With most of society under a coronavirus lockdown, students of all ages (from toddlers in preschool to seniors in continuing education programs) are studying from home, plus many parents are working from home making daytime as busy as ever! The last thing any parent or caregiver wants to worry about are lunches. We’re here to help with these immunity lunches which are quick to prepare and have the added benefit of immune-boosting ingredients.
Each lunch is quick and simple to prepare, perfect for frazzled parents, grandparents and caregivers. More importantly, each of these immunity lunches contain at least one superpower ingredient that will strengthen your immune system and enhance mental performance and cognition. They’re so tasty and healthy, you might just make them for the whole family!
1. Tuna Pasta Salad (10 minute prep)
Tuna (and other types of fatty, cold-water fish) are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. If you are what you eat, this meal will make you smarter!
Eating more of these fats led to a “significant increase” in brain activation, reports one study.
Another study found that these fats help activate the cells in both your adaptive and your innate immune system.
Pasta shapes and colors can make this dish fun and irresistible for younger kids (we opted for colored rotini here, but bowtie pasta is also whimsical!), while the vibrant flavors will pique the interest of even the oldest member in your family.
1 lb. colored rotini pasta (or other wholemeal pasta)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup dill pickle, diced
2 5 oz. cans tuna, drained of liquid
1/2 lemon juiced
1 cup mayo
1 tablespoon dried dill
Boil the pasta according to package. Once done, add frozen peas and let them cook for 45 seconds before draining the entire pot into a colander. Rinse with cold water to cool the pasta.
While it’s cooling, mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the cooled pasta and peas, mix thoroughly and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
2. Beans-and-Greens Sandwich (5 minute prep)
Forget everything you know about a boring can of beans. This vegan-approved sandwich serves up bold flavors that kids and adults will enjoy, and it’s the perfect way to sneak some fresh produce into your family’s diet. Beans are one of the best plant-based sources of zinc. Not only is zinc a popular remedy for the common cold, but the zinc in beans also helps increase your body’s overall count of white blood cells, ramping up your defenses against illnesses.
1 15-oz. can of white kidney beans
2 tbsp sesame oil
Fresh juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dried fennel
4 slices dark rye bread, toasted
5 oz. vegan feta, sliced (available in most health food stores and some supermarkets)
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Toss all the ingredients, except the feta and bread and cucumber, into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Toast your rye bread (any kind of bread will do, but hearty rye really brings out the flavors in this recipe), top a slice of bread with a slice of feta and a few slices of cucumber, smear with a hearty dollop of the bean mix, and top with the other piece of bread.
3. Lasagna Soup (20 minute prep)
This recipe is genius, for several reasons.
First, it smells and tastes like lasagna, without the tedious task of layering lasagna in a baking dish.
Second, it’s ultra portable, perfect for throwing into a sealed Mason jar or a thermos and enjoying on the run (or even the back yard for now).
Third, it’s extremely rich in lycopene. This red antioxidant stimulates your immune system. It’s also been found to help protect the mind and shield your cognitive performance, especially as it relates to aging-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. Fourth, the meatballs are high in protein (needed for the production of immune system cells) and iron (essential for healthy blood).
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups water
3 Tbsp lean pepperoni sausage, diced
¼ tsp dried oregano
3 cups egg noodles
18 frozen meatballs
Boil the broth and other liquids together, then reduce to a simmer and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 10 minutes or until the meatballs and noodles are cooked. Enjoy immediately, with a heaping handful of optional grated cheese for extra decadence.
Feeling Hungry? Keep Reading for More Immunity Lunches and Meal Ideas: