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5 Healthy and satisfying lunch ideas

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Healthy lunches

Nutritious food doesn't have to be boring or bland. With these healthy lunch ideas, your meal can be tasty and satisfying.

Stuffed pita pocket

1Colorful salad

A salad can be yummy, depending on what's in it. Instead of a boring salad with iceberg lettuce and a couple slices of tomato, make a colorful salad chock full of healthy veggies. Start with baby spinach or a dark green lettuce (romaine and arugula are rich in vitamin K and other nutrients). Mix in slices of cucumber, bell pepper and red onion. Add protein to your salad in the form of shredded skinless chicken breasts (which you can cook the night before) or all white tuna. Skip the dressing altogether or add a tablespoon or two of the non-fat variety.

2Stuffed pita pocket

Instead of white sandwich bread, grab a whole grain pita and stuff it with a combination of healthy ingredients. A hard boiled egg is a good source of protein, and delicious when combined with chopped cucumber, red onion and a touch of non-fat mayo. Tuna, along with chopped celery, peppers, grapes and walnuts, is another delicious and nutritious idea. Get creative and stuff your pita with a combination of low-fat cottage cheese, berries and chunks of pineapple. Any assortment of fruits and veggies, lean meat or fish, and seeds or nuts is a healthy option for lunch.

3Turkey spinach panini

Start with whole grain bread to create this yummy and nutritious panini sandwich -- perfect for lunch.

Turkey spinach paniniIngredients

  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 4 oz low sodium turkey breast
  • 1 slice low-fat swiss cheese

Directions

  1. Spread hummus over each slice of bread.
  2. Rinse spinach leaves with cold water and dry. Stack on one slice of bread.
  3. Top spinach with turkey and cheese.
  4. Cook for five minutes in a panini maker or grill for three minutes per side in a skillet over medium heat.

Add other fresh veggies such as bell pepper, red onion and cucumber as desired before grilling.

4Chicken couscous salad

Here's another kind of salad that makes the perfect, healthy meal for lunch. This chicken salad features couscous, olives and other delicious ingredients. With under 350 calories and 25 grams of protein per serving, this salad is a hearty, healthy option.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups cooked skinless chicken or turkey breasts

Directions

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions, omitting salt and any oil or fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Combine olives and the rest of the ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Add couscous to olive mixture and toss gently to coat.
  4. Stir in chicken just before serving.

This recipe was slightly adapted from a recipe from Cooking Light.

5Mexican veggie stacks

This lunch recipe from Good Housekeeping features grilled veggies and other ingredients that you'll really love.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons hot Mexican-style chili powder, or 1 tablespoon regular chili powder
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 large (6-ounce) poblano chile
  • 2 ears corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 large (14-ounce) red onion, cut crosswise into slices
  • 1 medium (10-ounces) zucchini, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large (12 ounces each) tomatoes, each cut horizontally in half
  • 4 ounce(s) Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno chiles, shredded

Directions

  1. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.
  2. In cup, combine chili powder, 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set chili oil aside. In bowl, combine cilantro, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
  3. Place poblano and corn on hot grill rack. Grill poblano and corn 10 to 15 minutes or until poblano is blistered on all sides and corn is charred in a few spots, turning occasionally.
  4. Remove poblano from grill; wrap in foil and set aside 15 minutes. Transfer corn to cutting board.
  5. Push skewer horizontally through each onion slice to hold slice together. Brush both sides of onion and zucchini slices and cut sides of tomatoes with chili oil; place on hot grill rack. Grill onion and zucchini 10 minutes or until tender, turning over once. Grill tomatoes 6 to 8 minutes or until slightly softened, turning over once. As vegetables are done, remove to platter and keep warm.
  6. Unwrap poblano; cut off stem. Cut poblano lengthwise in half; peel off skin and discard seeds, then cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Cut corn from cobs; add to cilantro mixture.
  7. Assemble stacks: Remove skewers from onion slices. On each of 4 dinner plates, place a tomato half, cut side up; top with all of zucchini, then half of cheese. Arrange onion on top, separating into rings; sprinkle with remaining cheese then poblano. Top with corn mixture.

Tell us

What is your favorite healthy lunch?

Share in the comments section below!

More healthy eating tips

5 Food priorities for healthy eating
Must-have healthy foods for 2011
Healthful snacks for your snack attack

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