easy, no-prep, healthy lunches

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There are many times in life, when spending an hour or two preparing lunches to take to work or school throughout the week is just not feasible. You know the times. :) While you may think the only option is to pick up lunch at a restaurant there are some options that require little or no prep time, can be very well balanced and save you money all at the same time.

Here are some of my favorites – most of them require a quick trip to the grocery store and will provide a few lunches!

  • Mezze Platter: whole grain pita + hummus + baba ganoush + baby carrots & pepper slices
  • Avocado Sandwich: whole grain bread + wholly guacamole packet + tomato slices + lettuce or sprouts
  • AB & J: sprouted bread + almond butter + jam or preserves (grown-up PB & J!)
  • Cottage Cheese: cottage cheese + garbanzo beans + favorite seasoning + baby carrots on the side
  • Cheese & Crackers: triscuits (or other 100% whole grain cracker) + 1 oz sliced cheese + 2 oz deli turkey + grape tomatoes
  • Yogurt Parfait: plain greek yogurt + fresh or frozen berries + 1 serving high fiber cereal like Uncle Sam’s Original
  • Snack Plate: hard boiled egg + carrots & celery sticks + whole grain crackers + 1 oz cheese cubes + apple

 

What are your quick and easy lunches that you rely on during busy times?

in the news: choose my plate

As of Thursday June 2nd, the food guide pyramid (which I wasn’t a fan of) is no more! Welcome to the plate method. I’m a huge fan, and we’ve actually been using it at camp for a few years now.

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” Mrs. Obama said. “We’re all bombarded with so many dietary messages that it’s hard to find time to sort through all this information, but we do have time to take a look at our kids’ plates.”

If the filled plate looks like the symbol, with lots of fruits and vegetables, she said, “then we’re good, it’s as simple as that.”

It is easy to understand, and I love that it focuses on what we should be eating – not just what we should be removing/reducing from our diets.

From the USDA My Plate website:

Balancing Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half of your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The website has a lot of information that goes into more detail – what’s a grain, how much protein is needed, etc. for those who aren’t familiar with serving sizes, what constitutes a grain and meal plan ideas and recipes.

What do you think of choose my plate? A step in the right direction? Confusing?

 

ask the nutritionist: shopping for cereal

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I am admittedly really picky when it comes to picking out cereal.

I really don’t like starting my morning with a bowl of sugar – especially when it leaves me hungry an hour or two later. But there are times throughout the summer when cereal is easy, cold and delicious. Like now. Thankfully there are some cereals out there that are good enough for my breakfast bowl, but they can be pretty hard to find.

Look for:

  • Whole Grains in the first few ingredients
  • No more than 5 grams of sugar per serving
  • At least 5 grams of protein per serving
  • At least 5 grams of fiber per serving
  • Decent serving size (ideally at least 3/4-1 cup)

 

Favorites:

  • Kashi Go Lean: excellent stats (13 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber), tastes great and actually fills me up
  • Uncle Sam’s Original: no sugar, excellent stats (7 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber) and perfect with yogurt
  • Peanut Butter Puffins: strictly a dessert cereal and SO good

 

How do you feel about cereal? Have a favorite or any recommendations for me?

review: go picnic

I first saw the Go Picnic products at Expo West this Spring and with life about to get even more hectic, I thought they would be the perfect thing to try out. I wasn’t sure how I would do with little “snacks” but thought it would be easy enough to add an easy salad for a well-rounded meal.

The little package of food is adorable, don’t you think?

Liked:

  • Vegan, Gluten Free, All Natural
  • “Grown up” flavors – hummus and crackers, dark chocolate, edamame, etc.
  • Doesn’t require any refrigeration
  • Hummus! I am super picky about hummus (I prefer my own) and I wasn’t really expecting to like it but I was pleasantly surprised!
  • Convenience factor – obviously!

Wished:

  • There was less packaging – BUT getting take out typically still has more and using plastic baggies for everything in your lunch is essentially the same thing
  • It is great for snackers, but doesn’t necessarily feel like a real meal
  • There were more crackers. :)

They also have a few different varieties – salami + cheese, tuna + crackers, peanut butter + crackers, etc. that I’m tempted to try out next. I haven’t seen these in stores, but I ordered them online from amazon – super easy and delivered right to my door, along with a few books. :)