Lunch is arguably the hardest meal to plan for. Leftovers? Sandwich? Salad? Smoothie? Snack on anything nearby until dinner? But what to snack on? Does the handful of Goldfish crackers that my child left on the counter from breakfast count? Oftentimes we overlook how we can sneak in a healthy lunch, so we’ve combined a few of our go-to’s that pack a punch.
Recipe: Quick Italian Chicken Sandwiches
2 lbs cooked chicken Canned or shredded chicken 4 oz cream cheese Olive Garden Italian dressing Parmesan cheese Buns of choice
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly. Ensure all ingredients are mixed together. Serve on buns.
Recipe: Chicken Salad
Base: 2 lbs cooked chicken ¼ of a green pepper, chopped 1 stalk celery, diced 2 green onions, diced ½ lb red grapes (more or less to preference) Mix the above in large bowl and set aside. Dressing: 7 oz mayo 1 teaspoon yellow mustard Splash of lemon juice
Whisk together and stir into the chicken mixture. Serve over a bed of spinach, delicious with candied almonds sprinkled on top and crusty bread on the side.
Recipe: Cherry Chicken Pasta Salad
Pasta Salad: ½ lb gemelli pasta noodles ½ cup celery, chopped ¾ cup shredded chicken ½ cup walnuts, chopped ½ cup dried cherries Dressing: ½ cup light mayonnaise ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 1 teaspoon onion salt ½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground mustard 5 tablespoons sugar ½ teaspoon salt ½ tablespoon poppy seeds
In a large bowl, combine all of the pasta salad ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients. When ready to serve, pour the dressing on the pasta salad and mix well.*
*If you want to prep this salad ahead of time, keep the dressing separate until ready to serve.
Recipe: Snack Packs for Lunch
Quick and easy options for protein-packed bento boxes!
Choose 1 or 2 items from each number for a quick lunch for adults or kids: 1. Beef sticks, pepperoni, shredded chicken, ham, turkey 2. Cheese sticks, cheese cubes, cheese slices 3. Whole wheat crackers, almonds, pitas, walnuts, pretzels, Cheez-Its or other snack crackers 4. Yogurt, hummus, peanut butter, ranch 5. Carrot sticks, snap peas, pepper slices 6. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, orange slices or apple slices
Recipe: White Bean and Tuna Salad
Base: Two 5 oz cans of tuna One 14 oz can of great northern beans Half of a small red onion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 tablespoon of dried parsley 1 tablespoon of lemon juice 1 tablespoon of capers
Drain the tuna and beans and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and lightly mash the beans while mixing. Serve on crackers or with crudité.