Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Do Lunch Challenge

In our February Foodtrainers’ newsletter we issued a challenge. We suggested readers pick a week and make their lunch for that entire week. Making your lunch saves money, calories and we find usually tastes better than salad-bar salads and salty soups.

Foodtrainers’ favorite lunches:

1. Zoe tuna is this amazing tuna that comes in a jar. Try ½ jar, ½ avocado and beets  over greens. Other great jarred tuna brands are ortiz and callipo.

2. Nori Wraps-I was reminded of this great idea reading The Kind Diet. You can use sheets of Nori and wrap your favorite sandwich filling. Another calorie-saving option is to use large lettuce leaves. Try this with Zoe tuna or curry chicken salad below.
3. Muffin Frittatas- these are a go-to recipe of mine for breakfast or lunch. I make a batch and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Recipe below
4. Curry Chicken Salad- Ellie Krieger has some of the tastiest, healthy recipes around. I love her curry chicken recipe.
5. The Easiest Soup in the World- I hosted a cooking class with Jenna Helwig of Rosaberry  a couple of months ago for family friendly recipes. This soup was a hit, takes very little time to prepare and is a staple in my lunch repertoire. Recipe Below


Mini Muffin Veggie Frittatas

2 mini muffin trays

Cooking Spray (I like Spectrum brand Canola spray)

Veggies (experiment with any veggies!) 1 red bell pepper, mushrooms, spinach, onions, broccoli whatever you have.

6 omega 3 eggs, 4 additional egg whites (can use 8 whole eggs, 16 whites, 2 whites=1 whole)

½ tsp each salt and black pepper

1 tsp chopped herbs (parsley or chives)

½ cup grated reduced fat cheddar or any cheese (OPTIONAL)

Spray 2 mini muffin trays with cooking spray. Preheat oven 375. Chop 1 red pepper, handful of spinach and couple of mushrooms (you can use any veggies). Mix together eggs/whites, herbs, salt and pepper. Add veggies to muffin trays. Spoon egg mixture over veggies almost to top. Scatter cheese on top if using or wait until halfway through cooking. Cook about 15 min or until frittatas rise up and slightly brown. These can be reheated in toaster oven at 300 degrees or nuked in a pinch.

The Easiest Soup in the World (White bean and tomato soup)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 can (14-15 oz.) organic diced tomatoes with juices

2 cups chicken broth (I like Pacific regular or low sodium)

2 cans Eden cannellini (white) beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 pound ham, cut into strips or cubes (we used Rosemary ham, delish)

Baby greens, like arugula or romaine (1 bag or 5 oz.)

1/2 tsp. salt.

 Heat oil over medium heat on stove. Add garlic and stir until golden for one or two minutes.
Add tomatoes and juices to garlic. Stir in broth, beans, and ham and bring liquid to a simmer
Simmer soup for five minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add salt and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Store in refrigerator or freezer.

What are your favorite healthy lunches? Are you ready to accept the Foodtrainers “let’s do lunch” challenge?


  1. That's a great health challenge! Hopefully it's one that is habit forming.

  2. My favorite quick lunch is a wrap sandwich made with joseph's lavash bread (the low carb one with flax, oat bran, etc...). I usually put
    slices of ham, alpine lace Swiss, and some fresh baby spinach. And since I'm bored with mustard lately, I take a small squirt of light mayonnaise and mix it with dab of hot sauce (usually Tiger Sauce). The result is a very flavorful dressing, one that isn't very spicy, and a little goes a long way.

    I am definitely making that soup... looks excellent!

  3. Sheryl, so true...not about doing for 1 week but doing (and I mean bringing lunch) it forever. Sue- sounds good, could also do avocado or hummus.

  4. This is a great challenge. I bring my lunch almost every day and most often I tote leftovers from the night before. (I try to make a little extra at dinner so there will be enough.) I am, however, going to add the mini frittatas to my repertoire. Thanks!

  5. What an excellent idea! Lunch is my biggest challenge of the day. Why? Because I work at a school. A very fancy, expensive private school, but one that serves really crappy food nonetheless. For example, today's lunch entree is chicken fried steak and the vegetarian option is deep fried cheese ravioli. Now I just need a few more minutes in the morning to pack my lunch.

  6. I am up for the challenge. I am going to try everything and report back...

  7. I planned for my lunch challenge this week and I am having so much fun stepping out of my box.

    I made the soup -- WE LOVED IT!! Jeff had 2 bowls full. I love the low sodium chicken broth. It really made a huge difference in the taste. I am going to make again but add different veggies and less beans. It is a great base for soup.

    Curry Chicken salad is for lunch tomorrow. I will report back after I enjoy it.

    I also made a recipe tonight for dinner that you may love -- it's an Oprah recipe

    Mango Couscous
    1 cup couscous ( I used quinoa)
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 clove garlic , minced
    1 mango , peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
    1 jalapeno , seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
    1/2 cup raisins
    1 ripe tomato , chopped
    Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
    1/4 cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
    1/4 cup parsley sprigs, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon salt , plus more to taste

    Prepare couscous according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

    Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add garlic, mango and jalapeño. Sauté until mango begins to color, about 1 minute.

    Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and parsley and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.