Lunch during the week is a hectic time when you're hitting the gym between meetings. In your mad dash from the gym back to the office, it's easy to grab whatever you can find to fill up after your workout.
Unfortunately, a grab-and-go lunch is often lacking in nutritional content, especially protein. We all know that bag of chips isn't doing anything for your tired and hungry muscles.
These eight recipes and side dishes make it easy to add protein to your lunch without messing up your afternoon routine.
Healthy Tuna Salad
Swap your roast beef sandwich or turkey-bacon club for a tuna salad--hold the mayonnaise. Instead, mix your can of tuna with traditional hummus, Dijon mustard, diced onion, diced celery and a pinch of pepper. Eat your healthy tuna salad without the bread for a protein-heavy lunch that won't weigh you down.
Chickpeas are full of protein and healthy carbs, making them perfect for a post-workout lunch. Instead of eating them whole, mash a quarter cup with a fork. Mix in a pinch of salt, pepper and lemon juice. Spread this on bread in place of or in addition to your usual condiments for a punch of protein.
Skip the wheat-based pasta salad this summer and try a side of cold bean noodles, which can be found in many supermarkets, including Whole Foods, VONS and Sprouts. Treat them like you would regular noodles in pasta salad, pairing them with oil, vinegar, a mix of vegetables and feta. One of the most popular brands is Explore Asian, which has a variety of options to choose from, ranging from black bean spaghetti to mung bean fettuccini.
As delicious as they are, creamy salad dressings can ruin a healthy salad. Instead of the dressing, grab a container of hummus (sprouted hummus is even better). Mix in two tablespoons with half a tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of vinegar you prefer. While the hummus only adds two grams of protein, it's a healthy alternative.
If you love a runny yolk, then you'll love this simple idea. Top a hot turkey or chicken sandwich with an over-medium egg. You'll enjoy five to seven grams of protein and the runny yolk that makes everything more delicious.
Mix up a batch of peanut sauce on Sunday (a good prep day) and use it all week to add a protein punch to your lunch. Drizzle it on a Thai salad, spread it on a sandwich or use it as dip for baked tofu bites.
A Mexican-Inspired Meal
A number of classically Mexican ingredients, such as black beans and corn, can be used to make a fun and protein-heavy lunch. Try this salad next week:
? 2 cups green leaf lettuce
? 1/4 cup black beans (10 grams of protein)
? 1/2 cup corn (8 grams of protein)
? 1 ounce of ground turkey (8 grams of protein)
? 1 tablespoon chipotle hummus mixed with 1 tablespoon salsa (for dressing)
Vegetarians can get the same amount of protein by adding extra beans, tofu or tempeh.
Nutty Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese gets boring fast. Instead of missing out on this high-protein lunch side, add crushed or slivered almonds to your serving. This adds more protein and healthy fat, and takes the bland cottage cheese up a notch.
Stay healthy with our nutrition guide.