If you’re a busy social worker, you spend most of your day taking care of others, leaving little time and energy for taking care of yourself! You probably eat a lot of lunches at your desk and in your car. You want to eat healthy, but it’s tough. You may be on a budget, and you don’t have much time. The last thing you want to do is fuss with complicated recipes or ingredients...
For you, we offer the following 10 healthy, super-easy lunch ideas that require little prep time and just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients. Pair any of these with a piece of fresh fruit or a handful of precut veggies, and you’ve got a tasty, nutritious meal to keep you fortified while you’re on the go.
For the days you just can’t resist the urge for fast food, we’ve included a few healthy alternatives available at national chains. After all, everybody deserves a break from packed lunches now and then… Why not keep it healthy?
|1. Turkey Caesar Sandwich – Just because turkey is low fat doesn’t mean is has to be bland. This turkey Caesar sandwich elevates the healthy cold cut to a new level. Don’t let the fancy name scare you, it’s a breeze to make. Low-fat mayonnaise helps keep the fat content down, lettuce provides some healthy greens, and multigrain bread helps fill you up and keep you satisfied.|
2. Apple Cheese Sandwich – We’ll admit it: This one sounds like something a child might request. But if you can get past the name, you’re in for a treat. Just cut up your favorite kind of apple into thin slices, then do the same with your favorite chunk cheese (low-fat, if you like). Now stack them, alternating, between two pieces of plain or toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread. (Hearty breads work best because they won’t get soggy and they’re more nutritious than white bread). We paired Granny Smith apples with low-fat mozzarella cheese… Delicious!
3. Egg-White Salad – Do you love egg salad, but not the fat and cholesterol? Try this easy, healthy recipe: Hard-boil 2 eggs. When cool, peel them and discard the yolk. Chop up the egg whites and put into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt (a great source of protein), 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon chopped dill (fresh is best), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Hint: Hard-boil eggs ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until you need them.
|4. Mediterranean Turkey Wrap – Folks at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) know a little something about eating healthy. This recipe from their archive is an easy-to-assemble wrap made with turkey, roma tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers and olives. Hint: If you’re on a special diet, be sure to check the nutrition label on the wraps. Just because they’re thin doesn’t mean they contain fewer calories or carbohydrates than a similar serving of bread.|
5. McDonald’s Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich – This sandwich from McDonald’s is surprisingly healthy, thanks to the way the chicken is prepared (grilled instead of fried). At 350 calories, 23 g protein, and 9g fat, it’s one of the healthier alternatives on the chain’s lunch/dinner menu. Their Grilled Chicken Salads are also good options, especially if you go light on the dressing or skip it altogether. Download McDonald’s nutrition sheet to learn more.
|6. Tuna Salad with Chickpeas – Throw out what you thought about tuna salad. The chickpeas in this tuna salad recipe add unexpected flavor and crunch, and makes the salad more filling. Using fat-free plain yogurt and light mayonnaise in place of the regular versions make it healthier. It’s so good, you won’t even miss the added fat!|
7. Pizza Roll-ups – Our friends at the American Heart Association describe this recipe as a “kid pleaser,” but we think it’s a great on-the-go lunch for pizza lovers of any age! Try adding roma tomatoes, mushrooms, red peppers, black olives, or any other healthy pizza topping to make them more savory and sophisticated. Once heated, the delicious flavors melt together. They’re yummy eaten warm or cold (after all the flavors have had a chance to meld).
|8. Creamy Chicken Apple Chicken Salad – Our mouths were watering as we reviewed this springtime recipe from the ADA. It’s packed with protein and very easy to make. Plus, it’s really versatile… Roll a half-cup of the mixture in a large piece of lettuce and eat it like a wrap, spoon it on top of crackers or crisp bread, or make a healthy, delicious sandwich with hearty wheat bread. Delicious!|
9. Taco Bell’s “Fresco” Items – Taco Bell recently introduced a new, healthier category to their menu. “Fresco” items are flavored with pico de gallo instead of the usual high-fat, high-calorie creamy sauces, sour cream, and guacamole. The chain offers several items with Fresco in the name, but says you can make any item Fresco just by asking. It’s a great way to cut out of lot of fat and calories. Learn more at Taco Bell nutrition
10. Subway’s “6 grams of Fat or Less” Items – There’s a reason that Jared lost all that weight eating Subway sandwiches. If you’re smart about what you order, it’s easy to keep the fat content and calories down and still enjoy a really satisfying meal. Choose one of several sandwiches or salads from the chain’s “6 grams of fat or less” menu. To boost nutritional benefits, load up on the veggies, choose baked chips instead of regular, and skip the oil dressing. See Subway nutrition facts.
10 healthy, super-easy lunch ideas for social workers that require little prep time and just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients.