5 Energy-Boosting Power Lunches
Here are some tips, must-have ingredients and power lunch ideas that will help you beat the afternoon slump.
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Be prepared: Shop for healthy staple foods that you can combine for a filling, nutritious meal.
Planning ahead will keep you from making less healthy, last-minute decisions at lunchtime.
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High-quality protein will fill you up and give you all-day energy. Choose from salmon, tuna, chicken, cold beef or lamb. For vegetarians, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends eggs, beans and peas, nuts, nut butters and soy products.
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Complex carbs convert to glucose, which gives your body and mind the fuel you need to make it through the day. Try beans, brown rice, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, or swap wheat bread for solid, grainy bread.
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Grilled chicken with brown rice and spinach is a perfect power lunch. Healthy, delicious and full of fiber and lean protein, this hearty lunch will boost your energy and keep you feeling full longer.
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter (or Nut Butter) and Banana Sandwich
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A classic combination of fiber, protein, carbohydrates and whole-grains make this a perfect option. Plus, it's quick and easy to make at home. Adding a banana, which is naturally full of glucose, will transport energy to your bloodstream, so you'll feel an immediate boost. This meal will keep you full, which will reduce your chances of snacking later in the day.
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The good news is salads are everywhere. Choosing a healthy option, however, can be tricky. Start with a lean protein such as shrimp, salmon, tofu or chicken, and then load your salad with your favorite veggies—carrots, mixed greens, tomatoes, peppers or broccoli. Add beans—chickpeas—are a great option and top with olive oil or balsamic vinegar. Lemons might even cleanse the liver and ensure proper organ function, according to the Global Healing Center.
Soup and Salad
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Soup is a fast and easy meal option. Be sure to avoid any cream-based or noodle soups that are generally processed and will zap your energy. Opt for lentil, bean, minestrone or chili, which contain complex carbs. Plus, hot foods require you to slow down while you eat, which can lead to an overall reduction in calorie intake. Add a small salad for fiber and you're set with a complete, satisfying meal.
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If fast food is your only option, make smart choices. ChooseMyPlate.gov suggests a small burger, grilled chicken sandwich or a salad with low-calorie dressing. You can order a pizza with tons of veggies, or a Chinese entr?e with extra vegetables and brown rice. If you go to a sandwich shop, ask for leaner cuts, extra lettuce and tomatoes, and whole-wheat or rye bread.