Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What I Eat for Lunch

When you work in an office with access to a microwave and fridge, you really have no excuse for eating unhealthy. To help give you some ideas on how to take your healthy habits to the kitchen — your company kitchen, that is, I've recorded what I ate for lunch last week.

By no means, do I eat the same thing everyday. Actually, it's rare that I eat the same thing two weeks in a row! One of the best ways to ensure you bring a healthy lunch to work is that you make it at home. If you're making healthy dinners, then it's super simple to make a little extra and have left-overs.

I tend to go ahead and pack my lunch for the next day while I'm cooking dinner. "Left-overs for Lunch" just make me happy. If for some reason, I don't bring left-overs, I usually keep a few staples that are just as satisfactory.

These are some things I normally keep on hand with which I pack my lunches:
  • Deli turkey or ham
  • Corn tortillas
  • Fresh fruit (what's in season)
  • Sugar-free yogurt (both greek and regular)
  • Fat-free cottage cheese
  • Salad
  • Organic rice cakes
  • Fresh veggies and hummus
  • Hard-boiled eggs
On Monday, I mixed left-over brown rice with a black bean relish I made over the weekend and topped it over a salad. This fiesta salad also had sliced avocados, feta cheese and a some low-fat dressing. Combining the rice and beans makes a complete protein, so there's really no need for a meat, unless you just really want some. If you do, I'd suggest, adding some lean chicken breast or extra-lean ground turkey or beef.

I paired this salad with a greek yogurt with blueberries on the bottom and green tea.

I enjoyed left-over spaghetti squash, adorned with homemade marinara sauce and extra-lean ground turkey on Tuesday. Many of you have probably seen this simple recipe for a spaghetti alternative.

Since my husband doesn't like tomato sauce, I usually have enough left over to last me a few days. The spaghetti includes the squash, tomato sauce, bell peppers and extra-lean ground turkey. It's a good helping of veggies — that's for sure.

A "cutie" and a greek yogurt make this lunch complete.

On Wednesday, I got to eat something rather unique for me. I'd never made enchiladas before, but I always envy the people who order them at Mexican restaurants. So, I thought I'd try to make them the healthy way at home.

The night before, I made spinach enchiladas. Using corn tortillas (at only 110 calories for 2), sauteed spinach, onion and garlic, a can of enchilada sauce (mostly just seasoned tomato sauce), and a mixture of fat-free and low-fat grated cheese, I'd call this experiment a huge success.

I paired a couple of left-over spinach enchiladas with a mixed green salad topped with fat-free feta cheese, walnuts, blackberries*, and fat-free raspberry vinaigrette.

*Blackberries are in season right now. I've seen them on sale multiple places for only $1/carton.

Thursday morning I ate some of my protein pancakes for breakfast, so I wanted to lay low on the carbs at lunch. I also decided to include some of my staple items.

I made a big thing of tuna salad last weekend. I actually bought the humongous can of all-white albacore tuna fish from Walmart ($12). I went ahead and mixed in all the tuna salad ingredients right when I got home, so that it would be ready to eat. Tuna salad will last practically forever in your fridge, and it's a nutritious go-to snack or meal. I used about 2 whopping tablespoons of low-fat mayo (made with olive oil), half a jar of pickle relish, half an onion, an apple, celery salt, salt and pepper. You can play with the different ingredients depending on your taste. This salad will last me 2-3 weeks if I eat it two or three times each week.

Along with my tuna salad, I ate about half a cup of fat-free cottage cheese, another protein-rich food. Chopped fruit like oranges, grapes, strawberries and kiwis make for a good little dessert to this low-carb lunch. (Note: Chopping up your fruit helps fool your eyes into thinking you're eating more than you really are.)

I worked from home on Friday, and I forgot to take a picture of my lunch. Basically, I snacked on several items for my lunch. About two hours before my lunch-hour run, I ate a mashed-up banana with some of my healthy peanut butter. After my run, I ate an apple and about three ounces of lean turkey breast with mustard. Again, these items are staples in my diet.

Later on, I ate a protein bar, which is not a clean food item, but my approach to a clean food diet is not legalistic. I live a very active lifestyle, on-the-go all the time. As awesome as it would be to never put a chemically-altered or artificial ingredient in my body, it's not realistic for my lifestyle. Of course, I try to eat clean the majority of the time, but I have to have grace for myself.

I hope this post helps you add some variety to your diet and make your lunchtime a little bit better. Let me know what you think in the comments.


  1. These all sound delish! I have a fantastic and SUPER easy homemade protein bar recipe I could send to you if you're interested.


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