If you're counting calories, you probably want a healthy, low-calorie lunch that still satisfies your taste buds. And of course you want to send your kids off to school with a nutritious mid-day meal that they'll enjoy. By investing in washable containers and taking a bit of time to fix meals ahead of time, you can provide light, tasty lunches for yourself and your family.
Soup and Sandwich
Soup and salad is a classic lunch combination. To cut calories, slice the sandwich in half and share it with a friend if you're at work, or refrigerate it for another meal. A hearty soup stock with chunky vegetables makes a satisfying match to a sandwich made with leftover chicken or ham. You can also try stuffing whole-wheat pita bread with hard salami, tuna or roast beef for a filling and tasty sandwich. If you're a vegetarian, substitute avocado slices or cheese for the meat. Cut calories and add flavor to your sandwiches by using a light creamy salad dressing in place of regular mayonnaise.
Pasta, Veggies and More
Pasta salad makes a filling, but still light, lunch. Boil and drain a batch of macaroni noodles, then toss in crunchy carrots, juicy tomatoes and summer squash, as well as chunks of leftover turkey. Add a creamy salad dressing or olive oil and you have a tasty lunch, with ingredients limited only by your imagination. Prepare the dish in advance and chill it in your refrigerator overnight. Pack chilled portions in portable containers for lunch at work or to eat on-the-go.
A salad with mixed leafy greens, crunchy celery, carrots, pea pods and juicy red tomatoes makes nutritious midday meal that's appealing to the eye and the taste buds. Add an Asian flair with crunchy noodles and drained mandarin oranges. For a heartier salad, add canned tuna or salmon, croutons and cheese. If you're packing your salad for lunch at work or school, place the dressing and sliced tomatoes in separate spill-proof containers to keep your vegetables crisp until you're ready to eat.
Many kids have simple tastes, but that doesn't mean that you have to stick to peanut butter and jelly or cold cuts every day. Treat your kids to leftover baked or barbecue chicken on a Kaiser roll. Provide extra flavor to their sandwich with a creamy dressing. Tomato soup is also a classic kid favorite. You can also slice vegetables into chunks that your kids can dunk into dips, which you can pack in spill-proof containers. Include low-sugar fruit cups or fresh fruit and snack bars made with oatmeal or granola for dessert. Invest in a thermal lunch box that will keep cold items cold to avoid foods going bad.
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