The Importance of Lunch
Eating a healthy lunch should be one of the most enjoyable parts of your day. Whether you are young or old, a student, a professional or a stay-at-home caregiver, you need the nutritional benefits that can be found only by eating healthy foods. Even the lunch break itself provides a much needed needed mental rest, giving you time to consider your morning and clear your thoughts as you fuel up with nutrient-dense and delicious eats.
Lunch is a versatile meal and can range from a light salad to a hearty pasta dish. Healthy eating habits are easier to create and maintain if you cook your own foods since you can control the exact ingredients that go into each recipe. You can also tailor your foods to your individual taste, making sure each meal is always delicious. Also, it is much easier on your budget to make your own food, so packing your own lunch is a great habit to practice. The following recipes are easy to make, fresh, tasty and healthy.
Barley and Raw Vegetable Power Salad
Barley is a whole grain food and packs a heavy dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein. Stirred together with crunchy fresh vegetables, tangy dried cranberries and heart-healthy olive oil, this is one recipe that will leave you feeling full and satisfied throughout the whole afternoon. The high fiber content of the grain and vegetables will result in a steady level of blood sugar that will help to keep the afternoon munchies at bay.
- 150g (2/3 cup) pearl barley
- 2 oranges, peeled
- 1 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 250g cauliflower florets
- 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 2 green shallots, thinly sliced
- 280g mixed carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
- 50g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries
- ½ cup fresh mint (firmly packed), chopped
- ½ cup fresh coriander leaves (firmly packed), chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 200g Lemnos Reduced Fat Fetta, quartered
- Extra virgin olive oil, extra, to drizzle
- Fresh mint, extra, to serve
- Coriander leaves, extra, to serve
- Place barley in a saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Place in a bowl.
- Holding each orange over a bowl to catch any juice, cut along either side of the white membranes to remove orange segments. Reserve juice. Combine orange juice, lemon juice, oil and maple syrup in a bowl and season.
- Process cauliflower until finely chopped. Add cauliflower and zucchini to juice mixture. Set aside for 5 minutes to develop the flavours.
- Add orange segments, lemon rind, celery, shallot, carrot, cranberries, zucchini mixture and ¾ of the herbs to the barley. Season. Toss to combine. Divide among bowls. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Top with feta. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. Drizzle with extra oil and sprinkle with extra herbs.