Making a commitment to healthy eating is never wrong. But many of us find it difficult to maintain that commitment when it comes to lunch. It becomes a battle of reality vs expectation. You buy things ahead and hope to prep each morning, but shoot..kids are uncooperative or nuts, the greens went bad…it just doesn’t happen and frustration sets in. Next thing you know you are at the little fast food place trying to Google what you should eat.
Menu planning can be one of the most useful tools in creating a realistic expectations and outcomes. If I know I am making roast chicken one night (or dashing to the store for a rotisserie one when Plan A fails), I plan to use the leftover chicken in a salad the next day. If I make a larger dinner (like lasagna) one night, I plan on the leftovers being my lunch later in the week. Sounds simple, right? I will not lie and say each week runs seamless, but a menu does allow for me to make plans and allot resources in a more efficient manner than scrambling to be innovative each morning.
Here is an example:
Lunch-Lentil Soup with Brown Rice
Dinner-Roast Chicken, Roast Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach with garlic
Lunch-Balsamic Chicken Salad (1)
Dinner: Sausage Lasagna with Roasted Beets
Lunch-Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed (2)
Dinner- Pan-seared Salmon with Baked Sweet Potato and Roasted Broccoli
Lunch-Sausage Lasagna with Greens Salad
Dinner- Bean Enchiladas with Homemade Pico de Gallo and Guacamole
Lunch-Cheese Quesadillas with Guacamole
Dinner-Tagliatelle with Roast Chicken, Broccoli and Beets
Is it the most inspired menu? No, probably not. But each item is prepared at home from scratch. You will have control over quality of ingredients and quantity. Less sodium and fat and more fresh vegetables into your diet is never a bad thing.
1.Balsamic Chicken Salad
- 2c Greens (I use baby spinach because it seems to be the best mix of hearty and taste)
- 3oz roast chicken
- 1/4c cubed feta cheese
- 4-5 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- homemade balsamic dressing (1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and salt/pepper to taste; whisk until emulsified)
2. Chicken Rice Soup with Seaweed
- 2c homemade chicken broth (using the bones from the roast chicken)
- 1/4c pulled chicken (rib and wing meat from roast chicken)
- 1c cooked brown rice
- 1 sheet of nori, crumbled
Heat the broth in a sauce pan until just beginning to boil. Add the rice, chicken and crumbled nori and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 mins.