It’s so easy to pack an unhealthy lunch. Cookies, chips, crackers, sandwiches piled with processed meats and cheese and slathered in mayo. Yick. I don’t keep any of that stuff in my house. If we’re craving it, we have to drive to the store and get it. Usually, it’s not worth the hassle. And the “not in my house” rule has made for much healthier (and tastier) packed lunches. Yes, it requires cooking, but I take Sunday afternoon to listen to the football game(s) and cook for the entire week. Here are some of my favorite recipes from three of my favorite sources. Buy these cookbooks, and visit the blogs, and try them for yourself! (Our lunches usually consist of some type of sandwich or burrito, a green salad, a bean or grain salad, yogurt, fruit, and a granola bar, muffin, or other homemade sweet treat.)
Cookbook: Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook by Myra Goodman
Corn and Black Bean Salad
Black beans, sweet corn, tomato (I prefer red pepper for a crunchier texture), red onion, and parsley (I substitute cilantro), mixed with a great dressing of olive oil, vinegar, chile powder, cumin, and more. Good warm or cold.
Moroccan-Spiced Bulgur Pilaf
Pictured above, this is an absolutely delicious grain dish that combines the nutty flavor of bulgur with the sweetness of apricots and raisons. The dish also includes pine nuts, and a dressing of garlic, cumin, coriander, olive oil, lemon, and more. Very yummy! I was surprised at how much I loved this recipe.
Cookbook: Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
Quinoa Black Bean Salad
Packed with protein, quinoa is a small grain that’s fast cooking (15 minutes max!) and great tasting. This salad combines fiber rich black beans, bell peppers, fresh chiles such as jalapenos, tomatoes, and a tasty dressing of olive oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and more. Fresh cilantro makes this dish pop.
For a quick batch of BBQ beans with some spunk, try this recipe. It uses some store-bought sauce, but adds dried mustard, maple syrup, onions, garlic, cider vinegar, and hot sauce. Tasty and easy.
Sweet and Sour Lentils
Sweet and savory combine in this Indian inspired recipe. Apple juice, ginger root, onions, garlic, carrots, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and other ingredients make these lentils a hit. Lentils are high in iron. Delicious served hot or cold.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Hands down one of the most delicious burritos I’ve ever had! And there is no cheese involved! The sweet potatoes add a creamy, sweet texture, so there is really no need for cheese. In fact, I think cheese would ruin this burrito. I make huge batches of these, wrap them in wax paper, and freeze them.
Blog: 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson
Big Sur Power Bars
I’ve blogged about this recipe a gazillion times, but it’s truly genius! Nuts, toasted coconut, and espresso powder in a granola-ish bar! Watch the video, and get the recipe for yourself.
Berry Beer Baked Beans
Beans and beer! But not any beer—Lindeman’s Frambois Lambic! Hello! Lindeman’s is a sweet raspberry beer, and boy is it yummy. (And that’s coming from a girl who loves porters and stouts, and isn’t a fan of sweet alcoholic beverages.) Check out the recipe here.
Triple Ginger Cookies
Way too addicting! Be careful with these! Fresh ginger, ground ginger, and fine chunks of crystallized ginger team up to provide a sweet and spicy kick. Go here to try these for yourself.