If you pack your lunch each day, you’re likely already eating healthier than those who go out for fast food options. But can you do even better, without adding a long morning prep time to your routine?
Packaged (processed) meats you get from the grocery store are commonly used to make sandwiches. They’re convenient and help keep lunch prep easy and quick.
Whether you buy turkey, ham, bacon, bologna, pastrami, salami, or corned beef, processed meats are made by adding certain chemicals—like sodium nitrate—to the meat to enhance its color and extend its shelf life.
While experts say sodium nitrate isn’t a danger to your health, they believe it may be the process of smoking and salting the meat that could pose a health risk. What’s the bottom line? Much like sweet treats and foods high in fat, processed meats can be okay to eat every once in a while, but most of the time, consider swapping them out for something else.
When making dinner at night, cook more than you normally would. Then, you can save what you have left for your lunch the next day. Or, if you’re like me and prefer to not have the same thing two days in a row, set up a rotating schedule that gives you a day or two after eating a dinner before it becomes lunch. Just be sure to store things appropriately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Grilled chicken—or fish, or pork, or beef—can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten cold the next day on a sandwich. Spice it up by topping it off with your favorite sandwich fixings like lettuce, tomato, onions, and any other vegetables you like.
Try a pasta salad using whole wheat pasta and topped off with vegetables, lentils, and beans for plenty of protein and a lot of flavor.
How about our Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Salad to put in tacos? This meal is easy to bring as a lunch because it can be eaten cold. Simply prepare the mixture before you head out (or the night before) and store it in a resealable container. Bring along some taco shells, and you have a delicious lunch filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
A delectable way to cook shrimp.
1/2 cup lime juice
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons aciote seeds or equal parts turmeric and paprika
2 teaspoons allspice berries
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped, and quartered into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 sprigs fresh oregano
1 pound shrimp, peeled
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Soak the skewers in cool water for 30 minutes.
With the blender running, add the olive oil in a steady stream to create an emulsion.
Assemble the skewers: alternate 3 shrimp, 3 pineapple wedges, and 2 onion pieces. Transfer to a shallow pan.
Add three sprigs of fresh oregano to the pan of skewers once they are finished being assembled. Pour the achiote paste over the skewers evenly and marinate for 1-3 hours in refrigerator.
Prepare a charcoal grill to high heat.
Place the skewers on the grill and cook about 3-4 minutes a side.
Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
6 ounces tuna, canned
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
3/4 cup Greek olives, sliced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dry/fresh oregano
3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine tuna, red onion, parsley, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Mix and serve.
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 lime, juiced
15 ounces black beans, cooked
1 pound sweet yellow corn
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 mango, diced
2 large avocados, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
8 to 10 corn tortillas, 6-inch
Queso fresco for garnish
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, chili powder, lime zest, and lime juice. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, mango, avocado, cilantro, and quinoa. Stir to mix. Pour olive oil mixture over vegetables and stir to coat.
Serve with tortillas and queso fresco. Serves 8 to 10.
Categories: Food & Recipes