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||Healthy Lunch

Healthy lunches aren't just for kids

A healthy lunch will have all the food groups: dairy, vegetable, fruit, protein, and grain.

Let’s put some together.

For peanut butter fans: The all-time favorite is peanut butter on whole grain bread (protein + grain). If you include a banana, then you have your fruit in the sandwich. With that, add baby carrots (vegetable) and light yogurt (dairy).

Don’t like a sandwich? Try these:

  • Fat-free cottage cheese with a serving of fruit (protein + fruit)
  • Whole grain crackers (grain)
  • Skim milk or light yogurt (dairy)
  • Celery with peanut butter (veggie + protein) 

How about hummus? If you like hummus, use it as a dip with vegetables. Try whole grain crackers or pita bread, to add a serving of grains, if you are using hummus as a vegetable dip. Add skim milk or light yogurt and fruit and you are done (protein + vegetable + grain + dairy + fruit).

You can also spread hummus on whole grain bread and add a vegetable to create a Mediterranean sandwich (protein + vegetable + grain) . Hummus, plus a grain, equals a complete protein.

Mmmm … cheese: If you like spicy tastes, try this microwave quesadilla: roll a mozzarella cheese stick up in a whole grain tortilla. Place it on plate and microwave about 50 seconds until the cheese melts. Dip it in salsa for a kick of flavor. (grain + dairy)

Loving those leftovers: Leftovers are great. From homemade soups and casseroles to last night’s leftover meatloaf – you can quickly make a meal by adding baby carrots or celery sticks, seasonal fruit and skim milk.

Need a treat? Try this month’s recipe for Five Cup Salad. This is a makeover recipe. By using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, we’ve added the much-needed protein with a creamy texture. And by using coconut extract instead of coconut, we have the flavor without the added saturated fat. This salad makes it easy to enjoy fruit with the added protein from yogurt.

Five Cup Salad

  • 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, rinsed and drained (fruit)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pineapple chunks, packed in its own juice, rinsed and drained (fruit)
  • ½ cup miniature marshmallows
  • ¾ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (protein + dairy)
  • Sugar substitute equal to 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract

In a medium bowl, combine orange sections, pineapple chunks and marshmallows. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, sugar substitute and coconut extract. Add to orange mixture and gently mix together. Cover and chill at least two hours.

Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 2/3 cup

Nutritional Content:
(with artificial sweetener)
Calories: 139
Carbohydrate: 32 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 0
Saturated fat: 0
Trans fat: 0
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 26 milligrams
Nutritional Content:
(with sugar)
Calories: 146
Carbohydrate: 34 grams
Fiber: 2
Fat: 0
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 26 milligrams
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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