Tired of having the same things for lunch day after day? Try these suggestions for low calorie, healthy lunches for work or home:
- Create your own burrito with a whole wheat, high fiber tortilla. Spread on refried beans, 1/4 cup shredded skim milk mozzarella cheese, then add shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions and peppers to your liking.
- Pick a can of a favorite soup, but one with no more than 300 calories. Enjoy it with some whole grain crackers and a cut vegetable such as carrot sticks or broccoli florets.
- Start with an 8-ounce container of low fat or non-fat yogurt. Mix in 1 cup dry, whole grain cereal, and it's ready to eat. Or if you like, you can add some fruit to the top or mix it in.
- Make your own salad mix from lettuce, chopped vegetables, and legumes such as garbanzo or kidney beans. Add an ounce of cubed cheese if you like. In a separate container, measure 2 tbsp of low fat or non-fat salad dressing. My favorite is flavored rice vinegars. Add the dressing and toss just before eating.
For something really fast, you can eat leftovers from the night before, or a single serving meal that is no more than 300-500 calories. And with all of these lunches, you can pack a piece of fruit to have as dessert or for a snack later in the day.
No matter what you throw into a brown bag, it's likely to contain fewer calories, fat and sodium than anything you could select from a fast food restaurant, cafeteria or vending machine. By taking a few minutes to pack a healthy lunch, you'll enjoy being able to improve your health and your waistline.
Megan Porter, RD