Wellness

Healthy lunches aren’t just for kids

October 4, 2011

Healthy lunches aren’t just for kids

Remember the “choose my plate” portion plate – even when packing your lunch. A healthy lunch will have all the food groups that you see on the plate: 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).

Healthy Lunch
A healthy lunch doesn't have to be a boring lunch.

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
One Comment
  1. Joanne

    If the plain fat-free Greek yogurt is a little strong for your tastebuds (tried it in another cabbage salad), what would the next best option be for a substitute? I bought the Greek yogurt for another salad and didn't care for the taste because of the yogurt, and the Greek yogurt is actually a little more in cost too, so would rather get my money's worth and enjoy what I'm eating. Thanks for your help!

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