How to Prepare an Easy, Cheap and Nutritious Lunch – Part 1
What’s for lunch?
Before going into the nitty-gritty of the question, and the preparation of a cheap, easy to make and nutritious lunch, let’s explore the importance of this mid-day meal.
Lunch is important because it keeps your metabolism active, after a moderately-sized meal like breakfast and snack hours before.
“Extended periods of starvation between large meals create gaps which keep metabolism from staying active,” says Dr. Kurt Hong, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Huntington Medical Foundation.
Lunch re-energizes the body and raise blood sugar levels which are important for focus and concentration. Even a small lunch will keep you from feeling sluggish. It renews your energy and helps you feel refreshed and ready for the next few hours.
Now let’s go back to the question, what’s for lunch?
Today it is salad!
Don’t hit the ceiling yet with dismay, or give a moan of displeasure because salad is just as good for lunch as your regular or meat fares. Besides being a good variation, salad nutritious, cheap and easy to prepare.
It only takes a few minutes to whip up bowl good for one or two people. They are cool, crunchy and fun to eat. If you always hit the salad bar each time you dine out, why not prepare one for yourself at home?
For starters, you can do this Chinese chicken cabbage salad.
– 4 cups of napa cabbage, sliced thin (green cabbage will do if there is no napa);
– 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
– 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar;
– 1 teaspoon of soy sauce;
– 1 tablespoon of minced ginger;
– 1 medium clove garlic, pressed;
– 2 tablespoon of chopped cilantro (coriander);
– 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, shredded or cut into small cubes
Toss all ingredients together – it’s that simple- and viola – you have a nutritious lunch.
Health benefits of salad:
1. Salads have high fiber content which can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent constipation – a very common, and uncomfortable, condition among the elderly;
2. The green vegetables and fruits used in making salads contain a host of powerful antioxidants like vitamins C and E, lycopene, and alpha and beta-carotene.
Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
and free radicals. They are known to prevent the formation of a wide array of cancer types.
3. Salad is good for losing weight. While its fiber content gives you the feeling of being full, but it only contains 150 calories, or less, which means you don’t get as much unwanted fats into your system, unlike fish or meat.
Note: Only if you have more greens and less dressing in your salad.
4. Salads contain some fats – the good kind – monounsaturated fats from the olive oil, avocado, nuts and other ingredients that go into its preparation;
In fact, an Italian research on people 60 years and older suggests that a diet high in olive oil and raw vegetables reduces mortality.
I am a late adherent of salads. I used to think it is only for rabbits, and that I may turn green and grow leaves if I eat lots of it.
My conversion occurred during lunch a long time ago, when I sat beside an American counterpart in the company I retired from. He had a good serving of salad. Before I can say, “Uuugggh,” he asked me to try some. The rest is history.
Salads are not that bad – even for a non-salad buff. It is good, it is tasty, it is filling and it is very nutritious. More and more people are into it now, not because it is classy, but because of ts health benefits.
They may not totally replace your usual lunch fare (unless you go vegan), but they can be an excellent variation to your meal
Try it and you will be hooked, like me.
By the way, my post on “breakfast” got good readership. Please stick around for more DIY tips on living cheap and healthy.