I always find lunches the most annoying meal of the day:
- Who wants to wake up early enough (or be diligent enough to make it the night before) to pack a decent lunch for work?
- What yummy foods fit in a lunch box AND satisfy needs for protein, carbs, and yummy taste?
- And don't even tell me to make a sandwich... I got sick of those by senior year of high school!
Leftovers are always a good option, especially if you have access to a microwave.
- The salsa/topping you made for the tacos the night before can easily be put on top of lettuce for a satisfying (and easy to assemble!) salad. To stay clean, drizzle on homemade salad dressing (see recipe below).
- Soups and stews are hearty and a great way to get your veggies and fiber in (read: keeps you fuller for longer). Pack some veggies or whole grain crackers to dip in black bean hummus as a side (see recipe below).
- A yogurt parfait is not only a good breakfast option, but also a quick and satisfying lunch choice... especially with the wholesome, clean muffin recipe below.
Egg ScrambleFor days you work from home, or on the weekends, egg scramble is my personal favorite. I like an English muffin topped with hummus on the side.
Directions: Chop whatever veggies you have in the fridge (tomato, bell pepper, onion/green onion, jalapeno, mushrooms, and spinach are my favorite). Saute them for a couple minutes in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. In a bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 2 egg whites with a splash of milk. Pour eggs into skillet and scramble eggs with veggies until done. (Note: Add the spinach last, if using). Season with pepper and any other spices. For a variation, adding in loose leaf green tea leaves adds a yummy flavor (and antioxidants!).
Italian Salad Dressing
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Little less than 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves pressed or minced garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh parsley
Black Bean Hummus: From Epicurious
This recipe goes great on top of pita bread or with veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, and red bell pepper dipped in.
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
3/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine ingredients in a processor until smooth. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 3 1/2 cups. *I also like to add one chopped jalapeno to spice it up a bit.
Oatmeal Banana Flax Muffins: From Shape Magazine
These muffins are simply delicious! I've had them all week for breakfast, lunch, or snack. (Hubby approved too!)
Ingredients: Makes 6 to 8 muffins.
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg white
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 small banana, mashed
1/2 cup milk (preferably almond or skim)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with six paper muffin cups. (I used Pam spray instead, and this worked fine as long as you coat the sides.) Combine whole wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, flax seeds, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together egg white, oil, vanilla, banana, and milk. Gradually mix flour mixture into egg mixture until batter is combined. Divide the batter into the six muffin cups. (Mine made 8.) Bake for 15-18 minutes.