Weekday lunches are difficult. We often do not have access to a full kitchen and unhealthy options are tempting. Luckily, you can save calories and money with a little planning. Below are three delicious ideas for lunches that are nutritious and easy to prepare.
Hummus Vegetable Sandwich
Split a 3-inch whole wheat baguette and spread it with 2 tablespoons of hummus. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese on the hummus. Top it with 4 slices of cucumber and 2 sliced rings of red bell pepper. Calories: 241
Make it your own: Using different breads for your sandwiches is a fun way to switch things up. Instead of a baguette, try a whole wheat bagel, gluten-free bread, or a pita. Also, a sandwich can feel like a whole new meal when you use a tortilla and turn it into a wrap!
Tex-Mex Vegetable Salad
Fill your bowl with 2 cups of romaine lettuce and a ½ cup of shredded green or red cabbage. Top your greens with 2 tablespoons of cooked corn and a ¼ cup of canned black beans that have been sprinkled with ½ teaspoon of ground cumin. Add ¼ cup of diced fresh mango, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, ¼ cup diced fresh tomato, and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro. Finish it off with low-sodium citrus vinaigrette . Calories: 261
Make it your own: If you like spicy food, add a sprinkle of hot sauce over your salad, or add some pickled jalapenos. Pineapple is a good substitute for the mango. Feel free to use dried fruit instead of fresh fruits, just be sure to check the nutrient label. Most dried fruits have added sugar and more calories than fresh varieties. For added protein, this salad goes well with a baked salmon fillet or a grilled chicken breast.
Whole Wheat Couscous Salad
Combine ¾ cup of cooked whole wheat couscous with a ¼ cup diced red bell pepper and 2 chopped green onions. Next add a ¼ cup diced white button mushrooms and a ¼ cup diced cucumber. In a small dish, whisk together 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and a ½ teaspoon of curry powder. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper. Pour this dressing over the couscous and toss to coat all the ingredients. Top with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts before serving. Calories: 420
Make it your own: You can add more protein to this grain salad by substituting a ¼ cup cooked beans for a ¼ cup of the couscous. Canned fish such as tuna or salmon also work well in cold grain salads. Adding sliced cherry tomatoes and using a different spice such as ground cumin is a great way to reinvent this recipe!