Friday, March 20, 2009

Save Time and Money, Pack Your Lunch

Packing a lunch for work, school, flight or family outing is a convenient if you do a bit of planning ahead. Think of the last time you were at the airport. Would you rather have your favorite lunch packed for your flight or eat the random fast food in the food court? I'll take a homemade lunch anyday!

By spending a few minutes before you leave the house, you can reap huge rewards!
  • Save money by not eating convenience foods, which by nature of being "convenient" are priced higher.
  • Save time and hassle of waiting in long lunch lines, deciding where to eat, traveling to the restaurant, etc.
  • Be better to your body because convenient foods are often high in fat, calorie dense, filled with sugar, and in general offer little nutritional value.

Here is one of my favorite quick lunch salad recipes that you can make quickly the night before.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad (Serves 1)

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 6-oz can tuna in spring water, drained and flaked

1/4 cup kidney or white beans, rinsed and drained

4 Kalamata olives, sliced

1/4 cup sliced cucumber

1/4 roasted red pepper-halves, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

1 tbs chopped red onion

1 tbs crumbled feta

1 tbs thinly sliced fresh basil

2 tbs roasted unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)

Fresh cracked pepper

Vinaigrette Dressing:

Whisk together 2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tbs olive oil, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard for a quick dressing. Note: I prefer less oil than traditional vinaigrette. Experiment with your quantities or make a larger batch ahead for several salads.

Directions for Lunch Packing:

Pack the salad in a large resealable container. I prefer the Tall Entree from Gladware. Pack the dressing in an Mini Round resealable container. Pack pepitas in a small snack plastic bag and assemble just before serving.

For more packable lunch recipe ideas, check out this article from the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light.

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