Cook’s Notes: This post gathers ideas for balanced weekday lunches suitable for working adults. It will be periodically updated with new ideas.
Bean & Cheese Salad: Serve salad with a large pickle and 2 Wasa crisp-breads (or stuff cottage cheese mixture in a whole-wheat pita pocket and eat the tossed salad on the side). Dessert: 1 fruit serving.
Chicken Pita Pocket: Serve pita pocket with bread-and-butter pickle slabs (tuck 2 into the pita just before eating) and a simple fruit salad (such as 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, 1/3 cup drained mandarin orange wedges, and 1/2 cup blueberries).
Chicken-Salsa Salad: Have half the mixture wrapped in a flour tortilla (or stuff in whole-wheat pita bread). Dessert: 1 fruit serving.
Hummus plate: 1/3 cup hummus, 2 oz sliced turkey or chicken deli meat, 12 baby carrots, 1 cracker serving of about 130 calories (such as 12 Wheat Thins), 12 cashews or almonds, and 1/2 sliced apple.
- Fancier hummus plate: Omit the sliced apple. Cracker serving: Have 7 Carr’s Rosemary Crackers. Nut serving: 12 Tamari Almonds. Fruit serving: 6 oz Blackberry Limeade poured over ice.
Superfoods Salad: Serve each salad portion with 2 Wasa crisp-breads (or other grain serving). Dessert: 1 fruit serving (1/2 cup berries recommended).
Sweet Potato Burrito: Serve with a glass of cold club soda and have fruit for dessert.
Tuna Salad Sandwich for Two: Mix 6 oz light tuna, 2 T mayo, 4 tsp mustard, 2 tsp sweet relish and 1 tsp ground flax seed. Divide tuna into two portions. Make a sandwich with 1 portion tuna salad on 2 slices whole-grain bread. Serve with 1 oz low-fat cheese stick, and a side salad (1 cup mixed green lettuce or baby spinach leaves with 2 tsp vinaigrette dressing) topped with 1/2 apple, chopped.
- Alternate menu (not a sandwich): 1 portion of tuna salad, 1 cup mini pretzels (or 1 rice cake or 2 Wasa crisp-breads), 12 baby carrots, 1 cup milk to drink, and 1 fruit (1 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 small orange).
Tuna Tortellini: Make this the night before. 1 serving of pasta with tuna, vegetables, and cheese. Dessert: 1 fruit serving, such as 1/2 cup blackberries.
Turkey Chutney Wrap: Spread 1 flour tortilla with 1 oz cream cheese; layer with 2 slices deli turkey (about 2 oz) and 3 to 4 tsp cranberry-apple chutney. Roll up. Serve with 8 oz cooked vegetable, 6 to 8 oz yogurt, and 1 diced pear (or snack size container of pear canned in juice).
Vegetarian Chili: Make this the night before. 1 cup bean chili, 1 oz low fat cheddar cheese (shredded or 1 cheese stick), 2 whole-grain Wasa crisp-breads, and a side salad (2 cups baby spinach and romaine lettuce) with dressing. Dessert: 1 fruit serving. This is a balanced meal, but a lot of food. You may opt to save the salad and fruit for a snack later in the afternoon.