4 Clean Eating Lunch Ideas + Healthy Food Suggestions
Written by PM Admin - April 5, 2021
Clean eating isn’t so much a diet as it is a lifestyle that emphasizes quality over quantity of the foods you eat. Clean eating features wholesome, portion-controlled, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich foods and meals free of additives and potential toxins.
Unlike fad diets that come and go, clean eating isn’t a new concept that is likely to fall out of favor eventually. From the beginning of time, people used to eat clean food directly from the source with minimal processing.
Today, more people are regaining control of what they put in their bodies by choosing high-quality, whole, and organic food over processed foods ridden with hormones and chemicals. Adopting a clean eating plan can be a simple and effective way to lose weight, boost your mood, and improve your energy throughout the day.
If you are getting bored with the same foods and need some clean eating lunch ideas to help you eat clean all day long, we’re here to help!
We explore several ways to eliminate processed foods from your lunch box and clean up your desk lunch routine. Our expert clean eating tips will get you on a healthy path, making your mid-day breaks extra-refreshing and worth looking forward to.
Read on to see some of our best pick clean eating lunch ideas that are not only delicious but also easy to make. These healthy lunch ideas are fun, full of flavor, and taste great too!
Why Is Clean Eating At Lunch Important?
According to a recent survey, up to 51 percent of American adults don’t have time to take a good lunch during workdays. Yet, lunch is an important meal that provides energy and nutrients to keep the brain and body working efficiently through the afternoon.
As lunch breaks become shorter, many people find themselves having to eat at their desk or grabbing an on-the-go sandwich that they can take in their cars or on a park bench. While most of these quick fixes are convenient, the overreliance on these unhealthy, processed food can lead to serious health issues.
The truth is, your lunch should contain critical nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, and a healthy source of carbs such as starchy vegetables. A healthy lunch packed with the right portions of these nutrients can have massive benefits, such as regulating your blood sugar and offering sufficient nourishment to help you to power through the day.
Clean eating at lunch can have numerous benefits when combined with an active lifestyle and a positive outlook. A diet loaded with minimally processed whole food can lead to:
Eating Clean At Lunch Can Provide More Energy
Clean eating at lunch can help you replenish your body with vital nutrients, making you feel more energetic and productive. Nutrients such as iron and vitamin B can fuel your cells to function properly.
Clean eating also helps regulate your blood sugar and reduce carb-induced fatigue, common when you eat carby foods with a high glycemic load such as refined grains, sweets, soft drinks, biscuits, cakes, and white bread.
Clean Lunches Can Improve Gut Health
Are you constantly having stomach upsets at works? If so, consider replacing your junk-filled lunch box with wholesome food. Your gut is full of naturally occurring bacteria that aid metabolism and digestion. A diet full of sugars and processed fats can alter the gut microbiome leading to inflammation.
Eating fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains can inject prebiotics and probiotics that promote healthy bacteria growth in the colon.
Eating A Clean Lunch Can Lead To Better Mental Health
Want to feel good about yourself and your work? Evidence suggests a close relationship between food and mood. Clean eating promotes the production of endorphins and dopamine. These feel-good hormones help elevate your mood, energy, and self-esteem.
Clean eating also injects omega-3 fatty acids that support good mental health, reducing moodiness, anxiety, and stress that can easily cause depression.
Reduced Risk Of Heart Disease
Cardiovascular health is highly reliant on your diet. By following a clean eating lunch plan, you can lower your risk of heart-related diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure. For instance, a diet rich in fruits and fresh vegetables has a lot of Vitamin C that promotes healthy and strong blood vessels.
Clean eating also incorporates healthful fats that are commonly found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts. This ensures that you stay away from harmful cholesterol that is a prime cause of cardiovascular diseases.
Numerous studies have shown that overconsumption of highly processed foods puts you at a higher risk of cancer. These hyper-processed foods, processed meat, fried foods, and saturated fat are ridden with toxic chemicals that increase cancer risk when absorbed into the body.
On the contrary, clean eating promotes the consumption of minimally processed foods such as fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and other nutrient-dense foods rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that prevent malignant growth cells. These whole foods are generally anti-inflammatory. In fact, by having more colorful plant food in your lunch box, you’ll be ingesting chockfull of inflammation-lowering antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Sustainable Weight Loss
While weight loss isn’t every clean eater’s goal, a clean diet can help you lose weight and achieve your health goals. By incorporating vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, healthy fats, and lean protein, you can customize a clean diet to suit your wellness goals.
If you are struggling to shed some weight, it is important to replace highly processed, unhealthy items with whole, minimally processed foods. A healthy diet will improve your metabolism and shift your hormones from fat-storage mode into fat-burning mode. A clean diet plan can also reduce the risk of obesity considerably.
So what should you eat to get the nutrition you need to reap all these benefits?
Best Healthy Foods To Eat For Lunch
There are various healthy foods that you can combine to make a wholesome lunch that is tasty and sumptuous. The truth is, restrictive diets are normally not effective in the long run, so learning to balance your plate is critical. The secret is to mix all the required nutrients using the 3:1 portions rule, where you have a plate with three parts of unprocessed carbs, lean meats, healthy fats, fresh vegetables, and fruits.
Here are some recommended foods that you can put into your lunch box to build a healthy and balanced diet that will help you perform well at work.
1. Include Some Carbohydrates
Your body derives its energy (calories) from carbohydrates. You should therefore consider eating about one-third of carbohydrates in your meal. Preferably, this should be a starchy, high fiber carbohydrate that has a lower glycaemic index than processed starches.
Healthy Carbohydrates For Lunch Wholemeal Bread, wholegrain cereals, Fruit, Noodles, Corn, Brown Rice, Peas, Plantain, Pita, Potato, Sweet Potato
2. Eat plenty of fruit and fresh veggies
Research indicates that people who eat at least seven portions of fruits and veggies daily have a reduced risk of many lifestyle diseases. Fruits and vegetables have lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are healthy for the body. Consider adding fruits and veggies to your lunch box.
The more veggies and the greater the variety, the better. To add some character to your plate, you can take fruits in different forms such as fresh, frozen, dried, whole, or pureed.
Healthy Fruits and Vegetables For Lunch: Asparagus, celery, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, Zucchini, Peppers, Spinach, Leek, Lettuce, Onions
You can try various fruit recipes, cherry tomatoes to snack in between the day.
3. Go lean on proteins
Proteins help to build and repair muscle. They also help keep you full and satisfied, so you don’t have to keep snacking. There are a variety of unprocessed lean protein foods that you can add to your meal.
Healthy Lean Proteins For Lunch: Beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fish, tofu, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Lentils/Legumes (peas, beans)
4. Add some extras
You can add the following to your lunch box to add some taste and flavor. It is best to keep in mind that the following suggestions should not be excessive:
- Oils and dressing
- Peanut or almond butter
- Dried fruits
- Nuts and seeds
Clean Eating Lunch Tips
A clean eating plan should have a wide range of health-conscious choices. A healthy balanced diet should contain foods from each food group and emphasize several things.
- Cut back on foods with added sugar, salt, or fat
- Avoid highly processed, packaged foods
- Replace specialty coffee and soft drinks with water
- Shop at the grocery store’s produce section and choose a variety of colorful and healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
- Choose nutrient-dense foods such as berries, eggs, broccoli, red bell peppers, salmon, sweet potatoes, and seeds
- Consider regularly eating whole grains and nuts.
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day
- Instead of rushing to the nearest convenience store, cook and pack your lunch at home
- Increase your protein intake to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat.
- Eat the colors of the rainbow every day! Colorful food such as sweet potatoes, greens, berries, turmeric, and red peppers are packed with potent compounds and nutrients essential for your health.
- Choose foods with healthy fats instead of saturated fat.
- Choose healthier menu options when eating out.
- Stay within your daily calorie needs
- Exercise more regularly
How Portion Control Can Support Clean Eating Lunches
Eating clean, healthy food at lunch is important, but you still need to keep an eye on your portion sizes. If you eat too much clean food, you might end up gaining weight. It’s therefore important to be deliberate on the size of nutrient portions you eat every meal.
A Portion Control Plate can help you eat just the right amount of everything without having to count and measure what you are eating. Portion control plates allow you to take your proteins, carbs, veggies, and fruits in preset portions sizes that align with your weight. This way, you can:
- Eliminate points and calories counting
- Stop overeating
- Ensure you are eating proper portion size that coincides with your weight
- Achieve and maintain your lifestyle, weight loss, and fitness goals easily
With the Portions Master Plate, you’ll be able to take the designated amount of food at every meal.
Wrapping It Up
Clean eating is an easy-to-follow lifestyle with a bunch of health benefits such as boosting your mood and providing more energy. It can also reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and obesity to help promote weight loss. Plus, you can create a customized clean eating diet that aligns with your lifestyle, goals, and fitness needs.
The Portions Master plate can help you achieve a balanced diet every time you take your meals by sizing all your nutrients according to your weight. With this simple, hassle-free, and affordable plate, you can adjust the portion size of whole foods such as protein, carbohydrates, and greens to keep your body and mind well nourished.