Hello again, Reader,
This week marks back-to-school for lots of us, so I thought it might be a nice time to suggest 3-ideas to replace the boring sandwich in our lunch boxes. These 3-ideas are suited for all of us, including our kids. We all strive to feed our kids as healthy as possible and lunch doesn’t have to be a plastic bag pitfall.
Let’s try one of these easy to pack, guilt free, healthy alternatives to the sandwich. I am always trying to come up with sandwich free lunch ideas since everyone seems, a little sick of them. All of us have a different diet plan and goal for our healthy selves, so just choose whether you need the healthy fat, the carbohydrate or the protein focus.
Avocado with Pico-De-Gallo
Healthy Fat Source
Did you know the original Hass avocado tree still stands in Cali?
Did you know one avocado is the potassium equivalent of 2 or 3 bananas!?
Did you know avocados are toxic to cats and dogs? For more fun and interesting facts about the avocado, click here.
Avocados are a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin c, vitamin k, folate and b6. WOW! I call that a super food.
We are all aware that avocados are a source of healthy fat, something our diet is in desperate need of in America. Sometimes we are persuaded that avocados are not a good choice based on their caloric punch of 160 calories, for one half of a medium-sized fruit. BUT, don’t forget, it’s a whole natural raw food that is good for your body and full of nutrients, regardless of how we perceive its caloric count. Nutritionists agree, the good far outweigh the bad. With anything, you should eat them in moderation.
Cut one avocado lengthwise down the middle, around the pit. Remove the pit by stabbing it gently with your knife and twisting it loose. Discard the pit.
Sprinkle the cut side of the avocado with fresh lemon juice.
Place it, face up, in a portable container and generously spread prepared fresh pico on top. For a great pico recipe, try this.
Pack a spoon to eat it by scooping out the pulp of the fruit.
TIPS: Make up a large batch of pico at the beginning of the week to use in creative ways. Some of my favorites: top roasted red-skinned potatoes, mix it into soups or beans, use as corn bread topping instead of butter, top veggies of any variety or even use it to top the next sandwich replacement idea below. I usually pack a few of the mini-rice cakes to use as scoops for extra pico. Need to use the other half of the avocado? How about as a mini facial: mash-up the avocado in a bowl and add about a tablespoon of oatmeal flakes and mix in – use as a mask for 15-minutes and wash off. If you do not have sensitive skin, omit the oatmeal and try your already used coffee grounds instead. As always, organic is best.
Brown Rice Pilaf
Brown rice is often overlooked as a nutritional energy powerhouse. Especially for those of us that have diabetes. Brown rice is a very low glycemic food and it’s also very low in calories, as well as fat. It is a complex and healthy carb that is absolute fuel for any hard-core cardio (like running!) and is one of the best foods to aid in weight loss because it fills you up and like any good slow burning fiber, stays with you. It’s also a great source of magnesium and protein. We could all use a little more brown rice in our diet.
1 cup organic long-grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
1 cup various diced veggies (I use diced onion, yellow pepper and red pepper)
Bring the chicken broth, rice and veggies to a rolling boil. Cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes. The simplest way to tell if it’s done is to use a glass lid and tilt the pot to one side; if liquid pools, it needs more time. Let sit on stove top for 10-minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Pack a one cup serving to be warmed in the microwave, eat it with a set of chopsticks for fun.
TIPS: Prepare the rice ahead when you have time. I try to pack in glass containers to avoid the plastic that I am convinced is leaching chemicals into my food. HOWEVER, if plastic is unavoidable for you, do not use it to heat it in the microwave. Always use a glass bowl for heating. Add fresh chopped fruits, such as peaches or oranges, to the top of your rice for a complete balanced meal and a unique flavor combo. Sauté the veggies first in a Tablespoon of olive oil, if you wish (adds fat, of course) – following directions without any other variation.
FAGE Total 0% with Fruit
This is the best on the go option and the varieties are endless. Many of us are trying to fit more protein into our diets, especially those of us that avoid eating meats. This is a zero fat option that offers 13 grams of protein, is a good source of carbohydrates and has only 120 calories, eaten plain. I try to mix it up with the toppings and add ins so no one gets tired of it.
The reason I recommend this brand in particular (besides the superior quality and taste of the product) is because there are zero preservatives. In fact, the only ingredients (in plain) are skim milk and active cultures. You can choose the fruit varieties, but know there is sugar in the fruit sauce that accompanies the yogurt.
1-6 oz container of FAGE Total 0% greek yogurt
1-cup mixed berries or fruits of your choice (my favorite is frozen blueberries, thawed)
Store the fruit separate from the yogurt until lunch. Add the fruit just before eating.
TIP: I also love to mix in a handful of blanched almonds, raw pecans or raw walnuts (adds fat, of course). A Tablespoon or two of Grapenuts cereal is great too. You can also mix in a Tablespoon of Nutella (adds sugar, of course) or a Tablespoon of peanut butter (adds fat, of course) for a dessert substitution. Chop up a fresh peach in the middle of the summer and throw it in there; it is truly delicious. One serving of original Triscuit crackers is a great companion to this option for lunch.