At lunchtime, do you end up deciding where and what to eat at the last minute? Many of us are time-poor, where we may be working for a boss and given a set time to stop and eat. You may not have even an hour to spare for preparing and eating lunch. This is just one of the drawbacks of trying to eat healthy, especially if you are relying on food that is ready and within easy reach.
Whether you are health-conscious or budget-conscious, mindfully preparing your meals before your actual lunch hour period saves you from making poor food choices. It stops the last-minute decision-making of where to eat, and chances are it will also save you more time and money.
Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time is the ultimate secret weapon to sustaining a healthy diet.
If you’re trying to get healthy and watch what you eat, but also want to eat more than a lettuce leaf to try and curb your hunger, it is time to get acquainted with the Mediterranean diet. It can be easy to prepare, it’s filling, and most of all it has many health benefits.
There are so many foods you can eat for lunch! You can eat lots of different types of salads, there are lots of chicken dishes, cheeses, and you can also eat nuts. Don’t forget you can also have avocados, olives, fish, assorted bread (healthy ones of course) and more!
Here are three easy Mediterranean Diet meals we found on some recipe websites. Hopefully, they will broaden your mind as to what you can prepare for your next lunch meal.
Recipe from: The Mediterranean Dish
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
¾ tbsp ground cumin
¾ tbsp turmeric powder
¾ tbsp ground coriander
¾ tbsp garlic powder
¾ tbsp paprika
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 pcs boneless chicken thighs
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 pita pockets
3-ingredient Mediterranean salad
- Mix cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, sweet paprika, and cloves in a bowl.
- Set aside this shawarma spice mix.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt on both sides and make sure it’s dry.
- Then slice them into small bite-sized pieces.
- Put the chicken in a bowl and add the shawarma spices to coat.
- Add the onions, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Toss everything together.
- Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight (the marinating process can be skipped if you don’t have enough time).
- When ready, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge or let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes.
- Spread marinated chicken with the onions in one layer on a large lightly-oiled baking sheet pan.
- Roast for 30 minutes in 425 degrees F heated-oven, then remove.
- While chicken is roasting, prepare the pita pockets.
- Set aside the tahini sauce and 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad.
- When ready to serve, open pita pockets up, spread a little tahini sauce, and add chicken shawarma, arugula, Mediterranean salad, and pickle / olives (if you like).
- Serve while hot.
Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from EatingWell
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice (squeezed from 2 lemons)
1 ½ tsp pure maple syrup
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp paprika
2 cans no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed
½ cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers, drained
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
12 large Bibb lettuce leaves
¼ cup toasted almonds, chopped
2 tbsps chopped fresh parsley
- Whisk tahini, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and paprika in a large bowl.
- Add chickpeas, peppers, and shallots.
- Toss to coat.
- Divide the mixture among lettuce leaves (about 1/3 cup each).
- Top with almonds and parsley.
- Wrap the lettuce leaves around the filling and serve.
Mediterranean Couscous with Tuna and Pepperoncini
Recipe from: Pure Wow
1 cup chicken broth or water
1 ¼ cups couscous
¾ tsp kosher salt
2 5-ounce cans of oil-packed tuna
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup sliced pepperoncini
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup capers
Extra virgin olive oil for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
- In a small pot, bring the broth or water to a boil over medium heat.
- Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the couscous and cover the pot.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the tuna, tomatoes, pepperoncini, parsley, and capers.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Top the couscous with the tuna mixture and serve with lemon wedges.
If you plan your meal ahead of time, you are much less likely to eat that take-away carton of fried food or that sugary donut on the run.
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