hey everyone! today is the big day, so i’m off getting married! don’t fret though, one of my blogging bff’s has written an amazing post for me today.
I’m so happy to be here guest posting for Sarah during such a happy time in her life. My name is Lindsay and I blog over at The Lean Green Bean. I’m not even sure how Sarah & I found each other’s blogs, but I do know I never would have made it through my first year of blogging without her! She’s been a constant support system over the past several months, encouraging me, listening to me vent and inspiring me to try new things. She responds to my text messages, consistently beats me in Words with Friends, and she even sent me a box of goodies on my birthday!
I’ve had so much fun getting to know her and “watching” her plan her wedding that I think I might be almost as excited as she is that the day is finally here! Have I mentioned that we have almost the exact same wedding ring?! Crazy, right?
Anyways, I’m currently in school to become a Registered Dietitian so I’m all about healthy eating. Since it’s back to school season and all (and to help us pass the time until we get to hear about Sarah’s wedding), I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite healthy lunch & snack ideas. I’m all about eating a little of a lot of different things so my lunch box is usually crammed pretty full! Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to try something new in your lunchbox!
Lindsay’s Lunchbox Ideas
1. Hummus & Veggies
Homemade hummus is just about the easiest thing to make EVER. It’s cheap, delicious AND healthy….and there are so many different flavor combos you can make. Some of my favorites include sweet potato, roasted red pepper and roasted garlic. There are tons of different recipes but the one I use is just about as basic as it gets:
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
juice of one lemon
¼ c water
pinch of salt
- a roasted head of garlic
- a microwaved sweet potato
- a roasted red pepper
- cayenne pepper
- curry powder (great with the sweet potato version)
Whip up a batch of hummus Sunday night and portion it out into tupperware containers for your lunchbox during the week. Pair it with your favorite veggies or some crackers or pita chips.
- Spread it on a tortilla, add veggies and make a wrap
- Put it on top of your burger
- Add it to your salad instead of dressing
2. Greek Yogurt, Fruit & Granola
I was never a big fan of Greek yogurt until this year. Now I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed. It’s such a great source of protein and tastes great with fresh fruit. I also started using it in baking to make some healthier treats! Some of the flavored varieties can be a bit high in sugar so here’s my advice: buy the plain kind, then just add a spoonful or two of the flavored kind and mix it all together. It takes a little getting used to, but now I buy huge tubs of plain Fage yogurt at Costco and when it’s time to pack my lunch I spoon some out into a smaller container and add a scoop of flavored Chobani. I can make one 6oz Chobani container last about 4 lunches. Add some fresh fruit and granola to the container and you’re good to go!
*Suggestion: Make your own granola or granola bars and crumble them into your granola for added nutrition…so easy, and way cheaper than buying them. Plus you can customize them to include all your favorite ingredients. Here’s my favorite granola bar recipe.
3. Chicken (or Tuna) Salad
This is another one of my lunchbox staples. My mom used to make it all the time and it was one of my favorite snacks. My version is pretty simple:
1 can low-sodium tuna or chicken
1-2 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt (or mayo)
curry powder and cayenne pepper to taste
¼ c green onions
Mix it all together and enjoy with your favorite crackers, or in Tuna Roll-ups!
Instead of Greek yogurt or mayo, try adding hummus to hold everything together like this
4. Homemade trail mix (nuts, roasted chickpeas, rasins)
Homemade trail mix is super easy and way cheaper than buying the pre-mixed versions. My mix usually includes raw unsalted almonds, walnuts, raisins, some sort of crackers or cereal, raisins and roasted chickpeas…and maybe a few dark chocolate chips for good measure.
Are you on board with roasted chickpeas? They’re one of my all-time favorite snacks! Here’s how I make them:
Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas and pat dry with a paper towel. Spread them out on a jelly roll pan, mist with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite spices (paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, curry powder…). Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned and crunchy, stirring occasionally.
5. Leafy Salad
There are literally endless salad combos out there. Use your imagination so keep your lunch from getting boring. One of my favorite combos that’s a bit non-traditional:
baby spinach, sliced apples, red onion, hard boiled egg slices, pomegranate arils and crumbled goat cheese!
-instead of regular salad dressing, try topping your salad with salsa or hummus
-instead of store bought dressing, take 5 minutes and make your own!
If you get tired of lettuce salad, switch over to pasta salad. It tastes great warm or cold. One of my favorites:
Orzo with red peppers, baby bok choy, onion, carrots and broccoli topped with Italian dressing
-instead of orzo, use your favorite type of pasta
-make a veggie & noodle bowl using soba (buckwheat) noodles.
6. Apples & Peanut butter (sliced or rings)
Apples and peanut butter are one of my favorite flavor pairings. When I need to eat on the go, I stick my apple slices and pb in the same container and just scoop and eat on the run. When I have a bit more time, I like to be fancy and use my apple corer. Then I can make apple rings which are much more fun than slices. Top them with peanut butter or Greek yogurt and enjoy. If you’re feeling really adventurous, turn them in to apple nachos.
-If you get board of just apples and peanut butter (IMPOSSIBLE!), smear some peanut butter on a flat out wrap, add some granola and apple slices. Roll up and enjoy.
We’re HUGE fans of Mexican food in our house and we love quesadillas. They’re perfect for lunch because you can make them the night before to help everything stick together and then just reheat when you’re ready to eat!
Use the traditional fillings like chicken and veggies, or change it up and add hummus and a leftover black bean burger! Either way, the key ingredient is cheese : )
8. Spring rolls
I pretty much love spring rolls and I think the main reason I do is because I love putting the rice paper in water and watching it turn all soft and roll-able! Spinach is always a key ingredient in mine. Then I add veggies, chicken if I feel like it, or if I’m feeling crazy I make these Salmon Avocado Spring Rolls or these Mexican Spring Rolls!
The good news? Pretty much any food you can imagine tastes good inside a spring roll wrapper : )
Want your week to get off to a really good start? Make a big batch of pancakes over the weekend and put the extras in your lunchbox on Monday! And then, instead of syrup, top them with yogurt and fresh fruit!
Some of my favorite pancakes:
If you’re feeling adventurous, make these buckwheat crepes!
10. Any number of other ideas that I can’t seem to narrow down any further:
-Loaded sweet potato
-Homemade peanut butter sandwich crackers
What’s your favorite lunchbox idea?
Thanks for joining me today. Kudos to you if you made it all the way to the bottom! If you’re looking for more lunch ideas, visit my blog, click the recipe tab and scroll all the way to the bottom. I did a series called Lindsay’s Lunchbox on my blog every Friday for 15 weeks and there are some GREAT ideas both from my readers and me.
Best wishes to Sarah & Brad!
PS…since we’re celebrating weddings and all, just thought I’d share a few from my wedding. I’m coming up on my 3 year anniversary at the end of September!
wow, i am blown away by all of these delicious and creative ideas (and the beautiful wedding photos)! thank you so much for the awesome guest post, lindsay!
i know i will be referencing this post and lindsay’s blog for lunch & snack ideas from now on. everything looks so delicious! i’m all about the hummus, roasted chickpeas, and of course quesadillas (with plenty of cheese!)… make sure you stop by lindsay’s blog to say hi and drool over all of her other awesome recipes!