Salads are a lunchtime staple, and for good reason. When done right, it's a healthy and filling meal full of protein, fiber, and tons of essential nutrients. If you're anything like us, you might have the same salad combination on heavy rotation, which is why we went searching for a little inspiration. We asked you to share your favorite salads with us on Instagram. Here are the ones we can't wait to make!
You're not a morning person — you barely have enough energy to brush your teeth let alone muster up the pep it takes to hit the gym. No problem. There are plenty of other opportunities during the day to work out, and here are five reasons to make it happen at noon.
- Everyone else is doing it: If procrastination is your middle name, it's easy to say you're going to work out, but then find a million reasons to put it off until it's 6 p.m. when you're too starved to even think about exercise. Around lunch is a popular time to sweat it out — you'll probably even notice a few of your co-workers slipping out of the office and heading out with gym bag in hand. Getting inspired by joining the pack at the same time every day is one way to make sure you don't skip out on your workout, and once you do it for a few weeks, it'll become a habit.
- Reduced risk of injury: Since your body has been awake for several hours, it's had more time to move around and get the blood flowing. Heading into a noon workout means your mind is more alert, which can prevent injuries caused by morning grogginess (like falls or forgetting to use equipment properly). A warmed-up body is also less tense and more flexible, lowering your risk of a pulled muscle. As an added bonus, when your body feels more open, you're more likely to work out harder and longer.
- Saves calories, burns calories: If you have plans to meet a friend for a noon yoga class, you know you can't down an enormous meal beforehand without feeling gassy and sluggish, so that's one way a noon workout saves calories. Plus you'll burn 300 or more calories on the hour-long workout, and since brisk exercise has been shown to suppress your appetite you'll feel inspired to eat something light and healthy for lunch afterward (instead of blowing all your hard work on a 1,400-calorie burger and fries). That midday workout can also give you energy later on in the day, avoiding the need for a high-calorie late afternoon pick-me-up.
Keep reading for two more reasons to exercise at lunchtime.
When you're on the go yet looking for a filling, protein-packed lunch, the Cobb salad wrap has you covered.
In case you aren't familiar with a Cobb salad, it's a classic American salad that is typically loaded with bacon, chicken, blue cheese, egg, and avocado. This recipe isn't about reinventing the wheel — we're just trying to wrap it!
Once the salad is tossed in dressing, wrap it tightly inside a piece of flatbread for an easy way to eat on the go.
The beauty of this salad is that so many interesting and unusual ingredients come together. You may get a bite that's loaded with salty, smoky bacon, while the next will have a large hunk of funky blue cheese. I salivate just conjuring up memories of sinking my teeth into the flavor-filled wrap. To make lunch infinitely better, keep reading for the recipe
A common suggestion to lose weight is to eat salads for meals. While the fresh veggies are healthy and delicious, the tasty toppings of cheese and nuts can really add up — your simple salad could end up containing half a day's worth of calories!
Check out the list of popular salad toppings below, and be extra aware that the more toppings you add, the more calories are going into your body. Salads definitely make excellent meals, but hopefully this nutritional breakdown will help keep your bowl healthy.
|Topping||Calories||Total Fat (g)||Sat Fat (g)||Sodium (mg)||Carbs (g)||Fiber (g)||Protein (g)|
|1/8 cup sliced almonds||80||7||0.5||0||3||1.5||3|
|2 tbsp. bacon bits||50||2||0||220||4||2||6|
|1 oz. blue cheese||97||8||5.3||381||1.8||0.4||6.2|
|3 oz. grilled chicken strips||100||1.5||0.5||390||3||0||19|
Keep reading to see the nutritional info for other salad toppings.
Tired of the old sandwich, soup, or salad for lunch? Take your taste buds for a twist by serving up a common breakfast food for lunch — eggs. Packed with protein and easy to whip up, these savory egg dishes are also low in calories.
Red, White, Bean, and Basil Frittata
Made with sweet cherry tomatoes, cubes of mozzarella cheese, black beans, and purple basil, this high-protein dish is bursting with delectably fresh flavor. Pair your under-200-calorie piece with a whole-wheat roll for a perfect lunch.
Egg and Tomato WrapSource: Flickr user jeffreyw
Made with a 210-calorie multigrain wrap, two large eggs, corn, and fresh pico de gallo, this breakfast burrito makes the perfect hearty lunch.
Keep reading for one more delicious egg-inspired lunch idea.
Breakfast may be the most important meal, but lunch is another chance to set the tone for the day. Make sure you aren't setting yourself up for failure with these tips to revamp the midday meal and make it the healthiest it can be.
- Construct a healthier sandwich: A sandwich may be a fast and convenient lunch option, but what goes into your sandwich should be carefully planned. Load up on veggies, swap mayo for hummus or a different lower-calorie spread, and use whole-grain bread. Read these smart tips to save calories on your sandwich.
- Add some greens: Most people don't eat enough vegetables, so adding a few greens to your lunch is an easy way to fill up and get the nutrients you need without too many calories. Whether you're bringing leftovers from last night's dinner or opting for takeout, make sure your lunch includes veggies (stick to raw or steamed to keep the calorie count low).
- Stay full: You may think that your can of thin soup is a healthy move, but if your lunch leaves you starving just minutes later, you can become susceptible to chowing down on a less-healthy afternoon snack. Make sure your lunch contains a good balance of protein and fiber to help you feel satisfied for longer. Throw in a piece of fruit with your lunch for added fiber and add a cup of yogurt for protein (try a Chobani Bite in dark chocolate; they're the perfect size for a small sweet treat at the end of your lunch).
Wondering what to pack? Check out these 14 delicious and healthy sandwich ideas, as well as this list of the best and worst lunch foods to pack in your brown bag.
This salad is a nice foundation for a healthy lunch, or you can serve it as a satisfying snack with some fresh pita, as pictured. Learn how to make this tabbouleh salad after the break.
If your day is all about deadlines, meetings, and squeezing in a workout, it's no wonder you barely have time to hit the bathroom, let alone sit down to eat lunch. But what you eat for your midday meal can play a huge role in whether you reach your weight-loss goals. Here are some ways that innocent little lunch box of yours can help you fit into that polka-dot bikini by Summer.
- No more skipped lunches: Sounds simple enough, but many women skip lunch thinking they'll lose weight faster. Unfortunately, this isn't the case; skipping meals slows down metabolism, resulting in fewer calories burned. Having a healthy lunch waiting for you means there's no excuse to ever skip this midday meal. Need some ideas? Pack these vegetarian sandwiches or one of these delicious low-calorie soups.
- No more hidden calories: It's fun to go out to lunch every once in a while, but restaurant food tends to be high in calories. Packing a lunch from home means you aren't forced to hit the local café and order a who-knows-how-many-calories-are-in-that soup and sandwich. You also won't be tempted by the high-calorie desserts on the counter calling your name. Instead, you'll know exactly what went into that homemade meal of yours.
- Portion control: When you pack a lunch, you're in charge of how big it is and how many calories you consume. Using cute storage containers like these BPA-free ones can help encourage you to pack smaller portions of your favorites to keep calories in check. Be sure to choose high-fiber foods to keep you feeling full for longer.
- More energy: Eating a nutritious lunch packed with protein and complex carbs maintains blood sugar levels. So say goodbye to that afternoon slump that makes you crave a sugary pick-me-up, and say hello to the crazy amount of energy you'll have to hit a 300-calorie-burning workout after work.
Source: Flickr User trupastilla
If you want to stay energized all afternoon, then choose your lunch wisely. Meals made of verve-inducing foods like lean protein, iron-rich leafy greens, and healthy fats will keep your spirits up well into the evening. Here are four energizing lunches to try this week.
Tuna Salad Pitas
Tuna salad can quickly quiet hunger, but the mayonnaise found in traditional recipes racks up (empty) calories fast. Instead, make this protein-packed tuna salad pita sandwich to reduce fat and calories but not flavor.
Quinoa Avocado Salad
Quinoa is a great source of protein and fiber, both of which help fuel the body throughout the day, and avocados provide sustained energy through their high amount of healthy monounsaturated fat. Both avocados and quinoa are also good sources of potassium, which is important for metabolism and muscle growth. Keep your body's engine running smoothly with this quinoa avocado salad recipe, which contains nuts and dried fruit for even more energy.
Get two more energizing lunch ideas after the break.
When it comes to lunch and weight loss, you've got to choose wisely. Barely eating anything or skipping the meal altogether can lead to binge eating later in the day, but filling up midday doesn't bode well for your weight-loss plans. Instead of either, make smart choices at lunch that save calories while ensuring you stay full and have adequate nutrition. Keep these two quick tips handy to save up to 300 calories during your midday meal.
- Skip these, save 100: Make your healthy lunch choices a no-brainer with these tips that save you around 100 calories without much thought. Skipping the mayo, for example, will cut 90 calories from your meal, while going for avocado but skipping the cheese will save you even more. Check out more foods to skip at lunch to save 100 calories here.
- Swap these, save 300: Think that sandwich or veggie burrito is healthy? It may not be. You can save even more calories with smart swaps like a vegetable-filled taco salad instead of a burrito or a protein-filled chickpea salad instead of a creamy chicken salad sandwich. Save 300 calories now with these lunchtime swaps.