By Dan DeFigio

Often, lunch is the make-or-break meal that determines what you’ll feel like during the rest of the day. Poor choices at lunch leave you with low energy for the afternoon and an unstoppable appetite by the time dinner rolls around. Following are two tasty salad ideas that will help you fight sugar addiction and give you the energy to make it through the afternoon.

Quinoa and Edamame Salad

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/kirin_photo]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/kirin_photo

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 3–4 servings

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa

2 cups (about 10 ounces) frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (or 2 teaspoons dried)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups fresh spinach or bibb lettuce

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve or fine strainer. Toast the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat when the quinoa begins to crackle.

  2. After the quinoa toasts approximately 5 minutes, pour the vegetable broth into a large saucepan or small stockpot and bring it to a boil over high heat.

  3. Add the quinoa to the boiling broth and return it to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 8 minutes (the quinoa won’t be fully cooked).

  4. Add the edamame and mushrooms. Cover and cook for 8 minutes longer, until the edamame and quinoa are tender.

  5. Halve the lemon and squeeze juice from one half (about 2 tablespoons) into a small bowl. Add the tarragon, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and whisk together.

  6. Pour the lemon seasoning mix into the quinoa pot and add the walnuts. Mix thoroughly with a fork.

  7. Plate each salad with a bed of spinach or lettuce. Scoop the edamame/quinoa mix onto each bed.

Per serving: Calories 390 (From Fat 12); Fat 3.5g (Saturated 0.5g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 44mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 2.5g); Protein 5g.

If you’re not a fan of edamame, substitute frozen peas or lima beans.

Chicken Broccoli Salad

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/DebbiSmirnoff]

Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/DebbiSmirnoff

Prep time: 10 minutes plus refrigeration time

Cook time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (4 to 6 ounces)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 cups chopped broccoli florets

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 Fuji apple, cored and chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries (no added sugar)

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Coat a small skillet with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.

  2. Chop the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and sauté them until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir often.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and mayonnaise together until well blended.

  4. In a large bowl, mix the broccoli, walnuts, carrots, apple, and cranberries.

  5. Pour the mayonnaise mix over the broccoli mix. Salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

  6. Add the chicken and toss again.

  7. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and serve cold.

Per serving: Calories 263 (From Fat 18); Fat 8g (Saturated 1.5g); Cholesterol 16mg; Sodium 147mg; Carbohydrate 8g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 4g.

Sauté the chicken in 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. For a less-crunchy variation, use steamed broccoli instead of raw.