To avoid the afternoon energy dip that a carbohydrate-rich meal often imparts, my favorite lunch includes lots of protein and healthy fats and few grains or legumes, if any. In the middle of a busy day, I turn to recipes that require 10 minutes or less of prep or cook time. Because these meals are so easy and satisfying, I keep my fridge and pantry stocked with the following ingredients to ensure an expedient and nourishing lunch:
- Pastured Eggs
- Canned wild salmon, packed in water
- Canned sardines, packed in water
- Pre-washed salad greens such as arugula, baby kale, or a greens blend
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil
The following recipes are adaptable to your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand. Double the recipe for two servings or to make tomorrow’s lunch as well as today’s. These salads can be served on top of pre-washed salad greens for a hearty salad, or wrapped up in collard greens or cabbage leaves for a non-grain wrap. They can also be used as filling for a sandwich if you have grain-free (or gluten-free) bread available.
1. Top Choice for Omega 3’s: Sardine Salad
The omega-3 fat DHA is a primary component of neurons and essential for a healthy brain. DHA has been shown to support brain function and improve memory and symptoms of ADHD. To significantly increase your daily omega-3 intake through food, opt for a generous serving of sardines. Packed in water, sardines offer excellent nutrition and are easily stored and prepared.
For a single serving, mix half a can of sardines with the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil and a small amount of whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as celery, carrots, cucumber or peppers, to taste. Chop in half an avocado, add chopped parsley (or other herb) and mound on top of salad greens.
2. Delicious and Nutritious: Wild Salmon Salad
Research indicates that nutrient absorption from eating fish is superior to supplementation from fish oil capsules; however, since supplements easily provide large amounts of omega-3s, I cover my bases by supplementing with virgin krill oil and eating sardines and salmon.
For a single serving, mix half a can of salmon with the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of olive oil and a small amount of whatever vegetables you have, such as celery, carrots, cucumber or peppers, to taste. Slice and add half an avocado, chopped parsley (or other herb) and mound on top of salad greens.
3. Vegetarian and Protein-Packed: Pastured Egg Salad
Eggs offer a beautiful balance of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Most supermarkets carry pastured eggs and although more expensive than factory-farmed eggs, the nutritional value that they provide makes them worth the cost.
Chop 2 hard-boiled eggs into a bowl and blend with 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a chopped shallot, or half a small red onion, or a few green onions. Blend in any fresh herbs you have available (parsley is great) or sprinkle your favorite dried herbs in. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Place egg salad on a bed of greenes such as arugula or baby kale and top with olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice.