Eating Healthy: Pack Your Lunch

Eating Healthier: Less Processed Meats at CHEFScatalog.com
January 7, 2014

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?

Eating Healthier: Less Processed Meats at CHEFScatalog.com 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.

A few tasty alternatives

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.

Make a lunch salad from last night's dinner at CHEFScatalog.com Waring Pro Meat Grinder at CHEFScatalog.com 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.

  • Sandwich spread: Create a sandwich filling by putting meat and other options (pickles, capers, green onions, etc.) into a food processor or meat grinder. Then stir in mayonnaise and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve between whole wheat bread or wrapped in a tortilla with some cheese and other vegetables.
  • Turn dinner into a salad: Make some Caribbean Grilled Shrimp (recipe below) for dinner and save some for lunch the next day. Mix the shrimp into a salad and combine with your favorite veggies.
  • Try tuna: Canned tuna is easy to put on bread for a quick bagged lunch. Add mix-ins like mayonnaise, peppers, or pickles, and give yourself a protein boost by adding in a diced hard-boiled egg. Tuna contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower your risk for heart problems like stroke and heart attack. Our Mediterranean Tuna Salad recipe combines artichoke hearts, Greek olives, red onions, parsley, garlic cloves, fresh oregano, lemon juice, and salt and pepper for a flavorful lunch that contains no processed foods.

Other proteins

Meat is delicious and offers plenty of protein to help your body grow and keep you full. But there are other ways of getting protein into your daily diet.Frigoverre Glass Storage Containers at CHEFScatalog.com

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.


Print Caribbean Grilled Shrimp Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comCaribbean Grilled Shrimp

A delectable way to cook shrimp.

Print Caribbean Grilled Shrimp Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients


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

Cooking Instructions

Soak the skewers in cool water for 30 minutes.

Vitamix Series 300 Blender at CHEFScatalog.com Add lime juice, garlic, achiote seeds, allspice berries, oregano, salt, and peppercorns to a blender. Blend until smooth.

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.

Print Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comMediterranean Tuna Salad

Print Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

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

Cooking Instructions

In a large bowl combine tuna, red onion, parsley, Greek olives, artichoke hearts, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Mix and serve.

Print Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Tacos Recipe at CHEFScatalog.comSpicy Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Tacos

Print Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Tacos Recipe at CHEFScatalog.com Ingredients

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

Your Turn: Healthier Meat/Protein options for your lunch at CHEFScatalog.com Cooking Instructions

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.

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Tags: Lunch, Meat, Healthy Eating

Categories: Food & Recipes