10 Super Yummy Lunches -
They're Diet Friendly Lunch Ideas, Too From
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Do you think you're destined to a lifetime
of red, white or green-boxed microwaveable lunches now that you've sworn off
fast food forever? Or maybe you feel you're stuck in a rut of turkey or chicken
breast on whole wheat with low-fat or no-fat mayo.
If so, youve got 'em... the dreaded
brown bag blues.
Almost every healthy eater falls victim to
this not-so-mysterious ailment at one time or another. What follows usually
ain't so pretty: after just a few weeks of following a healthy meal plan, you
get sick of traditional lunch staples and figure the only cure is slipping on
over to your favorite fatty burger-and-fry joints.
Well, hold the mayo and hold your horses.
Your days of successful dieting arent behind you yet. Variety is the
spice of life. Its also the key ingredient in sticking to a healthy
Delicious and dynamic lunches come in all
shapes and sizes. They also come with convenience, low cost and great taste,
according to Americas favorite energy coach, Pam Smith.
Smith, the author of The Smart Weigh
(Lifeline Press) and The Energy Edge (HarperCollins), has made a living
feeding hungry folks healthy foods. From NBA superstar Shaquille ONeal to PGA
pro Larry Nelson, the wellness coach has schooled a team of prominent athletes
and businessmen in the art of healthy living.
Whether you are packing lunch for you or
your children (they also need a well-balanced meal!), Smiths versatile
menu is the ideal way to go back to school or off to work. While some of her
quick picks require a microwave or thermos, others can be served cold in any
school lunchroom or workplace cafeteria.
Smith says one of the secrets to a great
lunch is to precede it with a well-balanced breakfast.
"The smartest tip for a power lunch is to
have a great breakfast!" she tells eDiets from her home base in Orlando,
Florida. "It gets your metabolism burning high and blood chemistry stabilized
for an energized day. Lunch picks up where breakfast left off: it fuels the
rest of your days activities.
"Like breakfast, lunch should contain a
healthy balance of whole-grain, complex carbohydrates and low-fat protein to
keep your performance and well-being at its peak and your appetite in control.
In addition, quick energy giving, nutrient-filled fruits and vegetables round
out the perfect power lunch."
Advance planning is a crucial part of
healthy eating. If you don't plan ahead, you're likely to end up eating in the
same old hot spots where a burger can cost you more than 590 calories and 34
grams of fat and a deli sandwich can tip the scale at more than 900 calories
and 60 grams of fat. The latter is about half the calories and all of the fat
the average woman should consume in a day.
Gulp... packing a lunch can greatly
benefit your weight loss efforts.
One thing thats important to
remember: how you pack lunch is just as important as what you
pack, especially when dealing with perishable foods. Sandwiches, soups and
pizzas require more TLC than baked chips, fruits or vegetables.
Lunches carried from home often sit in a
desk or locker until noon. That long wait at room temperature makes them a
perfect breeding ground for bacteria. So, pack wise to stay safe. Smith offers
these precautionary measures:
- Use hot soapy water on hands,
countertops, utensils and cutting boards before and after food preparation.
- Keep cold foods cold (below 60 degrees)
and hot foods hot (above 125 degrees). Use thermal containers and give them a
head start by chilling cold containers with ice water or a short freezer visit,
while you preheat hot containers with boiling water. Make sure the hot food is
very hot (for liquids, that's almost boiling) before going into the thermos.
- Invest in a mini-cooler or an insulated
bag. Freeze your juice box, water or beverage in a plastic container; it will
serve as a perfect cold pack to help keep your foods cool.
- If you make sandwiches in advance, wrap
them airtight and refrigerate (theyll keep for a day that way). You can
also make and freeze meat sandwiches assembly-line style in sandwich bags, then
store them in a large freezer-weight bag for up to a month. Pull one out of the
freezer in the morning, and it will be thawed by lunch. Keep your sandwiches
from becoming soggy by packing the little extras like tomato, lettuce and
condiments in separate plastic bags to spread or tuck in the sandwich just
Ready for 10 super-yummy and
super-quick lunches that'll awaken your taste buds and put to rest your view of
boring brown bag meals? Smith recommends you check out these 10 gourmet
1. Cheese Quesadillas
Sprinkle 2 ounces shredded part-skim cheddar cheese on a fat-free whole-wheat
tortilla. Add peppers, tomatoes and/or mushrooms, if desired. Drizzle with
salsa. Fold and brown in a nonstick skillet until cheese melts. Serve with
2. Baked Spaghetti
cooked whole-wheat angel hair pasta into a sheet pan. Top with one jar of
Classico Tomato Basil Sauce and sprinkle with one pound of shredded part-skim
mozzarella cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes on 375 degrees. One serving is
index card size (about 3"x5"). Freeze the remaining servings for up to 6 weeks.
Serve with "Salad in a Bag" with low-fat vinaigrette dressing.
3. Vegetable Tortilla Pizza
Brush a large whole-wheat flour tortilla with Classico's Tomato Basil Sauce and
top with chopped veggies of choice. Sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Bake until
lightly brown and crisp (about 5 minutes on 450 degrees). Serve with baby
4. Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Grill a marinated chicken breast (you can grab one from your freezer!). Serve
on a whole-grain bun with lettuce, tomato, salsa or Dijon mustard. Add a side
of fresh fruit.
5. Turkey and White Bean
Add pre-cooked smoked turkey breast to chicken stock, tomato and
Cannellini Beans. Serve with raw veggies and fresh fruit.
6. Quick Taco Salad
off canned black beans. Season with Creole seasoning and sprinkle shredded
part-skim cheddar cheese. Heat and serve over mixed greens. Top with crumbled
baked Tostitos and salsa. Serve with sliced oranges.
7. Even Quicker Greek Salad
Top mixed greens (from a bag!) with crumbled feta cheese, shredded Boars Head
turkey or ham, and drizzle with low-fat vinaigrette dressing. Serve with
toasted petite whole-wheat pita and a piece of fruit.
8. Cheese Baked Potato
Microwave potato for four minutes. Cut in two and top both halves with cooked
broccoli florets and Laughing Cow cheese wedges (2 per potato) or other
part-skim milk or soy cheese. Microwave until cheese melts. Top with nonfat
sour cream. Serve with salad and low-fat vinaigrette dressing.
9. Turkey Tortilla Roll
Spread a whole-wheat flour tortilla with Dijon mustard. Top with sliced Boars
Head turkey, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and shredded part-skimmed cheddar
cheese. Roll up burrito-style and serve with seasonal berries.
10. Tuna or Salmon Salad
Mix 1 small can of water-packed salmon or tuna with 1 tablespoon
lite mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, chopped red pepper, 1/2 diced apple,
and salt and pepper to taste. Stuff into whole- wheat pita lined with lettuce
leaves. Serve with remaining sliced apple.