During the Nutrition Challenges at Valeo, our focus is typically on helping participants eat more vegetables and proteins. Why? – Veggies and protein often take more intention to choose or prepare than do their easily-accessible carbohydrate friends and they do wonders for merging goals of both health (inside) and body composition (aesthetics).
Our experience is that most people have a difficult time eating adequate protein, especially at lunch. But, it’s so important! Eating foods with a healthy dose of protein will help you:
- Build and maintain muscle
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Have more sustainable energy
- Feel satiated much more quickly
Another bonus: Protein is slower digesting, burns more calories as it breaks down in your body and it’s really difficult to overeat chicken breast vs, say potato chips. 😉
Your goal for just about every meal should be to get somewhere between 20-35 grams of protein and one cup of vegetables.
While meat like chicken, lean beef, pork, and fish may seem like an obvious way to get protein, here are some lunch ideas that are super quick that will help you in a pinch!
- Cans / pouches of tuna fish or chicken breasts – throw on top of spinach or salad leaves
- Lunch meat such as uncured ham, sliced turkey, roast beef
- Plain Greek yogurt (add some dill or other herbs for a savory vegetable dip or make it sweeter by adding Sweet Drops)
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Jerky or Turkey Sticks (more and more low-no sugar options out there)
- Protein shake, bites, or bars
- Leftovers from dinner: Stir-fry, chili, rotisserie chicken…all great options
If you’re looking for more plant-based options, we’ve got you covered! Grains like quinoa and legumes like black beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein.
In fact, snag this plant protein-packed recipe from our most recent (Even More) Awesome Challenge.