fiber-rich whole grain products by mixing white and dark pasta. Try different varieties, as some taste more tart than others. Also, add the sauce to the spaghetti before you plate up the healthy lunch. This way, the meal will be more visually appealing to your kids.
- You can prepare fruit curd and yogurt as a dessert for lunch yourself with fresh fruit. Buy natural yogurt or low-fat quark that contains no added sugar. Frozen fruit is just as good for a sweet taste and is a great alternative when strawberries, peaches and the like are not in season.
- You can hide broccoli, kale and other vegetables in small purees in the red pasta sauce. Many children also dare to try “vegetable” soups without hesitation.
- For small appetites, prepare snacks such as crackers with peanut butter or fruit bars made from dates, nuts and dried fruit without added sweeteners. But here, too, watch the quantity so that you don’t end up with too much sweetness.
Even picky eaters often get more appetite for new foods when they help prepare them. Involve your children in the menu planning and ask them to peel the potatoes, for example. In doing so, the little ones will curiously get to grips with the different foods and learn about their smell and texture. Maybe your child won’t be hungry for potato gratin right away – but at least he’ll be a little more familiar with the tuber and it will work next time.
Last but not least, personal preferences play a role: food not only has to be healthy, it also has to taste good. Whether you like Asian rice dishes, home cooking, stews, vegetarian or spicy food – with us you will discover a variety of recipes for a healthy lunch!