Healthy lunch ideas

Is the office making you fat??

I know where I work, they are always feeding us. And there are always cookies and soda around tempting me to fall off my healthy eating wagon. To combat all the unhealthy temptations, I pack my lunch everyday. Here is a sample of what I usually take:

1. Quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. This is packed full of protein and fiber! I add some jalapeno to it and a little lime juice so it has lots of flavor.
2. Fruit salad sprinkled with 1/2 Truvia packet. This had blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and lime juice.
3. Watermelon slices
4. 3 Gingersnaps, 2 marshmallows, and a small hand full of dark chocolate chips. I NEED dessert. If I don’t get my fix, then I’ll most likely be munching on cookies later on in the day.

Also, something that isn’t pictured is a Kashi pumpkin flax granola bar which I eat a few hours after I get to work so I’m not starving by lunch time.

By packing my lunch everyday, I know exactly what I’m getting and I look forward to it all day. I can determine how healthy/unhealthy I want to eat that day and by giving myself lots of variety, I hardly ever get bored. I also pack my lunch the night before so I have plenty of time to pack a nutritious and filling lunch for myself. If I waited until the morning, I would be rushing and just pack a bunch of random things that won’t do much for me.

The key to eating healthy at work is to pack a protein and fiber rich lunch that will keep you satisfied until dinner. A healthy breakfast is also extremely helpful. If you start your day out well, you are more likely to continue a healthy diet throughout the rest of the day!

You all know by now that I am a smoothie nut so I normally will drink a smoothie around 7am and then go workout. After my workout I usually will eat another small breakfast that normally consists of protein and fiber will a small amount of carbs. Something that I have been loving recently is quinoa “oatmeal.” I don’t have a photo of it, but here is the recipe I normally make after my workout:

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup coconut/almond milk (I used a mixture of the two but any milk will do)
1 packet Truvia (any sweetener works)
Sliced almonds
Blueberries
Banana

In a saucepan, combine quinoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked all the way through. Top with almonds and fruit. You can drizzle more milk over the top if desired.

Figuring what works for you takes some time. Eating healthy is not always easy but it should be a lifelong thing for all of you. It is not that difficult to just cut back on the processed foods and opt for more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Once you make the small changes, you will see such a difference not only in your appearance, but your overall energy will improve dramatically!

If anyone has any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding healthy eating, I would love to hear from you!! I am always eager to learn and share with you as much as I can about eating well!!

Healthy chicken salad

I love chicken salad. It is probably the one unhealthy food that I still order out at restaurants even though I know it’s a bad choice. I can’t help it. Recently I looked into the calorie count for my favorite restaurant’s chicken salad and it came out to a whopping 1140 calories and 72 grams of fat. I was astounded. Shocked. Depressed. Shocked. I am still in shock over this if you can’t tell.

I needed to find a way to make this healthy – and I did! My recipe is 104 calories per serving and only 2.8 grams of fat. Crazy right? This is so delicious and is wayyyy better than my favorite restaurant version. It is also really filling! One serving of this over some spinach or on a slice of bread is the perfect lunch. The addition of mango and sliced almonds adds really great flavor and the celery adds the perfect amount of texture.

This is also something that you can make early in the week and keep in the fridge for easy lunches for work or quick weeknight dinners.

Ingredients
Serves 5-6

1 double chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbl brown sugar
1/2 cup grapes, halved
3 Tbl sliced almonds
1/2 mango, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
salt/pepper

Combine yogurt, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add in all other ingredients and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

I served mine over some spinach with avocado but this would be great in a sandwich or just on it’s own!

Enjoy!

Asian noodle salad (vegetarian)

I never make salads. For some reason, the salads that I do make never taste as good as the ones I get in restaurants. I don’t know why. And I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

I recently was at a restaurant and I had an Asian style salad that was so good! It had really healthy and filling ingredients and a peanut dressing that blew my mind. I needed to recreate it. But, like I said – salads that I make aren’t always that good. So I had my reservations.

I normally don’t like to toot my own horn, but this salad is wayyyy better than the restaurant version. It is seriously so good. If you know what’s good for you, you will make this salad.

It is so delicious and is something totally different that your average salad. It is so flavorful and has so many different textures which makes it a really interesting and tasty meal. I know that the ingredient list looks a little overwhelming. Don’t be scared! It is totally worth it in the end. You can also add chicken to this if you feel like it would be a more complete meal, but honestly you won’t even miss it if you leave it out!

Ingredients
Makes enough for about 8 people (or lots of leftovers)

1 package Broccoli slaw
3 hearts of romaine, chopped small
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 mangos, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1 lb Whole wheat spagetti, cooked and cooled to room temperature

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to thoroughly combine.

Peanut dressing

1 serrano chili, finely minced
2 Tbl freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl agave
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbl water

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil and water. Mix well. Slowly drizzly in olive oil. If the dressing looks too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve!!

Florida quinoa

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being MIA for the last few weeks. As most of you may already know, I graduated college two weeks ago and relocated back to Naples from Charlotte. It has been a crazy few weeks. But I have really missed all of you 🙂

Because my sister and I have lived in North Carolina for the last few years, we wanted to make sure to hit up all of our favorite restaurants before we moved away. This included an array of food that was fried and/or laden with butter and cream. It was all so good. But so bad. I need to detox.

Quinoa is so healthy, so any time I get the opportunity to make it, I do. I recently had a salad that was very similar to this recipe in Whole Foods and decided to put my own spin on it once I got home. It has so many really healthy ingredients in it – but is so flavorful. You would never guess there is no added fat in it!

Ingredients

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water

Cook quinoa according to directions on the box. Once cooked, allow to cool completely.

1 mango, diced
1 cup shelled edamame
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Zest from one lemon
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one orange
Juice from one lime

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Add in the cooled quinoa and stir to combine. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow all the flavors to be absorbed into the quinoa before eating.

Enjoy!!

Roasted potato and green bean salad with caramelized onions, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

I love this salad.

There are few salads that I really enjoy eating. One is a strawberry, spinach and kiwi salad my mom makes. One is this salad. And one is this roasted potato and green bean salad. This salad is so easy but it has so many different flavors and textures that it makes it seem like the most complex salad. But its not. Its so easy. And so tasty. And you must make it. Trust me. People will love you after you make this salad.

I have been making this salad for years. Its a really great salad to make if you’re having company over or need to bring something to someone’s house for a dinner party. It has something in it that will please everyone, and the ease of preparation makes it an instant go-to salad for me.

It is also a great salad to make and then add things to it to make it a complete meal. Sometimes I will add grilled chicken or steak to it and it becomes a really great, fast, and easy dinner.

OK, so I just planned your next dinner. You’re welcome.

Ingredients

1 12 ounce bag of field greens
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 sprig of rosemary, minced
2 sprigs of thyme, minced
2 sprigs of parsley, minced
5 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
2 Tbls. butter
Salt/pepper, to taste
Blue cheese, optional

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, herbs, 3 Tbls. olive oil, and salt and pepper. Coat potatoes and spread onto a rimed baking sheet cut side down. Roast in the oven for twenty minutes, stopping halfway through to loosen potatoes with a spatula and flip them.

While you potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add butter and remaining olive oil. Add onions to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Caramelize onions by stirring them around the pan every five minutes (Lower your heat if the onions are becoming too browned). After twenty minutes, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and stir onion around. Let onions cook for ten more minutes. At this point, the onions should be a deep brown color. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Reserve the pan with the leftover oil from the onions for green beans.

In the same pan, saute green beans until cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper. set aside to cool.

To assemble the salad, place field greens into a large bowl and add potatoes, green beans, onions and blue cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss.

Vinaigrette

1 Tbls dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper

In a large bowl or blender, add all ingredients except olive oil. Whisk or blend until all ingredients are well combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking or while your blender in on. Blend until all of the oil has been added. Drizzle over salad right before you are ready to eat.

Enjoy!!!