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How to Pack a Low Sugar Lunch

If you’re not at home during the day, bringing your lunch (and sugar-free snacks) is the only way to ensure that you’re supplied with healthy food throughout the day. Here are some tips for planning and packing your lunch:

  • Plan ahead. When cooking fish, poultry, or meat for dinner, make some extra for a sandwich or salad for lunch the next day.

  • Pack a cooler. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator at work, stock a cooler with healthy food each morning.

  • Create an assembly line. If you’re responsible for making many brown bag lunches in the morning use a speedy assembly line method.

  • If you’ll need to heat your food, pack it in glass containers, not plastic. Although the chemicals released from plastics labeled as “microwave safe” are reported to be a tiny, “safe” amount, these chemicals are proven carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

  • Start a lunchbox club. If several of your co-workers or friends bring their own lunches, start a lunchbox club to save everyone time.

Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 8–10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

5-ounce can low-sodium light tuna in water

2 tablespoons chopped cucumber

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped celery

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 large tomatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Drain the tuna and combine it with the cucumber, onion, celery, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and herbs in a medium bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, and stir together with a spoon.

  3. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally. With a paring knife and spoon, core the tomatoes by scooping out approximately 75 percent of the insides. Discard the tomato innards.

  4. 4Fill the cored tomatoes with tuna salad and place them on a baking sheet. Heat them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and the tuna is warm.

Per serving: Calories 199 (From Fat 13); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 95mg; Carbohydrate 3g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 6g.

Vary It! Add a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese to each stuffed tomato before heating.

Almond Chicken Salad

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 10 ounces combined)

1/3 cup almond slivers

1/2 cup halved red grapes

1 tablespoon chopped red onion

1 tablespoon chopped celery

1/2 teaspoon tarragon

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 fresh lime

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

4 pita halves or 8 slices plain Melba toast

  1. Chop the cooked chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, almonds, grape halves, onion, celery, tarragon, and mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Halve the lime and squeeze in lime juice. Mix thoroughly.

  4. Refrigerate or serve immediately on pita bread or Melba toast.

Per serving: Calories 358 (From Fat 17); Fat 10g (Saturated 1.5g); Cholesterol 36mg; Sodium 410mg; Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 1.5g); Protein 26g.

Vary It! Serve the salad on a bed of mixed greens instead of pita or Melba toast.

Greek Salad with Lamb

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound ground lamb

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

4 cups mixed greens

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 medium cucumber, washed and sliced

1 cup kalamata olives

1 cup feta cheese

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

1/2 red onion

  1. Very lightly coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat it on medium heat.

  2. Brown the ground lamb in the skillet, breaking it up as it cooks, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain off excess grease.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, oregano, and lemon juice. Add the olive oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

  4. Split the salad mix into four plates and divide the ground lamb among the plates. Add a few slices of red onion on top and serve.

Per serving: Calories 485 (From Fat 35); Fat 12g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 192mg; Carbohydrate 3.5g (Dietary Fiber 0.5g); Protein 12g.

Vary It! For a vegetarian option, substitute 2 cups of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) for the ground lamb.

Vegetarian Wraps

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 wraps

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 medium red bell pepper, cored and sliced

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans or kidney beans

1/2 fresh lemon

2 large whole-wheat tortillas

2 cups fresh spinach or mixed greens

1/4 avocado, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

  1. In a medium skillet, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil over medium-high heat. After 2 minutes, add the bell pepper and continue cooking, stirring often.

  2. After about 3 to 5 more minutes, when the pepper starts to soften, add the beans to the skillet to warm them for 3 to 4 more minutes. Stir often.

  3. When the skillet veggies are fully cooked, remove the skillet from the heat. Squeeze lemon juice over veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Microwave the tortillas for a few seconds to make them easier to wrap and less likely to break. Lay the warm tortillas flat and cover them with the greens, avocado, and tomato. Leave a 1-inch border around the tortilla uncovered.

  5. Top the tortillas with the warm veggie mix. Wrap them carefully and serve.

Per serving: Calories 498 (From Fat 15); Fat 3g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 239mg; Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 5g.

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