Lunch for Productivity

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WORDS Jessica Oxford

Constantly checking the clock – the change in time seems minimal – and sleep plaguing your thoughts, you find your attention dwindling and you are becoming increasingly unfocused. The other students around you are upbeat and taking notes. What is their secret?

As it turns out, you may be suffering from the crippling phenomena known as ‘three thirtyitis’. Despite being lampooned in several advertisements, ‘three thirtyitis’ is a common problem that reduces efficient and competent students to a person desperate for sleep and food.

To celebrate attending another semester of university, here are some healthy, simplistic lunches to stave off these symptoms and help you have a productive day:

1)  Sandwiches
It’s easy to see sandwiches as run-of-the-mill and associated with your primary school days but, with the proper filling, sandwiches can provide a nutritious and satisfying meal.

With grain or wholemeal bread at the ready, placing avocado, cucumber, grated carrots, tomatoes and lettuce with a choice of meat provides the essential nutrients for lunch. Meat choices include turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, salami and even smoked salmon. Vegetarians need not add this particular filling but can add extra avocado and lettuce to even this out and still receive the same amount of energy.

This also works for wraps.

2)  Pasta
Pasta can sometimes feel heavy on the stomach, so with this lunch meal, it would be better to lower the portion. To make it easier, prepare the pasta the night before and reheat it when you are ready to eat.

There are many different types of pasta, including penne and fettuccine, so it is best to pick the form that you feel comfortable eating. Some delicious and healthy options to include in the dish include sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, cooked chicken and mushrooms, among others. A great choice would be bosciola with shallots, mushrooms and small amount of bacon. Of course, pasta isn’t complete without a delectable sauce, so the pasta can topped with a tomato basil or creamy white sauce. The carbohydrates, in particular, from this meal will sustain a person throughout the day.

3)  Soup
Soup is a great, warming dish in winter. It is also easy to make, store and bring into university. Just like with pasta, it is easier to prepare this dish the night before and reheat the soup once lunch time rolls around.

The consistency of the soup depends on what ingredients you wish to add to it. For those who enjoy a smooth, almost creamy texture, a pumpkin soup with a dash of nutmeg does the trick whereas a hearty minestrone soup with beans, onions, celery, carrots and tomatoes is a great match for those who prefer a thicker texture. All in all, for a winter lunch, soup fits the bill and satisfies pangs of hunger.

4)  Salad
Contrary to popular belief, a salad may be a filling lunch meal to eat. Simple, easy and definitely good for the heart, a salad can be more than just lettuce.

Adding some diced bacon bits, sliced avocado, chopped tomatoes, cucumber and a tangy salad dressing to a lettuce base provide not only necessary nutrients but a delicious taste. If you want to add a bit more substance, croutons fill out a salad nicely and red onions provide a tasty tang – but be prepared to chew a mint afterwards.

There are many varieties to lunch meals; hopefully these simple and healthy dishes give you inspiration to create your own work of art and power on through the day.