Balance is one of the keys to a healthy life.
Often, life can be like you’re in the circus, juggling eating well with your stressful job, and with preparing school lunches for your kids.
Whether you actually work in the circus, are president of a major corporation, in construction or in any field, your brain function is important, no matter your occupation. Eating healthy food, full of nutrients, will give you the energy and concentration to thrive in the workplace, and your kids the brainpower and memory retention for the classroom.
When I was in high school, I got a part-time job at McDonald’s, which meant that processed and refined foods were readily available to me. In Grade 11, I noticed a slip in my grades in subjects such as math and science, where memory retention is essential to the curriculum. When I started making health-conscious decisions within my diet, I made the connection that my improved mental health was also affected from the foods I consumed.
Do you want to get the most out of your workday? Do you want your kids to get good grades? I know busy nine a.m to five p.m. work schedules can be difficult to plan and prepare healthy meals for you and your family. Here are three easy healthy lunch ideas and snack ideas for the person on the go:
Spinach contains lutein, which protects against cognitive decline. It also has vitamin E to increase brain tissue. Have a hearty spinach salad midday to help build your energy and strength in your bones. Add your choice of veggies and nuts.
My salad might include chopped red, yellow, or orange peppers, onions (purple or green), cucumbers, black olives, almonds, feta cheese, and cubes of avocado. Generally, the rule goes that the more color in your salad, the more nutrients. Also, adding kidney beans is a great idea.
Avocado Salad Whole Grain Wrap
The folate in avocado helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are also present in avocado, contributing to a healthy functioning brain. I like to combine two avocados, olive oil, thinly diced grape tomatoes, and a mix of spices into a bowl, creating an egg salad-like texture. Try with spinach or kale and feta cheese or goat cheese on a whole wheat wrap.
Mixed Veggie Sandwich
Either grilled or raw, having veggies in a sandwich is a good way to get your daily nutrients. Humus and eggplant go great with red and yellow peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. The eggplant and humus combination is rich in vitamins and nutrients, helping intelligence and overall heart health. Have this sandwich either on a whole grain bun or wrap. Add your choice of cheese if you like.
It’s a good idea to eat snacks two hours before and two hours after your lunch meal. Here are some possible snack ideas to eat throughout your day.
As a good morning snack to eat after your breakfast has been digested, eat a fruit salad containing blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Berries are a good anti-aging food, also protecting the brain from oxidative stress. Blueberries are good to eat during the day, helping to improve your learning capacity and motor skills.
Homemade Trail Mix
To avoid store-bought trail mixes, which are high in soy, try making your own trail mix consisting of raw nuts: almonds, walnuts, and cashews. You could add natural peanuts to the mix, unless peanut allergies are a concern at your workplace or at your child’s school.
Pack a container full of bite sized raw veggies. Carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and red, yellow or orange bell peppers are great options. Carrots, celery, and peppers are high in luteolin, which reduce age-related memory loss and contribute to overall brain health. Veggies are a no-brainer before a meeting or a big exam! Also, packing a small container of humus would be a healthy dipping option.
Eating healthy on-the-go is not always easy but it’s worth it in the long run. These healthy lunches and healthy snacks are sure to get you through a busy day, and keep your brain sharp at the same time.
Dupont, C., The New Enlightened Eating: Simples Recipes for Extraordinary Living (Summertown: Books Alive, 2012), 8, 35.
Barrett, M., “7 Natural Brain Foods for Cognition and Concentration,” True Activist web site, Feb. 15, 2013; http://www.trueactivist.com/7-natural-brain-foods-for-cognition-and-concentration/.
Trice, L., The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook (Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers, 2010), 37.
Loius, PF, “Ten delicious health benefits of eating more avocado,” NaturalNews.com web site, April 16, 2013; http://www.naturalnews.com/040067_avocado_cancer_prevention_superfood.html.
“5 Health Benefits of Hummus,” 3 Fat Chicks on a diet! web site, August 30, 2010; http://www.3fatchicks.com/5-health-benefits-of-hummus/.