Back to fall means back to brown bag lunches for many of us. From school to the office, we’re usually eating on the go for midday meals, and bringing the same thing to eat day after day can get downright monotonous. If you’re tired of packing the usual ol’ sandwich and soggy tossed salad, check out these 5 ideas for simple healthy lunches — and leave the PB&J back at the ranch this week.
- Shaved vegetable slaw with beans, seafood, or meat. Make yourself a no-cook salad full of crunchy fiber. Toss together shaved and shredded veggies from the following: cabbage, bell pepper, onion, fennel, and/or carrots. Add lots of chopped fresh herbs and a light dressing of olive oil and vinegar of choice. Top off with cooked white beans, shrimp, or light meat like shredded chicken.
- Whole grain, veggie, and dried fruit pilaf. Think of a festive Thanksgiving stuffing, but everyday suitable and done in a snap! Combine the following: cooked grain of choice like quinoa, brown rice, or millet; finely chop vegetables (try tossing broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, bell peppers, and/or carrots in a food processor and pulsing until finely chopped); a handful of dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins; and chopped fresh herbs. Season lightly with vinaigrette or olive oil and vinegar (just a bit—you don’t want it to get soggy!) and season with sea salt and black pepper. For extra plant protein, add in a bit of finely chopped nuts.
- Colorful egg or tofu salad on sprouted bread. Using a yogurt-based sauce and lots of veggies can make your fave egg salad lighter and more refreshing. Combine the following: chopped egg or cooked tofu cubes; chopped cucumber, tomatoes, and bell peppers; a bit of minced onion and garlic; and finely chopped herbs like basil, dill, or parsley. Make a creamy dressing by whisking together yogurt with a just bit of mayo of choice and a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Mix the whole thing together and serve on sprouted bread with a few leaves of kale or microgreens.
- Spring rolls with simple dipping sauce. Rice paper makes for a delightful wheat-free, light alternative to sandwiches or burritos for lunch. Make veggie-packed spring rolls by soaking the translucent rice paper sheets in a bowl of warm water, then fill with ingredients and choice and wrap up like an egg roll. Filling options might include: cooked shrimp or salmon; julienned cucumbers, radish, cabbage, and/or avocado; finely sliced baked tofu or tempeh; and chopped flavor boosters like pickled ginger or fresh herbs. Dip your no-cook spring rolls in peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce, or hoisin sauce.
- Lettuce wraps with minced protein and zesty sauce. This is a great choice for leftovers of cooked chicken, pork, tofu, or tempeh. Take your protein of choice and dice it finely or shred it, along with finely chopped green onions, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, and cabbage. Toss the mixture with a spicy dressing of choice—try Sriracha, hoisin, or spicy peanut—and mix until you have a juicy, cohesive filling. Pack the mixture separate from a few cleaned large lettuce or cabbage leaves, and construct the roll ups on site for lunch.
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