my favorite healthy lunch

My standard favorite lunch, by far!

Stop blaming salads for being boring… It’s not their fault, it’s yours!

🙂

No, really, though.

Here’s the easy steps, and you can grab and go.

1. Start with interesting greens

spinach and red leafy romaine

spinach and red leafy romaine

Skip the boring iceberg lettuce, or its sister- romaine lettuce. They’re boring, lack taste, lack color, and lack nutrients. Kale. Spinach. Swiss chard. Arugula. Any dark, leafy green, really. They pack more flavor and nutrients than standard iceberg lettuce. Have you ever complained that iceberg didn’t fill you up? That’s no surprise- iceberg is predominantly water, with little nutrients. And a cup of iceberg lettuce is about the same calories as a cup of any dark leafy green. My personal favorite is Trader Joe’s Power of the Greens (it’s $2.99, and includes baby spinach, baby chard, and baby kale). I’ve also been on a “buy a bag of greens from the farmer’s market” kick. Not a bad kick to be on. Spoiler- kale is delicious and abundant in North Carolina- so I buy it a lot.

2. Add something crunchy

The whole bag is like 15 calories!

The whole bag is like 130 calories!

I know, this sounds weird. But that’s because you get to choose your crunchy. Personally, I like nuts and/or apples. Be aware that nuts contain a lot of calories per punch, even just a handful (or 1/4 cup) adds about 200 calories (but just a few nuts go a long way. Motto for life too…) Another thing to remember is you want raw, unsalted nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios are great!). When choosing nuts, it’s best to choose unsalted. I had no idea I liked pistachios until I tried TJ’s unsalted nutmeats. So so yummy!

Not only delicious because Steven Colbert says so...

Not only delicious because Steven Colbert says so…

    toppings galore!

3. Add something sweet

This is where I typically add a tiny amount of dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, etc). Again, I go to Trader Joe’s because they have so many options, in the $3 to $8 price range. I also like fresh strawberries or blueberries. The key to making this one on the go is pre-cutting the strawberries that morning or the night before, putting them in a separate ziploc, and keeping them refrigerated (or cool in a cooler). Then add them to the salad later. I’ll also include tomatoes in this category, even though they aren’t “sweet”

4. Add something soft

For you, the dried fruit may be soft enough. For me, I sprinkle goat cheese over the top (it’s my FAVE). Bleu cheese can be nice too, if you have enough sweet o even out the tartness of the bleu cheese. Honestly, I need the candied pecans, which can feel extravagant sometimes 🙂

5. Bring your salad dressing

This is a big one, because if you pour salad dressing over in the morning, it can RUIN your greens. The acid in the dressing causes the greens to wilt, and actually causes the greens to lose some of their nutritional value (imagine your high fiber cereal sitting in milk for that long). Instead, bring a small bottle, or small container and pour it on right before you eat it.

all together now!

all together now!

So, you got all the steps?

Here’s what I chose for today (working the steps…)

Power of Greens mixture, handful of pistachios, sprinkle some goat cheese (maybe an ounce), grabbed some strawberries at work, and a few dried fruit mix (blueberry, cranberry, cherry, raisins) on top. All drizzled in a raspberry champagne vinaigrette from Trader Joes. Et voila!

 

 

Power of Greens: 30 cals
Pistachios (1/8 cup): 75 cals
Goat cheese: 60 cals
Strawberries (4 strawberries= 1 cup) : 50 cals
Dried fruit mixture (pinchful): 50 cals
Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette: 40 cals

Total:265 calories

Delicious, and packed with nutrients. What more could a girl ask for?

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