5 nutrient-dense lunch recipes you can rustle up quickly
Healthy doesn't have to be boring. Make your meals more interesting with these 5 nutrient-dense lunch recipes.
Whether you pack your lunch in morning for eating later or have it at home, it is important to include the right nutrients in the biggest meal of your day. A lunch high in carbs, sugar and saturated fats not only depletes your energy levels fast and makes you lethargic in the second half of the day but also affects your overall health causing weight gain and obesity issues. On the other hand, balancing your lunch with protein, fibre, vitamins and other essential nutrients can make a visible difference to your energy levels as well as immunity. It will also make you lose weight over a period of time. When you have a nutrient-dense lunch, you also don't feel the need to have a heavy snack in early evening which again prevents you to have a lot of calories. (Also read: Arthritis: Best breakfast recipes for people with arthritis)
Healthy, of course, doesn't have to be boring. Make your healthy meals more interesting with these 5 nutrient-dense lunch recipes shared by Haripriya N Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chennai, OMR branch.
1. PROTEIN PARATHA WITH RAW MANGO RAITA AND CARROT STICKS
Serving size: 1-2
Wheat flour/atta – 200 g
Chickpea flour - 100g
Salt – 1 tsp
Water as needed
Oil- 1 tsp
Paneer/cottage cheese – 1 cup crumbled
Green chilli – 1 chopped finely
Cumin seeds/jeera -1 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Cilantro for garnishing
- Heat oil in a kadai and add cumin, crumbled paneer and mix well. Then add green chilli, turmeric, red chilli, coriander and garam masala powder. Sautee well. Season with salt and throw in lots of coriander leaves and mix well.
- Remove it to a bowl and allow it to cool down completely.
- Now make the dough. Take flour, salt in a mixing bowl. Add in water slowly and make a soft dough. Apply some oil and knead it well to form a smooth dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Now divide the dough into equal portions and start making parathas. Take one dough and spread it slightly. Spoon some filling in and seal from all sides. Now roll carefully to make into a paratha.
- Heat a tawa and cook this paratha on both sides by applying some oil. Remove to an insulated container and serve with raw mango raita and carrot sticks.
Raw Mango Raita
Raw mango (grated) - 50g
Curd/yogurt - 100ml
Flaxseed powder- 1 tsp
Mix the ingredient and whisk until smooth.
Wash the raw carrots chop and pack it.
This wholesome lunch is enriched with amino acids and healthy fats, probiotics with adequate fibre in it. It will keep you satiated for a long time and helps you avoid post-lunch dip.
2. CHIPOTLE VEG WRAP WITH YOGURT
Serving size - 1
Whole wheat chapati/roti - 2 no
Black chana (boiled)- ½ cup
1 avocado (thinly sliced)
Grated carrots- ½ cup
Bell peppers (thinly sliced) - Green or yellow- ½ cup
Chipotle yogurt dressing
Low fat Greek yogurt - 1 cup
Crushed pepper- 1 tsp
Clove garlic (minced) - 1 tsp
- In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients and make chipotle yogurt dressing. Keep it aside.
- Take whole wheat roti and spread one tablespoon of the dressing on it.
- Put shredded carrots, bell peppers, cilantro, avocado slices and boiled channa on it.
- Roll the wraps and make slices.
Easy and quick lunch recipe for busy working women, this will make your lunch balanced to provide constant and slow raise in your blood sugar levels as it has good amount of soluble fibre and protein with adequate complex carbohydrates in the meal.
3. SOYA LEMON RICE AND CUCUMBER SALAD
Serving size: 1-2
Nutrela soya chunks - 1 cup
Cooked or steamed basmati rice/chawal - 2.5-3 cups
Lemon juice - 1.5 to 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Skinned black gram - 1 tsp
Green chili chopped - 1
Dry red chillies - 2
Curry leaves – as required
Mustard oil- 1-2 tsp
- Take a frying pan and roast the peanuts till brown, and keep them aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in the same pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal. Crackle the mustard and brown the urad dal.
- Add red chilies, green chili and curry leaves. Add nutrela chunks (soaked in hot water, squeeze). Fry until it’s cooked completely.
- Switch off the fire and add the lemon juice along with salt. Stir and immediately pour this mixture on the rice and mix well. Keep the lemon rice covered for the flavors to blend for 10 minutes. Pack it in your favorite lunch box with cucumber salad.
Nicely chop the cucumber and add crushed pepper, some chia seeds and mix.
This balanced South Indian meal will satisfy your hunger pangs with a mix of tasty and healthy ingredients. It has nutrients like good fats, protein, vitamin A, C, potassium and fibre.
4. CHICKEN PULAO WITH MIX VEG SALAD
Serving size - 1-2
Chicken- ½ cup
Cloves, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, green chilies as required based on the taste
50 g basmati rice (RAW)
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
Water- as required to cook
1/2 inches ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
Star anise, bayleaf
1/2 tablespoon yoghurt (curd)
Salt as required
- Wash and peel the veggies, take a mortar-pestle and add garlic and ginger. Crush them coarsely into a paste. Now, take chicken and cut it into pieces.
- Take a bowl and add garam masala, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and half of the prepared ginger-garlic paste. Mix it well and the marinade is ready. Marinate the chicken pieces in a prepared marinade paste and keep it aside to set for 20 minutes.
- Now, heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium flame and add bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, green chillies and star anise.
- Mix well and add sliced onions. Saute those over a medium flame until onions turn glossy and transparent.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook them well. Then, add yoghurt and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add rice, 5 cups of water, turmeric powder and the remaining ginger-garlic paste. Season with salt and mix well. Let the rice be completely cooked. Stir occasionally. Garnish it with lemon juice and coriander. Pack it with Mix veg salad.
Mix veg salad
Chopped carrot, capsicum, tomato, cucumber- 1 cup
Crushed pepper and salt- ½ tsp
Mix all the ingredients well and serve.
Remember to include one serving of vegetables whenever you pack a non-veg meal to avoid constipation or hard stools. Have your lunch as soon as possible and don’t delay the timings. Packed with high protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and fibre, it keeps your energy levels high in the next half of the day.
5. MULTIGRAIN PANEER SANDWICH
Serving size - 2
For paneer bhurji
Crumbled paneer (cottage cheese) – 100 g
Onion, tomato, capsicum and carrot finely chopped- ½ cup
½ teaspoon jeera, green chilli, garlic, ginger (crushed) - 1 tsp each
1 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped
Turmeric, red chilli, jeera, garam masala powder- ¼ tsp each
2 teaspoon oil
Salt to taste
1 slice cheese (optional)
3 tsp butter
To make paneer bhurji:
- In a kadai, add oil, once oil is heated add cumin seeds.
- Let it splutter then add onions, ginger, garlic, green chili, turmeric and saute well till onions are lightly browned.
- Then add jeera powder, garam masala, red chili powder and saute for few seconds.
- Then add tomato and cook until they turn soft.
- Add crumbled paneer, salt and cook for 1-2 minutes and garnish with coriander leaves and switch off the flame.
For paneer bhurji sandwich:
Take bread slices, spread the stuffing on bread slice. Heat tawa on medium flame, add some butter to the tawa and place bread on it (toasting is optional). Cut into pieces and pack in the box.
It's an easy lunch recipe packed with antioxidants, calcium and healthy fats which gives you satiety feeling. Vegetables meet the fibre requirement.