Serving lunch in a homeless shelter is part of what keeps most homeless shelters busy, and the ability to know the type of lunch to serve doesn’t come easy for most homeless shelters.
Although not all homeless shelters serve lunch, it is important to note that lunch is an important aspect of our meal plan. It provides energy and nutrients to keep the body and brain working efficiently through the afternoon.
A healthy lunch should include a variety of foods from all food groups, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy.
Skipping lunch can have several negative consequences such as fatigue and decreased productivity, increased cravings for unhealthy snacks, and nutritional deficiencies among others.
By making sure to eat a healthy lunch every day, you can improve your energy levels, focus, and mood, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
In case you operate a homeless shelter and you are wondering how you can keep up with serving lunch to residents of the homeless shelter without being repetitive, then you are reading the right article. In this article, we will look are some of the best lunch ideas you should consider for your homeless shelter.
Best Lunch ideas for Homeless Shelter
Rice Cakes with Toppings
Rice cakes with toppings are no doubt one of the best lunch ideas for a homeless shelter. You can easily prepare rice cakes topped with nut butter, cottage cheese, or avocado. Trust me, this recipe is definitely a healthy and nutritious snack that residents of homeless shelters will appreciate.
Chicken and Rice Casserole
Chicken and rice casserole is easy to prepare, all you need to do is combine cooked chicken, rice, vegetables, and a creamy sauce for a satisfying casserole. This is indeed a healthy lunch for those in a homeless shelter.
Chickpea Salad Wraps
Chickpea salad wrap is a delicious, quick, convenient, and vegan recipe that is super easy to make. It has a Middle Eastern touch to it and is super tasteful and refreshing.
This wrap is filled with a humble, creamy chickpea salad. You can make it in no more than 10 minutes which makes it a favorite of many.
Vegetarian chili is ideal for a homeless shelter that has residents who are strictly vegetarians. You can prepare a hearty vegetarian chili with beans, tomatoes, and vegetables.
Vegetarian chili is rich in fiber and residents of homeless shelters need fiber in their diet. Fiber slows the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your body.
Turkey and Veggie Sandwiches
You can make sandwiches with lean turkey, fresh vegetables, and whole-grain bread. The easiest way to add both fiber and flavor to your turkey and veggie sandwich is by adding some veggies and/or fruit, and you can choose from tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, pickles/cucumbers, olives, sprouts, and avocado.
Turkey and veggie sandwiches are indeed a very healthy diet. This is so because turkey is low in fat and lower in calories than many other types of meat.
Pasta primavera (“spring Pasta” in Italian) is an American dish that consists of pasta in a cream sauce and fresh vegetables. To prepare a pasta primavera, you can toss whole-grain pasta with a variety of sautéed vegetables and a light tomato sauce.
Quinoa salad is a simple dish. You can use quinoa to add protein to a crunchy and classic Greek salad. You can dress yours with a tangy red wine vinaigrette, the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, beans, and chickpeas add the perfect texture to romaine. Quinoa salad is rich in B vitamins and minerals. It also has antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Vegetable and Lentil Soup
You can cook a nutritious soup with lentils, vegetables, and flavorful broth. This is indeed a healthy meal because Lentils have plenty of folate, iron, and vitamin B1, which also support your heart health. Lentils may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, by lowering bad cholesterol and blood pressure.
Egg Salad Wraps
Simple Egg Salad Wrap is easy to make for lunch or even dinner. It is like eating an egg burrito. One portion of this dish contains approximately 26g of protein, 34g of fat, and a total of 572 calories.
A mixture of hardboiled eggs, lettuce, vinegar, and a handful of other ingredients is all it takes to make this recipe so scrumptious.
Baked Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Chicken baked with Broccoli is a well-balanced, one-dish meal. It includes a healthy source of protein from the chicken, quality fats from the olive oil and nuts, and fiber-rich carbohydrates from the sweet potato, broccoli, and onion.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Grilled cheese and tomato soup is easy to prepare and you can serve classic grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of tomato soup.
Come to think of it, tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to several health benefits. They also add a juicy, acidic element to the sandwich that contrasts well with the cheesy, creamy goodness of the grilled cheese.
Rice and Bean Burritos
You can easily create burritos with rice, beans, cheese, and salsa. The burritos are made with basic ingredients: refried beans, spices, salsa, and cheese! Roll everything up in a flour tortilla and pan-fry (or bake) until warm and the cheese is nice and melty!
Serve with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and/or hot sauce for the perfect easy meal. Beans are full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, which makes the bean burrito a great option for a quick and healthy meal.
Salmon and Quinoa Bowls
Salmon and quinoa bowls are no doubt a good lunch option for residents of a homeless shelter. You can easily combine quinoa, grilled salmon, and a mix of roasted vegetables in bowls.
A healthy quinoa bowl complete with lemon-herb marinated salmon, garbanzo bean salad, tender quinoa, crisp greens, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and topped with homemade Tzatziki.
This Mediterranean Bowl with Salmon is hearty, healthy, and delicious, and makes for the perfect prep-ahead meal for residents of homeless shelters.
Vegetable and Tofu Stir-Fry
Tofu is a vegetable protein. Even though it is derived from a plant (soybeans) it is processed into a protein food. Therefore, tofu is grouped with meat and eggs.
However, tofu does not contain cholesterol making it a healthy protein option. A stir-fry is a great way to get a healthy dose of vegetables.
If you add a little lean protein, and a flavorful sauce, and serve your stir-fry over steamed brown rice, you have got a well-balanced meal. It is also quick to make if you use precooked brown rice.
Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas
You can make quesadillas with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and cheese. Quesadillas can be a very healthy choice! Homemade quesadillas can have all the food groups you need for an easy, healthy meal.
If you make a basic quesadilla, it already has protein, fat, and grains. If you add a serving of vegetables and beans then your quesadilla will include every food group for a healthy meal.
Mushrooms are a great source of vitamins like vitamin D, bringing an earthy flavor to the dish and boosting your immune system
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Pulled pork can be considered healthy depending on how it is prepared and served. It is a source of essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals.
However, its healthiness can be influenced by factors like the cut of pork used, the preparation method, and the ingredients used in sauces or marinades.
Caprese salad is an Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and sweet basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. It is usually arranged on a plate in restaurant practice.
Caprese salad is typically made by layering slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil, then seasoned to perfection, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sometimes a balsamic glaze.
Greek Salad with Chicken
Greek salad is a colorful salad loaded with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and olives topped with chicken and a creamy yogurt dressing. Greek salad is high in vitamins A, and C, potassium, and iron.
It also contains phytonutrients and antioxidants, which reduce the risk of health complications such as heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes help the body to reduce heart disease risk and cancer, and cucumbers help with weight loss and low blood sugar.
Bean and Vegetable Burrito Bowls
Vegetarian Burrito Bowls are easy to make and completely customizable within 20 minutes. Top the bowl with a spicy black bean, mushroom, and corn mixture, and load on your favorite toppings like avocado sauce, pico de gallo, and crunchy tortilla strips. This meal is packed with vegetables, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
This healthy chicken dish is great for a lunch meal at a homeless shelter when they are looking for something filling but on the lighter side.
You can stuff boneless skinless chicken breasts with any combination of cheese, sautéed vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes all work well), herbs, and even meat if you like.