Warmer weather is on the forecast, and that means it’s time to shed the bulky layers and break out the sundresses and skirts. You may be trying to adopt healthier habits to get ready for swimsuit season, and a great way to cut calories – and costs – is to bring your lunch to work. Even swapping a store-bought meal for one brought from home just one or two times a week can make a big difference.
Homemade lunches don’t have to mean dull, flavorless meals. Take some inspiration from the spring season and bring these easy, healthy meals with you to work.
Thai Lettuce Wraps
Looking to reduce your carb intake? Try these Thai Lettuce Wraps inspired by Jo Cooks. They’re loaded with spice and nutrients to make for a tasty meal you’ll look forward to eating.
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 1 boneless chicken breast, cooked and sliced
- 4 iceberg lettuce leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 2 scallions, chopped.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, garlic, hoisin, red pepper flakes and ginger. Add the chicken and toss in the sauce until covered. Place a few spoonfuls of chicken in the center of each lettuce leaf, top with the peppers, scallions and carrots and drizzle with the remaining sauce. Fold over the leaf and eat like a taco. You can also switch up this meal by using grilled shrimp or pork in the wraps.
Thai lettuce wraps are a great way to give your work lunch a makeover!
Farro Salad with Pistachios, Mixed Herbs and Golden Raisins
This creative recipe from Bon Appetit will freshen up your lunch hour with fresh herbs and sun-warmed raisins. Farro is a healthy ancient grain packed with essential vitamins.
- 2 cups farro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
- Black pepper
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 serrano chile, sliced (optional).
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add a teaspoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Rinse the farro under and add to the water once it reaches a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes – every 5 minutes or so you will need to skim the surface of the water. Bon Appetit suggests next toasting the pistachios in the oven, but you can also use the nuts fresh. Then in a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, ginger, sugar, salt and pepper, gradually adding in the oil. After the farro is finished cooking, rinse under water and pour into a large bowl. Add in the herbs, raisins, pistachios and chile, if you want a little extra kick, and combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the rice and enjoy.
Pasta Primavera - the perfect springtime meal.
Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera
Few dishes are more perfect for the season than Pasta Primavera - "primavera" literally means "spring" in Italian. Pasta doesn't just have to be for dinner, so cook up this meal as a great work lunch. Regular pasta swapped for the whole-wheat variety makes the meal more nutritious. Try this recipe from FamilyCircle magazine.
- 1/2 pound green beans, ends cut off and sliced into small pieces
- 1/2 pound asparagus, ends cut off and sliced into small pieces
- 2 orange bell peppers, sliced
- 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped.
Add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and asparagus and cook for 4 minutes, then add the peppers and boil for an additional minute. Remove the vegetables and drain. Cook the pasta in the water, drain and return to the pot. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the chicken broth, half-and-half, nutmeg, salt and pepper to a gentle simmer. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and garlic, followed by the bell pepper, asparagus and green beans. Cook for 2 minutes, then pour into the pasta pot. Add the cheese and cream sauce and combine fully with the pasta. Top with extra Parmesan and enjoy!