Harmons dietitians provide easy and healthy lunch ideas

1/19/2018 - So you made a resolution to eat healthier, but you’re still stuck in a PBJ rut for lunch? Harmons Dietitian Ashley Quadros can provide will help with quick, easy, and fresh meal ideas to avoid the drive through or boring brown bag lunches.

We always hear that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” What about lunch? What you eat for lunch impacts how you feel during the afternoon. Whether you are at work or juggling errands at home, the right foods help keep your energy up so you can stay productive throughout the day.

Did you make a New Year resolution to save money or eat healthier? A home packed lunch is your answer!

Packing your own lunch saves money, but it also saves your waistline. Restaurant food is notoriously high in salt, added fats and sugars. Even when you choose “healthy” options like the salad or grilled chicken sandwich, condiments and sides sneak up on you quickly. Make your own lunch and control what goes into your body and what comes out of your wallet.

 Price savings example:

  • Eating lunch out = $10 lunch x 4 days/week x 50 weeks/year = $2,000
  • Bringing lunch from home = $3 lunch x 4 days/week x 50 weeks/year = $600
  • Savings of $1,400 over the course of the year!

Make it good.

Looking forward to something delicious in your lunch box is a surefire way to brighten up the day. Bringing your own lunch gives you the power to choose your favorite foods, rather than having to go where the lunch carpool is going, or worse yet, eating from the office vending machine.

Nutrition Tips:

  • Always include healthy protein to keep you full: beans, nuts, seafood, eggs, chicken, turkey
  • Always include complex carbs to keep your blood sugar stable: potatoes, corn, beans, fruit, and whole grains
  • Always include produce of some kind to keep your lunch interesting and varied: fruits and veggies


Lunch Inspiration: Meatless Lunches

We’ve all heard of “Meatless Monday” which is a great way to increase your intake of fruits and veggies and decrease meat intake. Another way to accomplish this is to opt for meatless lunches. This will guide you into choosing superfood fruits, veggies, beans, and nuts. Plus, if you went meatless for lunch, you will feel better about eating meat for dinner!

I love frittata because it can be made with pantry ingredients. Just mix up some eggs and lingering veggies in the fridge for a delicious meal. Just remember your ratio of eggs to dairy: 7 large eggs and 1/3 cup dairy. Everything else is up to you! Be sure to cook your add-ins so the veggies are tender.


Southwestern Frittata

Makes 6 servings



2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 large handful baby spinach

¾ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon chili powder

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

2 ounces cotija cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium sweet potato, chopped small

½ teaspoon salt (divided)

½ teaspoon black pepper

7 large eggs

1/3 cup 1% milk

2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Garnishes (optional)

Chopped avocado

Chopped cilantro

Favorite salsa



Preheat the oven to 425. In a very well-seasoned cast iron pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes, season with ¼ teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper, and cook until the potatoes begin to soften (5-6 minutes).

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the milk and chopped cilantro. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and fresh black pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.

When the potatoes have softened, add the garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add the spinach, cumin, paprika, and chili powder and cook until the spinach has just wilted (2 minutes). Add the thawed corn, stir to combine, and let the corn heat through.

If the pan seems dry, add a bit more olive oil to ensure nothing sticks. Whisk the eggs one last time before pouring into the cast iron pan and gently shaking to make sure the eggy goodness gets down into the veggies. Crumble the cotija evenly over the eggs. Continue cooking on the stove top until the edges of the frittata just begin to set.

Place into the oven and bake until the frittata is just barely set (about 12-15 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and enjoy with your favorite garnishes, if desired. Delicious served with a side salad and corn tortillas or crusty bread.

Per 1 svg: cal: 190; total fat, 10g (sat. fat, 3.5g); sodium, 430mg; total carbs: 14g; dietary fiber, 1g; sugar, 4g; protein, 11g



Chickpea Frittata with Vegetables (Vegan)

Recipe by Chef Lesli

Serves 4



 1 1/2 cups chickpea or garbanzo bean flour

 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

 3 Tbsp ground flax seed

 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

 1 tsp ground cumin

 1 tsp salt

 1/2 tsp turmeric

 1/4 tsp black pepper


 1 cup chopped blanched asparagus

 1 cup chopped peeled red bell pepper


Preheat oven to 375°.

To make batter, in a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Add water, about 2 cups, until consistency of waffle batter.

Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Spray with cooking oil. Pour half the batter evenly, add half asparagus and half bell pepper, and repeat with remaining batter, asparagus and bell pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook until dry around the edges, about 10 min.

Transfer to oven and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Per 1 svg: cal: 200; total fat, 4.5g (sat. fat, 0g); sodium, 820mg; total carbs: 29g; dietary fiber, 8g; sugar, 6g; protein, 13g

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