Power-Packed Lunches to Get You Through this Winter

It’s cold. Really cold. And I don’t know about you, but when the snow is falling and the temperature is sub-zero, I tend to gravitate towards anything and everything unhealthy. While it might seem like a good idea at the time, I almost always regret having those fried chicken fingers or mac n cheese for lunch. I find myself nodding off and uncomfortably full at my desk, making for an incredibly unproductive afternoon.

So what’s the solution here? Can you eat a lunch that’s simultaneously delicious, healthy and filling? The short answer is yes. Replacing heavy meals with nutrient-rich ingredients not only prevents you from falling asleep, it can even give you a burst of energy to get through those afternoons full of phone screens & candidate sourcing.

What to Eat When: You’re Really, Really Cold.

We’ve had plenty of colder-than-average days this winter when you just can’t seem to warm up. Soups are great for chilly days, and you can make these at the beginning of the week and have meals ready to go.

Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup
Carrots are high in beta-carotene & Vitamin A and also contain Vitamin C, fiber, calcium, potassium, folate & manganese. Beta-carotene has been shown to help fight cancer & heart disease, and promote healthy vision as well. Sweet Potatoes are high in fiber & low in calories, which will help you stay full for longer without weighing you down. Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamins A, B6 & C as well as potassium and magnesium.

White Bean & Chard Soup
Beans are a good source of protein & fiber while being low in fat, keeping you fuller for longer. They also contain calcium, iron and potassium. Chard is also very low in fat & calories and is packed with nutrients. It’s high in vitamins K, A, and C and also contains magnesium, potassium and iron, just to name a few.

What to Eat When: You Have to Work Through Lunch.

Salads are great for days when you don’t have time to step away from your desk. With unlimited combinations, it’s almost impossible to get bored with them.

Quinoa, Cranberry & Walnut Salad
Quinoa is loaded with protein and fiber. It’s also high in magnesium, iron and vitamin B6 and contains lysine, folate, phosphorus & manganese. Cranberries are full of antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin C & fiber. Walnuts are also a good source of protein and have vitamin B6 as well as magnesium & iron.

Spinach Salad with Beets, Almond & Goat Cheese
Beets are high in fiber and low in calories. They also contain a lot of sugar, which your body can convert to energy. In addition, they also contain vitamin C, iron, folic acid & antioxidants. Almonds are high in protein & fiber and have magnesium, calcium & iron. To round out this powerhouse salad, add in a little goat cheese. Lower in lactose than cheeses made from cow’s milk makes goat cheese easier to digest. It’s also lower in calories and sodium and contains vitamins K, A & B as well as riboflavin and niacin.

What to Eat When: You’re Starving.

Some days a salad just isn’t gonna cut it. Try these lunches on those days when you can’t seem to stay away from the snack closet.

Brown Rice with Sautéed Spinach & Salmon
Filling without being heavy, brown rice is a complex carb containing protein, thiamine, calcium, magnesium and manganese. Spinach is rich in iron and has more potassium than bananas. It also contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin A & folate. And to round out this super-trio, Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and contains niacin & riboflavin which both help convert food to energy.

Tuna Salad & Spinach on 100% Whole Wheat Toast
Chunk light tuna is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, low in fat and high in protein and contains Vitamin B12, niacin & iron. Make a light salad with low-fat mayo, mustard, lemon & celery. Pair that with fresh spinach and 100% whole wheat toast for a filling, nutritious lunch.

Healthier lunches make for a more productive afternoon. Check out the USDA National Nutrient Database to find out what’s in your favorite meals, and then check out the CDC to find out how these vitamins and minerals help you. Have you found any foods that give you a lot of energy and make you feel great?