Thursday, August 16, 2012

Healthy School Lunches

Busy schedules...we all have them and mine seems to be the downfall of my fitness plan. Homework piles up, class schedules and work schedules conflict with workout times, and before I know it the clock reads 11:00. With the start of school just a week away, I've decided to compile a list of healthy lunch options to help keep us on track. Whether you're heading to class or heading to the office, try brown bagging an idea or two from this list to not only save you money, but save your waistline as well. 

Buffalo Chicken Wrap 

2 tablespoons  hot pepper sauce, such as Frank's RedHot
3 tablespoons  white vinegar, divided
1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound  chicken tenders
2 tablespoons  reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  nonfat plain yogurt
  Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup  crumbled blue cheese
4   8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
1 cup  shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup  sliced celery
1   large tomato, diced
Whisk hot pepper sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders; cook until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add to the bowl with the hot sauce; toss to coat well. Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in blue cheese. To assemble wraps: Lay a tortilla on a work surface or plate. Spread with 1 tablespoon blue cheese sauce and top with one-fourth of the chicken, lettuce, celery and tomato. Drizzle with some of the hot sauce remaining in the bowl and roll into a wrap sandwich. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
275 calories 8g fat 24g protein 3g fiber
 Southwestern Cheese Panini

4 ounces  shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup  shredded zucchini
1/2 cup  shredded carrot
1/4 cup  finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup  prepared salsa
1 tablespoon  chopped pickled jalapeno pepper, (optional)
8 slices  whole-wheat bread
2 teaspoons  canola oil
Have four 15-ounce cans and a medium skillet (not nonstick) ready by the stove. Combine Cheddar, zucchini, carrot, onion, salsa and jalapeno (if using) in a medium bowl. Divide among 4 slices of bread and top with the remaining bread. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 panini in the pan. Place the medium skillet on top of the panini, then weigh it down with the cans. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, flip the panini, replace the top skillet and cans, and cook until the second side is golden, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with another 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining panini.  
331 calories 14g fat 16g protein 5g fiber
BBQ Chicken Sandwich
1/2 cup  shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup  shredded carrots
2 tablespoons  barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons  light ranch dressing
1   small whole-wheat sandwich bun
1 leaf  romaine lettuce
Combine chicken, carrots and barbecue sauce in a bowl. Spread ranch dressing on the bun. Top with the chicken mixture and lettuce.
323 calories 8g fat 26g protein 4g fiber
Pizza Burger
1 veggie burger
1 whole grain hamburger bun
2 tbsp pizza sauce
1 slice of part-skim Mozzarella 
Fresh basil
Warm burger and place on bun; top with pizza sauce and cheese. Microwave sandwich for 20 to 30 seconds to melt cheese; add fresh basil.
Serve with an apple instead of fries.
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad
2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the ranch dressing, salsa, and cilantro until blended. Cover and refrigerate. To make the salad: Coat a barbecue grill or ridged grill pan with olive oil spray, and heat to medium-hot. In a cup, mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Rub evenly on both sides of the chicken. Grill the chicken, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Transfer to a plate. Squeeze the lime over the cooked chicken. In a large bowl, toss the romaine with half the dressing. Divide among 4 plates. Sprinkle the beans, corn, tomato, and red onion equally over each serving and top with the grilled chicken. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.
295 calories 6g fat 34g protein 10g fiber
Mexican Taco Salad 
1/4 cup water 
Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until it's browned. Drain any accumulated fat and add the taco seasoning and water. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from the heat.In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, corn, tomatoes, and dressing. Toss gently to coat. Top with the meat and the chips just before serving.

 Greek Chopped Pita Salad

2 cups Romaine lettuce
2 tbsp crumbled Feta
1/2 of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cucumber slices
1 whole wheat pita, chopped
2 tbsp low fat vinaigrette dressing

Toss all ingredients together and drizzle with dressing just before serving. 

***Add lean grilled chicken for an added punch of protein. This salad contains less than 400 calories. 

Tuscan Tuna Wrap

3 ounces chunk light tuna packed in water, drained
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
dash of salt and pepper
2 whole grain tortillas
1/2 cup baby spinach

Combine all ingredients and spread over tortillas. Roll up and enjoy. 

***This recipe contains less than 400 calories.

Chili and Chips

1 cup canned turkey or veggie chili (I like to use Hormel)
1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli
3 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crushed corn chips

Mix the broccoli and the chili together and microwave for about 5 minutes, until broccoli is tender. Top chili with shredded cheese and crushed chips. Enjoy. 

***This recipe has under 400 calories

Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

1 whole wheat sandwich thin
3 ounces of grilled chicken
1 slice of Mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp marinara sauce

Place cheese slice on chicken and microwave for 45 seconds. Top with sauce and microwave another 30 seconds. Place chicken on sandwich thin and top with lettuce and tomato. 

***This would be a great way to use left over spaghetti sauce and chicken. 

Chicken Salad

1 whole wheat sandwich thin
3 ounces grilled chicken, cubed
1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
Garlic salt
Cayenne pepper
1 celery stalk, sliced

Mix cubed chicken, yogurt, and celery together. Season with garlic salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Spread on a sandwich thin and top with lettuce and tomato. Enjoy. 

***You could also forgo the sandwich thin for whole grain crackers or make a lettuce wrap. This is a great way to use leftover chicken. For an added crunch, add a couple rings of red onion. For a sweeter chicken salad, try adding 1/4 cup of purple grapes cut in half.

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