I hear you! Below are some ideas for you:
Be sure to vary the fare a bit. Here are 7 easy and healthful ideas to inspire you.
Pick a Peck of Pita Pockets
When you weary of conventional sandwiches, try zesty do-it-yourself pita pockets. Start with whole wheat pita bread. For the filling: Chop up half a cup of your favorite veggies -- carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, sweet peppers, or a mixture. Add a sprinkling of shredded reduced-fat cheese. Then stir it all together with salsa. To prevent sogginess, seal the filling in a reusable container and fill the pita pocket when it's time to eat.
For another variation on the standard sandwich, slice a big whole grain bagel in half and spread one side thinly with light cream cheese. Then lay on all the flavorful, nutritious toppings you find lurking in your refrigerator or pantry: tomato slices, diced jalapeno peppers, pickle slices, fresh spinach leaves or other greens, slivers of fresh red onion. The possibilities are endless.
This one's for the kid in you. These mini-pies take only a few minutes to prepare: Slice an English muffin, spread a heaping tablespoon of spaghetti sauce on each half, and sprinkle each with a tablespoon of shredded low-fat cheese. If you can spare another minute, top with sliced bell pepper or onion. Bake your pizzas in the toaster oven until the cheese melts slightly, then reheat them at lunchtime in the office microwave.
Start with plain or vanilla nonfat yogurt, then stir in half a cup of low-fat granola or another good-munching cereal. Add a tablespoon or two of raisins, chopped walnuts, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. You can seal it all in a plastic container or leave the yogurt in its carton and pack the mix-ins in a sandwich bag. For a weekend lunch at home, have crunchy yogurt with fresh melon or a sliced banana.
Cool Tuna Casserole
Here's a comforting pasta dish you can make in advance and seal in single-serving containers. Mix one can of water-packed tuna with about three cups of cooked macaroni (try whole wheat elbows from your local health food store). Add a cup of vegetables -- thawed frozen corn or peas, or chopped carrots, celery, or tomatoes -- and gently toss with a little low-fat salad dressing. Round out the theme with a roll or breadsticks, if you like.
The Peanut Butter Classic
Many of us cower from its calories, but peanut butter is also full of protein, folic acid, and key minerals. Use it in moderation, and it's a fine lunch choice. Choose a brand without hydrogenated fats, which are often added to prevent separation. Instead of jam, which is loaded with sugar, give your sandwich a fresh taste by adding thin slices of apple or banana, or a scattering of raisins.
A protein-rich grain available in natural foods stores, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) cooks up in about 15 minutes. Make a small saucepan of it on the weekend, zap some frozen peas or other veggies in the microwave, chop up a few almonds or cashews for crunch, and cut a block of firm tofu into cubes; then stir all of these ingredients together and seal the mixture in single-serving containers to bring to the office. Unless you work with a bunch of granola heads, be prepared to explain what the heck you're eating to your coworkers.
15 Healthy Brown Bag Lunches
Brown bagging it to work every day can get challenging when trying to be creative, make healthy choices, and add some spice to the daily work lunch. Here are some healthy lunch choices, some can be made the night before to save time in the morning when you are trying to get the kids and yourself out the door!
~ Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas, containing either lean cold cuts or lowfat cream cheese topped with veggie slices. Even the classic PB and J (peanut butter & jelly) is healthier in a wheat wrap.
~ Single portion-sized cups of unsweetened apple sauce or fruit without added sugar.
~ Trail mix made with cereals, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit or raisins, and a few chocolate morsels.
~ Low fat cheese spread on whole wheat crackers.
~ Individual serving-sized packages of low fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or yogurt smoothies.
~ Baby carrots, celery sticks, or apple slices with dips made from yogurt or low fat sour cream.
~ Mini-burritos made with rice and black beans or refried beans in a tortilla with tomato salsa. These can be heated or eaten cold.
~ Baked chips or pretzels are a better choice than high-fat potato chips or cheese snacks.
~ Drinks made from water with a splash of cranberry, peach, grape, or other fruit juice are healthier than sodas. Excess consumption of pure sugar-laden juices can increase the risk of obesity.
~ Whole grain bagels topped with cream cheese-vegetable spread.
~ Air-popped popcorn flavored with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
~ Low fat cheese cubes and seedless grapes make a delicious side dish for sandwiches or wraps.
~ Cold strips of grilled chicken with honey mustard dip.
~ Dried cranberries or cherries are a sweet alternative to raisins.
~ Quesadilla slices made with cheese and chicken or vegetables.
AND, IF YOU CAN STAND A FEW MORE:
Whether from last night’s dinner or store-bought, pastas are a tasty lunch option.
* Spiral noodles, spinach, tomato, feta cheese
* Angel hair pasta, tomato, zucchini, Parmesan cheese
* Noodles in cream sauce, vegetables, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese
* Cold spaghetti with mozzarella cheese
* Macaroni salad
* Three bean salad (kidney beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, with onion – often available pre-made at supermarkets)
* Potato salad
* Rice with vegetables
* Cottage cheese with raisins, served with fruit, crackers or Frito’s chips
* Sliced buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Some Like It Hot
Bring a Thermos to keep the following hot:
* Tomato soup, with Parmesan-flavored goldfish crackers
* Lentil soup with grated cheese and a roll or Foccacia bread
* Potato soup with Foccacia bread
* Minestrone soup with grated Parmesan and garlic bread
* Chicken noodle soup with crackers
Other foods to put in a Thermos:
* Mashed potatoes with grated Cheddar cheese
* Garlic mashed potatoes
* Mashed potatoes and gravy
* Spaghetti-O’s (not just for children!)
* Chili (veggie or otherwise)
It’s hard not to want chips at lunchtime. Here are two ways to satisfy the craving in a healthy manner:
Purchase the individual 100-calorie packs of mini Pringles (the sour cream and onion flavor is delicious.) Eat the entire bag without feeling guilty.
Baked tortilla chips are another option. Pack a small container of guacomole or salsa for dipping.
Fruit is important, but a plain apple can be so dull. Try a variety of canned fruits. Simply transfer fruit from can into a container and it’s ready to eat.
* Mandarin oranges
* Fruit cocktail
For fresh fruit, snack on grapes or sliced banana with peanut butter and raisins.
Don’t deprive yourself of dessert. It doesn’t mean endless munching on chocolate chip cookies. The following are satisfying, good-for-you desserts:
Pack a container of chocolate pudding. Bring ‘Nilla Wafer cookies and sliced banana – spread pudding on cookies and bananas, and enjoy.
Other treats to compliment pudding:
* Teddy Grahams
* Banana nut bread
* Pumpkin bread
* Angel food cake
Chocolate lovers, take note: Hershey’s makes an assorted bag of individual, bite-sized candy bars – the morsels include Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Krackel, Mr. Goodbar and Hershey’s Dark Chocolate. Just two or three bars is a satisfying treat.
Slice apples and sprinkle with cinnamon. Dip in honey or Cool Whip.
Spread a thin layer of chocolate cake frosting on plain or Cinnamon Graham Crackers; or spread a layer of vanilla cake frosting on chocolate Graham crackers.
Bring a milkshake in a Thermos (to keep it cold).
I really hope some of these help ~ take care and God bless!