Healthy Cold Lunch Ideas

Curried chicken salad is a flavorful, convenient cold lunch option.

Curried chicken salad is a flavorful, convenient cold lunch option.

Eating lunch at work likely means that your time and perhaps microwave access is limited or nonexistent, making cold lunches or fast food the most viable options. Cold lunches are a convenient, less expensive and often healthier option compared to fast food. However, you may find yourself getting bored with the same soggy turkey sandwich or tuna salad every day. Varying sandwich fillings and salad ingredients will keep your cold lunches healthy and appetizing, and reduce the temptation of fast food.

Curried Chicken Salad

This lunch recipe works well with leftover chicken, and you can make several servings ahead of time and eat them throughout the week. For four servings, combine one-half cup of low-fat mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 4 teaspoons water, 2 cups chopped chicken, two small chopped apples, two-thirds cup diced celery and one-fourth teaspoon salt. You can eat the chicken salad in a wrap or pita, sandwiched between two slices of bread, alongside whole-grain crackers or on top of lettuce greens.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Using Mediterranean-inspired ingredients and including beans and red bell peppers gives this tuna salad a healthy, flavorful twist. For four servings, combine a 15-ounce can of chickpeas or kidney beans, two 6-ounce cans of light tuna, a diced red bell pepper, one-half cup of diced red onion, one-half cup of chopped fresh parsley, 4 teaspoons rinsed capers, 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, one-fourth cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl. Take a container of this salad along with a container of lettuce greens, and top the greens with the tuna salad right before eating.

Thai Peanut Tofu Wrap

A wrap with store-bought baked tofu is a healthy, convenient vegetarian option. Spread 1 tablespoon of store-bought peanut sauce on an 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla. Add 2 ounces of sliced baked tofu, one-fourth cup sliced red bell pepper and eight thinly sliced snow peas to the center of the tortilla, fold in the sides and roll up.

Smoked Salmon and Avocado Sandwich

Smoked salmon is a flavorful source of protein, while avocado is rich in vitamins and healthy fats. Combine 1 teaspoon of low-fat mayonnaise with a squirt of lemon juice and cracked black pepper to taste and spread it on a thin slice of whole-grain bread. Top with one-fourth of a sliced avocado, 2 to 3 ounces of smoked salmon, three to four slices of cucumber and another slice of bread.

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About the Author

Gina Battaglia has written professionally since 2006. She served as an assistant editor for the "International Journal of Sports Medicine" and coauthored a paper published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research." Battaglia completed a Doctor of Philosophy in bioenergetics and exercise science at East Carolina University and a Master of Science in biokinesiology from the University of Southern California.

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