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The Problem Of Obesity & Healthy Lunch Ideas

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Obesity is a growing problem in many parts of the world and afflicts around 7% of the adult population. Unhealthy lifestyles, less exercise/no exercise, stress, depression and overall negligence is the major cause of an increase in the number of overweight individuals. Have some extra kilos to shed? Read on!

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How Should a Healthy Lunch be and What Kind of Nutrients be Included in it?

The meal that is had in the middle of the day or in the afternoon is termed as lunch. It is the meal that is consumed after a breakfast and usually fuels the body until the end of the day or until dinner. Lunch should not contain too few calories or too many calories. Less caloric intake can lead to the body venturing into starvation mode, whereas consuming too many calories can lead to the body becoming sluggish. It is recommended that an individual consumes at least 400 calories per lunch.

A healthy lunch should consist of a healthy dose of carbohydrates in the form of brown rice or whole wheat bread, proteins in the form of lean cuts of meat or fish, a generous serving of vegetables and fruits to supply the other essential nutrients & natural sugars.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 12

Serving Size: A generous scoop with salad tongs

Calories per Serving: 74 calories

Ingredients:

5 ounces spring mix green salad

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 minced clove of garlic

A pinch of sugar

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

3 sliced large heirloom tomatoes

½ cup chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup chopped pine nuts

3 tablespoons chopped onions

2 ounces fresh goat’s cheese

Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly mix oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar and oregano to prepare the dressing.
  2. In a large bowl place, the salad greens and add the dressing.
  3. Toss the greens to ensure even coating by the dressing.
  4. Top with sliced tomatoes and hand cut fresh basil.
  5. Garnish with chopped pine nuts, onion and crumbled goat’s cheese.

Nutritional Profile: 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 3mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fibre), 2g protein.

Crispy Mediterranean Vegetable Cakes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 Cake

Calories per Serving: 196 calories

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil divided

1 small chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

3 cups baby spinach

1 grated medium potato

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives

¼ cup chopped artichoke hearts

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper

2 eggs

¼ cup whole wheat flour

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper as per taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the onions and cook until golden brown. Next, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the spinach and cook until it has wilted and transferred to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In the large bowl, add the potato, oregano, tomatoes, olives, artichokes, and peppers and stir. Add the 2 eggs and final season with salt & pepper.
  3. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions and cook with the remaining olive oil in the pan, until brown & crispy on both the sides.
  4. Garnish with olives and fresh herbs and serve as individual slices.

Nutritional Profile: 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 82mg cholesterol, 171mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fibre, 2g sugars, 6g protein.

Skinny Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Calories per Serving: 288 calories

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons light balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 slices whole wheat bread

4 tsp light butter (½ tsp for each bread slice)

2 tablespoons reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup low moisture, part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese

12 tomato slices

½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (or to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200 °C and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. Place the tomato slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with salt, vinegar and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Spread butter on the bread slices sprinkle grated parmesan on 4 slices of bread on the buttered side.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, take them and set aside. Add oil to a large skillet and cook the 4 slices of bread with cheese on a medium flame.
  5. Add ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese on the bread, 3 slices of tomatoes and some basil. Top with the plain slices of bread with the buttered side up and cook until the cheese is golden brown.
  6. Garnish with a slight drizzle of vinegar and serve.

Nutritional Profile: 11g fat, 36g carbohydrates, 5g fibre, 18g protein, 8g sugar.

Italian Chopped House Salad with Dressing

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6

Serving Size: 3 cups

Calories per Serving: 270 calories

Ingredients:

2 hearts of Romaine, chopped (about 8 cups)

½ head of Iceberg lettuce, chopped (about 5 cups)

¼ small head red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)

1 cup pasta, cooked and cooled

1-pint cherry tomatoes halved

⅓ cup reduced-fat blue cheese

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup canola oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the fresh ingredients in a large bowl to make the salad.
  2. For the dressing blend all the ingredients in a blender except the oil.
  3. Slowly add the canola oil in steps so as to emulsify the mixture.
  4. Add the dressing and mix well. Serve.

Nutritional Profile: 14g fat, 3g saturated fat, 41mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, 4g fibre, 5g sugar and 17g protein.

Tuna Nicosia

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 449 calories

Instructions:

For the Salad,

2-3 cans of tuna

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

1 ¼ pounds small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

¼ cup Nicosia olives

For the Dressing,

¼ cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients:

  1. Place all the ingredients of the dressing in a mason jar and shake well.
  2. Place the onions in a bowl and add ¼ of the dressing.
  3. Cook the potatoes in a large pot with 1 tablespoon of salt till done (the fork should come out clean) Cut them into quarters and another ¼ of the dressing.
  4. Cook green beans in water with 1 teaspoon of salt for 3-5 minutes (they should be cooked but have some bite left to them).
  5. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter, flake the tuna and arrange as a mound in the centre of the dish on the bed of lettuce. Sprinkle onions and tomatoes around the mound of tuna. Make separate mounds of potatoes and green beans at the edge of lettuce bed.
  6. Arrange boiled eggs and olives as mounds on the platter and drizzle with remaining dressing.
  7. Serve warm.

Nutritional Profile: 20.4g total fat, 47.6mg cholesterol, 1,703.9mg sodium, 30.3 g carbohydrates, 8g fibre. 0.6g sugar and 39.2g protein.

Couscous and Vegetable Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 535 calories

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked and cooled couscous

6 green onions, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup cucumber, chopped

½ cup chickpeas, pre-cooked or canned, drained and rinsed

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

¾ cup olive oil

½ cup lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste

A pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the couscous as per package instructions, drain and allow it to cool.
  2. Combine the cooked couscous and vegetables in a large salad bowl.
  3. Blend together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, coriander, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Serve.

Nutritional Profile: 28g total fat, 456mg sodium, 61g carbohydrates, 6g fibre and 12g protein.

French Bean Salad

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: minutes.

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 66 calories

Ingredients:

Salt, as per taste

1-pound slender green beans ends trimmed

1 cup feta cheese crumbles

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

½ cup slivered almonds

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 large clove garlic, minced

Ground black pepper, as per taste

Obesity is a growing problem in many parts of the world and afflicts around 7% of the adult population. Unhealthy lifestyles, less exercise/no exercise, stress, depression and overall negligence is the major cause of an increase in the number of overweight individuals. Have some extra kilos to shed? Read on!

How Should a Healthy Lunch be and What Kind of Nutrients be Included in it?

The meal that is had in the middle of the day or in the afternoon is termed as lunch. It is the meal that is consumed after a breakfast and usually fuels the body until the end of the day or until dinner. Lunch should not contain too few calories or too many calories. Less caloric intake can lead to the body venturing into starvation mode, whereas consuming too many calories can lead to the body becoming sluggish. It is recommended that an individual consumes at least 400 calories per lunch.

A healthy lunch should consist of a healthy dose of carbohydrates in the form of brown rice or whole wheat bread, proteins in the form of lean cuts of meat or fish, a generous serving of vegetables and fruits to supply the other essential nutrients & natural sugars.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 12

Serving Size: A generous scoop with salad tongs

Calories per Serving: 74 calories

Ingredients:

5 ounces spring mix green salad

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 minced clove of garlic

A pinch of sugar

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

3 sliced large heirloom tomatoes

½ cup chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup chopped pine nuts

3 tablespoons chopped onions

2 ounces fresh goat’s cheese

Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly mix oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar and oregano to prepare the dressing.
  2. In a large bowl place, the salad greens and add the dressing.
  3. Toss the greens to ensure even coating by the dressing.
  4. Top with sliced tomatoes and hand cut fresh basil.
  5. Garnish with chopped pine nuts, onion and crumbled goat’s cheese.

Nutritional Profile: 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 3mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 1g fibre), 2g protein.

Crispy Mediterranean Vegetable Cakes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 Cake

Calories per Serving: 196 calories

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil divided

1 small chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

3 cups baby spinach

1 grated medium potato

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives

¼ cup chopped artichoke hearts

¼ cup diced red bell pepper

¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper

2 eggs

¼ cup whole wheat flour

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper as per taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the onions and cook until golden brown. Next, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the spinach and cook until it has wilted and transferred to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In the large bowl, add the potato, oregano, tomatoes, olives, artichokes, and peppers and stir. Add the 2 eggs and final season with salt & pepper.
  3. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions and cook with the remaining olive oil in the pan, until brown & crispy on both the sides.
  4. Garnish with olives and fresh herbs and serve as individual slices.

Nutritional Profile: 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 82mg cholesterol, 171mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fibre, 2g sugars, 6g protein.

Skinny Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Calories per Serving: 288 calories

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons light balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 slices whole wheat bread

4 tsp light butter (½ tsp for each bread slice)

2 tablespoons reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup low moisture, part-skim, shredded mozzarella cheese

12 tomato slices

½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (or to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200 °C and line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. Place the tomato slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with salt, vinegar and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Spread butter on the bread slices sprinkle grated parmesan on 4 slices of bread on the buttered side.
  4. Once the tomatoes are done, take them and set aside. Add oil to a large skillet and cook the 4 slices of bread with cheese on a medium flame.
  5. Add ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese on the bread, 3 slices of tomatoes and some basil. Top with the plain slices of bread with the buttered side up and cook until the cheese is golden brown.
  6. Garnish with a slight drizzle of vinegar and serve.

Nutritional Profile: 11g fat, 36g carbohydrates, 5g fibre, 18g protein, 8g sugar.

Italian Chopped House Salad with Dressing

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 6

Serving Size: 3 cups

Calories per Serving: 270 calories

Ingredients:

2 hearts of Romaine, chopped (about 8 cups)

½ head of Iceberg lettuce, chopped (about 5 cups)

¼ small head red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)

1 cup pasta, cooked and cooled

1-pint cherry tomatoes halved

⅓ cup reduced-fat blue cheese

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup canola oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the fresh ingredients in a large bowl to make the salad.
  2. For the dressing blend all the ingredients in a blender except the oil.
  3. Slowly add the canola oil in steps so as to emulsify the mixture.
  4. Add the dressing and mix well. Serve.

Nutritional Profile: 14g fat, 3g saturated fat, 41mg cholesterol, 229mg sodium, 23g carbohydrates, 4g fibre, 5g sugar and 17g protein.

Tuna Nicosia

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 449 calories

Instructions:

For the Salad,

2-3 cans of tuna

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

1 ¼ pounds small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

¼ cup Nicosia olives

For the Dressing,

¼ cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients:

  1. Place all the ingredients of the dressing in a mason jar and shake well.
  2. Place the onions in a bowl and add ¼ of the dressing.
  3. Cook the potatoes in a large pot with 1 tablespoon of salt till done (the fork should come out clean) Cut them into quarters and another ¼ of the dressing.
  4. Cook green beans in water with 1 teaspoon of salt for 3-5 minutes (they should be cooked but have some bite left to them).
  5. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter, flake the tuna and arrange as a mound in the centre of the dish on the bed of lettuce. Sprinkle onions and tomatoes around the mound of tuna. Make separate mounds of potatoes and green beans at the edge of lettuce bed.
  6. Arrange boiled eggs and olives as mounds on the platter and drizzle with remaining dressing.
  7. Serve warm.

Nutritional Profile: 20.4g total fat, 47.6mg cholesterol, 1,703.9mg sodium, 30.3 g carbohydrates, 8g fibre. 0.6g sugar and 39.2g protein.

Couscous and Vegetable Salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 0 minutes

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 535 calories

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked and cooled couscous

6 green onions, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup cucumber, chopped

½ cup chickpeas, pre-cooked or canned, drained and rinsed

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

¾ cup olive oil

½ cup lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste

A pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the couscous as per package instructions, drain and allow it to cool.
  2. Combine the cooked couscous and vegetables in a large salad bowl.
  3. Blend together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, coriander, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Serve.

Nutritional Profile: 28g total fat, 456mg sodium, 61g carbohydrates, 6g fibre and 12g protein.

French Bean Salad

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Marinating Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: minutes.

Serves: 4

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per Serving: 66 calories

Ingredients:

Salt, as per taste

1-pound slender green beans ends trimmed

1 cup feta cheese crumbles

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

½ cup slivered almonds

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 large clove garlic, minced

Ground black pepper, as per taste

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