Often times I make Mr. Hungry and I the same lunch (a salad, leftovers, or a salad with leftovers on it), but he is 6’2″ and his calories needs are a lot higher than mine. He also has a crazy fast metabolism, strength trains and plays a lot of basketball so his needs are even higher. Almost any meal in our house always starts with lean protein (lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or beans) and lots of non starchy vegetables. So, at first it was a lot of trial and error trying to find healthy options for lunch that were also filling enough for him. I was thinking that some of you might have the same issue when trying to make your hubby or maybe teenage kids full for lunch. So, I thought I’d share these five foods to add to their lunchbox to ensure they will have a healthy and satisfying meal!
5 Foods to Make a Healthy Lunch More Filling
Avocado’s are not only filling and feel indulgent, they are also a super food. Avocado’s contain phytosterols and PFA’s (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols) which are known to fight inflammation. In addition, avocados are primarily composed of a monounstaturated fat called oleic acid (similar to that of olive oil) which helps transport essential fat soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, D, E & K into the body. So, a little avocado helps the body absorb the vitamins from the green leafy vegetables better! I often throw a 1/2 to a whole avocado in with his lunch to help increase the filling factor.
2. Dried Fruit and Nuts
This one is especially for salads, I usually toss a small handful of nuts into his salad. I would estimate on average an ounce to an ounce and half goes in with it. This supplies anywhere from 150-250 extra calories in his salad, plus healthy fats that will help keep him fuller for longer. The fun thing about nuts is it’s easy to vary the different kinds from week to week so it doesn’t get boring. Last week it was walnuts and this week it’s cashews, always keeps him guessing and looking forward to it.
I also throw in some dried fruit because he doesn’t really dig fresh fruit on his salad, and it will provide him an energy punch to get through his afternoon! I usually limit this to a couple tablespoons because although it’s natural sugar, dried fruit is still very concentrated in sugar. I want to give him energy, not create a sugar high, followed by a crash.
3. Real Calorie Salad Dressing
For a long time Mr. Hungry was using my same low calorie vinaigrette salad dressings (about 40 calories per 2T or less) and wondering why he was STARVING by the time he got home. At first I started just adding olive oil along in with the dressing. I noticed the salads held him over a bit longer, so then I decided to just start buying him his own salad dressing. I noticed right away he was looking forward to his salads again and he started talking about how filling his lunch was. It took a couple of tries to find one he really liked with heart healthy oils like canola or olive oil in it. Lately he loves this Caesar Romano Dressing from Trader Joe’s (180Calories for 2T).
I don’t use this one every day but when he started to get sick of avocado I started rotating back and forth (avocado one day and cheese the next). The one “foodie” thing I can get him to do with me is pick out new cheeses at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Although he might not pick the “healthiest” cheese, bacon cheddar being the top of his list, the variety is good and keeps him looking forward to a lunch full of tons of veggies and lean meat.
5. Beans, Brown Rice, or Cooked Quinoa
I don’t have a lot of time to put meals together, but if I’m worried about a lunch not being filling enough I’ll thrown in cooked quinoa, cooked brown rice, or some canned beans (rinsed and drained) with his salad or meal. Beans and whole grains are filled with fiber and protein which help increase the filling factor and add nutrients! ( I would also add sweet potatoes and winter squash to this list, but Mr. Hungry doesn’t really dig those things. However, they are good options!)
In addition to packing lunches with the the additions mentioned above, we also started buying Larabars and mixed nuts for him to snack on. Just in case his healthy breakfast or healthy lunch doesn’t quite hold him over long enough to get through the day!
Questions of the day:
What are your tips to make a healthy lunch more filling?
What is your favorite lunch to bring with you to work?
I will never get sick of this BBQ Chicken & Peppered Turkey Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Date Salad with Skinny BBQ Ranch Dressing!