Bento boxes are a easy and colorful way to get a variety into your lunch. They’re also great for lunches on the go, especially during the summer! I tried to make mine as clean-eating and fun as possible by adding in a mixture of protein, fruit and veggies. For this particular ‘box,’ I added in some homemade peanut butter hummus to dip in. It tastes great with both the veggies and apple slices
Clean-Eating Bento Box with Peanut Butter Hummus
- 4 large hard-boiled eggs
- 4 celery stalks, cut into thin strips
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 4-ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
- 2 cups grapes
- 1 apple, cut into wedges
- 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Divide all ingredients evenly into 4 containers.
- Add all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth; about 1 minute. Store in 4 small airtight containers.
With this Bento Box, I went with Spinach Turkey Pinwheels with a side of grapes, carrots and cucumber slices. The wrap itself is spinach and tastes delicious paired with slices of low-sodium deli turkey, cheddar cheese and baby spinach. Another easy and clean-eating lunch that you can throw together in 5 minutes and take on-the-go!
Spinach Turkey Pinwheels Bento Box
- 1 large spinach tortilla
- 2-ounces thinly sliced low-sodium deli turkey
- handful of baby spinach
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup red grapes
- 8 baby carrots
- 6 cucumber slices
- Lay out spinach tortilla and spread baby spinach in the middle as evenly as possible. Add turkey slices and cheese. Tightly roll tortilla until you reach edge and using a knife, cut into 6 slices.
- Add to a container withy grapes, carrots and cucumber slices.
- Adapted recipe from Damn Delicious.
Adapted from Damn Delicious
I don’t know anyone else who loves egg salad more than me. It can be made so healthy-ish, it’s simple to make and it tastes great in a variety of ways. Plus it’s loaded in protein! This particular recipe is 2 eggs per serving equaling up to 12g of protein! That’s great for a pre or post-workout meal.
Since I’m still getting the hang of this container counting, I’ve been getting quite a bit of help from some blogs that I’ve found on Pinterest, (thank goodness for Pinterest, by the way) – it can be a little overwhelming at first, so finding food ideas via others who have done it before is a tremendous stress-reliever and makes nutrition blocks seem much more do-able. I’m on week 2 and I’m starting to get the hang of it. You can eat “outside of the box.” You don’t have to eat strictly meat and a vegetable and a teaspoon for each meal. There are some great resources out there that are much more creative, like this egg salad recipe that I found via Carrie Elle.
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1½ tsp lite mayo
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp paprika
- pinch of himalayan salt and pepper, for taste
- Add all ingredients into a medium size bowl. Chill for approximately 1+ hour, if possible before serving.
- 1 red, 1.5 tsp for 21DayFix.
Tuna is a good source of protein if you’re looking to temporarily ditch the chicken. I’m always interested in anything that ends with the word salad; chicken and tuna both, but I’m especially interested when you can cut the calories in half by using yogurt. And while yogurt is ideal, it can also lack a little bit of flavor. This is where apple and celery come in. The sweetness of diced apple pieces and the crunch of celery make this meal an easy repeat offender.
Apple and Yogurt Tuna Salad
A healthy spin on tuna salad, fruit and veggies included.
- 1 small apple, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- ¼ cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 5-ounce can of tuna, drained
- 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt, for taste
- pepper, for taste
- Add all ingredients into a medium size bowl. Serve over whole-wheat bread, a bed of lettuce or in a pita.
I spent the middle of my March Madness-on-a-Saturday afternoon online looking for some new healthy recipes for the week that I could give a try. Pinterest never fails, I found this easy (and super delicious) recipe from Gimme Some Oven that I just had to prepare for my lunches. Not only does it include just a few simple ingredients – the dressing is extremely tasty and blends well with the pasta and vegetables.
Meal prep keeps me on my toes. I’ve always believed that if you don’t plan accordingly, you’re setting yourself up to potentially slide off the path.
Luckily – this pasta salad holds well for several days. Prep away.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Quick take on a Mediterranean style pasta dish that's best served cold.
- 12-ounce box of farfalle pasta
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
- 4-ounces crumbled fat-free feta cheese
- half of a medium size red onion, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best!)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon organic honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Cook pasta accordingly. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta can be handled.
- Meanwhile, prepare lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Using a large bowl, add your pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion slices. Mix well. Carefully fold feta cheese into mixture, followed by drizzling the lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing overtop. Toss salad well so that dressing is evenly spread.
- Divide between 4 bowls and serve with additional feta cheese if desired.
- The original recipe calls for olives. I don't care much for them, but if you do, feel free to add a handful to the ingredients.
If you’re like me, you’ve gone through your Pinterest feed for what feels like a gazillion times looking for some sort of “different” kind of lunch to prepare for the week. I often like to base my mid-day meals around salads or something close to, as lunch is when I like to get the majority of my greens and vegetables intake.
With today being Labor Day, the kids being home from school and a local Arts Festival going on; I wanted to get my grocery shopping done early yesterday so that I could successfully complete all my Sunday chores today and not having some spill over into the first of the week and delay any fun or relaxation for today. I started my meal-plan planning extra early because so. (Remember… fail to plan, plan to fail!) – and while things didn’t go as planned (one child is sick), my food was still ready today so I didn’t have to worry about screwing up on my new dietary!
I don’t feel like I get my share of enough egg-protein, or at least I don’t feel like I have lately. So when I opened my laptop this morning I made sure to search for a recipe that would require at least one egg or more. I can always make the staple recipe for egg salad; I could prepare it blind-folded, but I wanted something that had a little more taste to it. One where by Tuesday afternoon, I’m already sure that come Wednesday’s lunch time I will be wanting anything BUT what I’ve already got prepared. And so I ran across this recipe for a Cobb Egg Salad from Lemon Tree Dwelling that had one key ingredient that won me over – dry ranch dressing mix. I like to use my dry ranch with yogurt for a healthier take on ranch dressing for dipping some veggie sticks in. If you love ranch, you can’t really go wrong with this dressing mix.
Another great thing about egg salad is how quickly you can prep it. Sure, if you’re not much of an hard-boiled egg peeler it can take *some* time, but I promise with practice and correct technique you’ll get the knack of doing it. Afterall, it took me months but I finally got it and I can proudly say that today I peeled 6 eggs in under 10 minutes. That’s an accomplishment! The rest of the ingredients though – super easy to assemble and throw into a bowl. Almost too easy.
Ranch-Style Cobb Salad
If egg salad and cobb salad were to meet in an alley, and egg happened to have brought ranch with him and cobb, arugula lettuce - this would be the outcome. Enjoy this recipe with rye crackers, as a salad or on a sandwich. Perfect for both parties and for meal-prepped lunches for the week.
- 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
- 4 pieces cooked turkey bacon, crumbled into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
- ½ dry ranch dressing mix
- ¼ cup grape tomatoes, diced
- ¼ cup celery, diced small
- ¼ teaspoon green onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup chopped arugula lettuce
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Hard-boil your eggs; bringing your pot of water and eggs to a raging boil over medium-high heat. When this has happened, turn off heat and cover pot with a lid allowing to sit for 12 minutes. Run cold water over eggs before attempting to peel. After eggs have been peeled, chop into small pieces.
- Using a large mixing bowl add eggs, bacon, tomatoes, arugula and cheese. Next add mayonnaise and dry ranch dressing mix, stirring gently but combining well. Serve or store in a tight-closed container for later.
- Original recipe can be found at Lemon Tree Dwelling (www.lemontreedwelling.com) - I added a few extra vegetables, etc of my own to their own delicious recipe.
Love buffalo chicken, but need a little break from the buffalo chicken dip you have at parties? I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for something simple and easy to prepare for lunch this week since I will be back and forth between two houses before we move. I was not only surprised at how almost effortless these tortilla rollups were, but how good they were! You really can’t go wrong with buffalo anything and while this is very similar in ingredients to the buffalo chicken dip; it still has it’s own unique taste.
Because we do tacos once a week, I often have an abundant amount of flour tortillas in the pantry and hate to see them go to waste. I try to come up with new and different ways to use them rather it’s just an easy microwaveable cheese rollup, or homemade cinnamon tortilla “chips” to enjoy with a side of fresh fruit. Your tortilla options are endless! This called for 4 tortillas, but let’s say you were to prepare this recipe for a game-day; you’d only need a few to make a plateful of little tortilla rolls. Best part is the prep time is 5-10 minutes max if you’re using rotisserie chicken!
Buffalo Chicken Tortillas
Simple buffalo chicken tortilla rollups using a few key ingredients and a quick assemble. Great as a game day appetizer!
- 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup frank's buffalo sauce
- 1/8 cup blue cheese crumbles
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 6-inch flour tortillas
- Using a medium size bowl, combine cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles and sour cream. Stir so that all are mixed together well.
- In a separate medium size bowl, add rotisserie chicken and buffalo sauce. Combine so that chicken is evenly coated with sauce.
- Using parchment paper on a solid surface, lay tortillas flat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cheese mixture to tortilla, spreading evenly to all edges. Next add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture, spreading evenly on-top of cheese mixture. Roll tortilla, tightly, and remove from parchment to a plate. When all tortillas are rolled and plated, place plate in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow tortillas to "cool." This makes it easier for cutting.
- When time is up, remove tortillas from fridge and place onto a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice into each tortilla to make small rollups that are not too large, but not too thin so that they fall apart.
- Serve chilled with green onions for garnishing, if desired.
A lot of meal plans that I have seen in the past have included a hard boiled egg at some point, be it with an entree or as a mid-day snack. I’ll be the first to admit that while I do tend to eat a lot of eggs for breakfast or as a quick and easy snack, I do not necessarily like them. I never have and I’m way past the “you just may grow to like them” stage. However, there are some circumstances where they taste a little more enjoyable to me, and in a cobb salad is one. I’m not sure if it’s because of the dressing or the ingredients that they’re paired up with; they’re just much more tolerable.
But if you’re an egg lover, then chances are you’ll love this salad as well. It’s simple to make, and really doesn’t take much preparation effort aside from cooking the bacon and hard-boiling the eggs. And the dressing is light and delicious.
Funny thing about these pictures – if you’ve already scrolled down and looked at the recipe ingredients, you know that it calls for blue cheese. Yes, that’s shredded mozzarella cheese in the picture. I had full intentions of eating this Cobb salad with blue cheese and didn’t pick up any at the grocery this week because I made my list knowing that I had a container in the refrigerator whose expiration date wasn’t even close to today’s date.
Don’t trust those expiration dates.
After preparing everything and assembling, I got to the part where I add the cheese and went to open the container. The FOULEST smell, hit me so hard it almost knocked me out! Not to mention that the entire amount was covered with more blue than you typically see. Again, expiration date? The end of August. There was no way I was using that, so I tossed it in a plastic grocery bag and walked it to the garage dumpster verses even taking the chance of smelling that in the trash container in the house. So gross. So THAT’S why I used mozzarella cheese. Tastes good with this version, and you know – if you don’t like blue cheese, you can always substitute it with other cheese choices such as goat cheese, mozzarella, or feta. Whatever is on your plate is always your pick of the crop! Enjoy.
Good ol' fashion cobb salad recipe with a homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 6 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
- ¼ cup avocado, optional
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon pure honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Using a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for dressing with a whisk until well combined.
- Align a plate with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, turkey bacon, egg slices and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle dressing overtop.
Quick lunch alert! It’s pool season and if you’re like me; you are attempting to not only eat healthy at all times, but also avoid the ridiculously overpriced pool food. I love pizza as much as the next person, so I have to remind myself how long it would take to burn those pizza calories off on the elliptical (it’s 60 minutes) each time I see a child walk by with a slice on their plate.
White Bean Tuna Salad is packed with protein and inexpensive to make. While all beans are low-calorie and cholesterol free; I used a can of Northern Beans because I know that in just a single cup there’s nearly 4 of iron. And that’s not the only benefit – they’re also a great source of dietary fiber, protein and potassium. Which makes the “did you get your beans in today?” phrase make sense.
White Bean Tuna Salad
A light take on a tuna and bean salad. This tastes great on it's on, on top of a slice of grain bread or crackers.
- 15-ounce can Northern Beans
- 5-ounce can chunk light tuna in water
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
- salt and pepper, for taste
- Rinse and drain beans using a colander. Set aside.
- Add can of tuna to a small bowl after draining excess juice in sink. Pat dry with a paper towel. Next, add beans to tuna followed by green onion slices, lemon juice, olive oil and mayonnaise. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over-top and mix well.
- Chill in refrigerator momentarily before serving.
While we’re on this chicken and salad combo mix, I figured I may as well go ahead and add Chicken Caesar to the lineup. You can get as fancy as you want with salads, (or any meal for that matter) but you almost always go back to the basics when the plate is clean. See what I did there?
When we go out to eat, 8/10 times I order the Chicken Caesar Salad no matter where we are. There are some places that I have had the salad quite a few times and I already know how good it is. There are other places where I am just going to assume the salad will be good enough because it’s a safe choice on the menu. Can you really mess up a caesar salad? Absolutely. Serve it with anchovies for someone who is deathly afraid of the look of anchovies. Sure, a lot of the times the dressing is made with it. I don’t need the proof right in front of my face though.
I can totally avoid the anchovies at home because caesar dressing I’ve been using on my salads is actually really simple to make. It just consists of 6 ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
Nothing fishy going on here.
And remember, if you want to add a little extra to your salad; pasta is always a good choice. (Thanks for the introduction to it, Skinnymom) – Just be cautious with those croutons! While croutons in a salad are ohsodelicious, they’re also bread and you know what they say about bread: “All aboard the carb train.”
Chicken Caesar Salad
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
- 20 fat-free caesar croutons
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
- Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!
I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more.
Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.
Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.
You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!
Greek Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken
- 1½ cups red grapes, halved
- medium apple, diced
- 1½ cups celery, diced
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg
- Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
- Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.