5 Immune-Boosting Lunchbox Ideas
In today's uncertain times, health has never been more critical. People are starting to switch their instant gratification for sustainable, long-term habits that pay off. While eating healthy is often easier said than done, it's not impossible when you know what you need to do and what works for each meal.
Eating for the immune system is essentially the same as eating for overall health. Without good immunity, you're at risk of developing a disease or illness and falling victim to one of the many viral outbreaks occurring today.
Lunch is perhaps the hardest meal to plan for, especially if you're busy and often on the go. But being able to pack a healthy lunch won't just keep you going until the clock hits five – it will also help ward off chronic disease and illness if you know what immune-boosting foods to include. So let’s go through some of our top immune-boosting lunchbox ideas!
What meals are good for the immune system?
When we’re talking what’s good for the immune system, a combination of whole foods is what will make your lunch choice a good option for your immune health. You want to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need, such as vitamins D, C, A, and E, and other nutrients that help with immunity, such as protein and zinc.
The good news is that you can throw together some easy immune-boosting lunch recipes that are chock-full of the nutrients you need!
Easy immune boosting recipes for on-the-go
The following recipes are not only delicious, but also pack a nutritional punch to help your immunity stay fighting fit.
1. Healthy "Lunchable"
Remember the days when you'd open up your lunchbox and see a Lunchable tucked in waiting for you? Well, just because you've grown up doesn't mean you can't still enjoy an adult version of that lunchtime delight! The Lunchable you make as an adult will be just as fun, but it will have all the nutrients your body craves.
Try packing your lunchbox with wholegrain crackers, fresh cheese slices, organic and nitrate-free turkey slices, and a little piece of dark chocolate. Wholegrains have a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which helps to reduce inflammation and boost the action of the immune system. The turkey will provide you with the protein your body needs to help strengthen the immune system, and the cheese offers probiotics that can also boost immunity significantly.
While dark chocolate is a treat, it also contains phenolic compounds. These help to improve how the immune system defends against attackers and encourages better overall resistance to pathogens.
2. Fruit Salad
Fruit contains antioxidants that lend a hand in clearing the body of free radicals. Antioxidants are also essential because they help to avoid oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress can throw off the regulatory processes of the immune system, you want to do all you can to ensure that your body doesn't enter that state.
Fruit salad is an easy and versatile lunch option for many reasons. You can choose which fruits you want to include based on personal preference. One of the most straightforward and beneficial fruit salads uses strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and oranges. Simply cut up all your fruit, mix it in a bowl, and squeeze a remaining orange over the mixture. This will provide you with antioxidants, vitamin C, and zinc to keep your body in fighting shape.
3. Veggie Pita
It's no secret that vegetables are good for the immune system. To ensure your veggie lunch is both satisfying and helps boost your immune system, you'll want to include:
- Dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale
- Red onion
Throw them together in a pita with some feta cheese, and you'll have a filling and healthy lunch option.
To make this lunch more interesting, you can create your own sauce by taking a plain Greek yogurt packed with protein and adding any spice you would like. If you're looking for something that tastes fresh and light, add some fresh dill or cucumber salt to your yogurt for an extra boost of creaminess. The yogurt will also add a great protein hit to round out this delicious lunch option.
4. Tuna salad
Tuna contains many nutrients that help the immune system function at its best, such as protein, zinc, and selenium. This light fish is also low in fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. To make a healthy tuna salad, add some fresh vegetables and spinach to a bowl with your tuna and toss with some olive oil and lemon.
Adding olive oil as a base dressing can further boost the immune system. This is because it possesses substances that help regulate the immune system and reduce chronic inflammation within the body. If a simple salad isn't enough to keep you full until dinner, add a wholegrain pita or flatbread and dip it in olive oil mixed with spices such as oregano, parsley, and garlic.
5. Yogurt Parfait
A yogurt parfait is the best option for those looking for a lighter lunch with a dessert feel. Instead of stopping at a fast-food chain for a less healthy version, you can make your own in little to no time. Start by taking plain Greek yogurt, which contains protein to aid in the function of the immune system. Layer your yogurt with berries, nuts such as almonds, and some honey for sweetness.
Adding honey is a great way to reap many immune benefits. The sweetener contains antioxidants to help balance free radicals, improves digestion for better gut immune response, and can help ward off infection because of its antibacterial properties. Plus, using nuts instead of store-bought granola for that extra crunch gives you nutrients such as vitamin E, iron, zinc, and protein, all of which play a role in your immune health.
Eating a healthy lunch isn't always the easiest thing to do, but if you can make the time to put together one of these simple and immune-boosting lunches, your body will thank you.