Simple and healthy lunch ideas for work: Office lunches are a chore, the novelty of the canteen food dies down when you have the same insipid chicken curry and beef tehari every day. There is no getting around it, and packing your own lunch is the only way to stay on track with your health goals. You can also opt for ready-to-eat box meals, which are now available in Dhaka, but it is preferable if you can pack simple lunches for work. You need a well-balanced meal even for lunch, and it should include lean protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates and vegetables, and healthy fats. Try these simple recipes for next week’s work lunches.
Curried chicken salad with toasted almonds Two cups of cooked chicken are used in this well-seasoned chicken salad. To make this, use store-bought chicken breast, roast your own chicken, or poach some chicken breasts. To prepare chicken breasts, cover 2 to 3 boneless chicken breast halves with water in a saucepan. Bring the chicken to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Put the chicken on a plate to cool off. Continue with the recipe after the chicken has been cooled.
This recipe is delicious in pita pockets, but it would also be delicious on lettuce or salad greens.
2 cups cooked chicken, diced1 rib celery, diced
2 scallions, thinly sliced, optional
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup golden raisins
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ to ¾ cup mayonnaise, or to taste
½ to 1 tsp curry powder, or more, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the diced chicken, celery, onions, scallions, almonds, and raisins. Toss with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice. To moisten, add more mayonnaise as needed. Blend in the curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve on lettuce wraps, pita pockets, or sandwich rolls. It makes an excellent healthy work lunch.
Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches: Waldorf salad is a side dish that typically consists of chopped apples, celery, and walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing. This sandwich combines the salad with two slices of brown bread to create a delicious and unique meal. It’s also a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken, whether light or dark meat. You can flavour this salad with honey mustard or yoghurt or mayonnaise. Thyme and basil are two herbs that would be delicious in this dish.
If you want to pack this sandwich in a lunch box, it’s best to do so unassembled. Place the salad in a container and the lettuce in a plastic sandwich bag.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 to 2 chopped, unpeeled apples
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries, or dried cherries
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 slices bread
Method: Gather up all of the ingredients for the Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, apples, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, mayonnaise, yoghurt, honey mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Combine thoroughly. Make bread and lettuce sandwiches.
A guide to healthy food habits for your children
World Food Day is observed to highlight the importance of an inclusive society where everyone, including children, must not be left behind when it comes to food security. In line with this theme, we need to make sure our children are growing up healthy and have access to nutritious foods, whether at home or school.
Ask any parent and they will say how difficult it is to develop healthy eating habits in their child, especially the school-going ones as they are easily enticed by unhealthy, ready to eat, junk foods instead of nutritious meals. To help maintain healthy food habits, we recommend four essential food groups for the children down below.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, water, fruits and vegetables are an essential source of nutrient that helps children from diseases later in life. We know for most children fruit-and-vegetable heavy meals can be unappealing, but we must encourage them to try out fruits and vegetables of different colours and tastes, freshly sourced or cooked.
“I regularly give my son almond and cashew nuts in addition to fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, and grapes. Children like fruit salads as its quite colourful and nutritious, so I often make that for my son, along with putting vegetables like carrot, and cucumber in his meals,” said Nusrat Ali Hasnat, a homemaker and mother of a seven-year-old son residing in Bashundhara.
Children need energy to grow, develop and learn, and grain foods like pasta, rice, corn, oats, and barley are essential to help children achieve the necessary growth. The best thing about whole grain foods is that they keep children full for a long time and in turn, make them feel energetic, thanks to having a low glycaemic index.
A great source of protein and calcium, dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are ideal healthy food options for children. Children should be encouraged to have different kinds of dairy regularly. This can include drinking milk, cheese slices, or a bowl of yoghurt.
“I actually include a lot of dairy as part of my son’s regular foods, like making cheese sandwiches. To maintain a healthy weight, I try to include butter in his food whenever possible,” stated Nusrat.
Protein-rich foods are very important for growth and muscle development of children. Foods like lean meat, fish, chicken, beans, eggs, and lentils are high in protein as these also contain many other useful vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish and lean red meat are especially important for children’s learning and brain development.
Protein-rich foods are especially ideal for children’s tiffin, as they need to be in school for a long time. Healthy protein-rich food ensures that they are not devoid of energy and have all the essential nutrients outside of the home.
When asked what her ideal tiffin for her son looks like, Nusrat said, “In addition to fruit salad and vegetables, I like to make foods like burgers for my son’s tiffin. For the patty, I use chicken breast pieces with some salt and pepper and marinate them the night before, so that the patty will be delicious and healthy!”
Essential drinking and foods that should be consumed less
When it comes to healthy drinks, just sticking to plain water can do the trick and along with the necessary food elements, it is fortified with fluoride for strong teeth. In addition, fruit juices can be great for children, as long as it is homemade and not too full of sugar.
Foods that contain lots of salt and sugar put children at risk of health conditions like childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Also, overconsumption of these foods leads to unhealthy weight gain.
Of course, children being the free spirit they are, it can be downright impossible to stop them from consuming junk food. So instead of outright forbidding these foods, we have to make sure children will eat them only from time to time, under parental supervision, and even then, foods high in salt, sugar, and saturated food should be consumed in limited quantities.