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    What’s for Lunch? Snacks!

    otlMany people I speak with mention that they quickly tire of repetitive lunches.

    Day after day of wraps or sandwiches with a side of chips or baby carrots is certainly a recipe for boredom.

    One of my boredom-beating tactics?  Make a “snack lunch”!

    This is one of my favorite ways to eat lunch, since it is very easy to construct in a nutritious fashion (it’s perfect for lazier days when I don’t feel like dicing, chopping, and stirring!) and allows you to satisfy multiple cravings at once.

    Here, for example, is the snack lunch I ate today:

    • 1 small Granny Smith apple
    • 1 ounce Gruyere cheese
    • 1 ounce whole grain crackers (I love the Mary’s Gone Crackers brand — they are thin, ultra crispy, and made with quinoa, sesame seeds, and brown rice)
    • 3 Tablespoons fresh salsa
    • 1/3 cup baby carrots
    • 3 Tablespoons hummus
    • 2 Tablespoons raw almonds
    • 1 Tablespoon raw walnuts
    • 1 Tablespoon raw cacao nibs

    Deliciousness aside, this combination racks up a more-than-worthy nutrition profile:

    • 710 calories
    • 6.6 grams saturated fat
    • 660 milligrams sodium
    • 16.5 grams fiber
    • 20.5 grams protein

    Additionally, it is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and hundreds of top-notch phytonutrients and antioxidants.  It’s also a good source of B vitamins, phosphorus, vitamin E, and zinc.

    Added bonus?  The almonds and walnuts contribute heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, respectively.

    Depending on your particular calorie needs, you can tailor this meal by increasing or reducing the amounts of certain foods.

    Do you have a favorite “snack lunch”?  Post it in the “comments” section and inspire other Small Bites readers!



    1. Val said on December 19th, 2009

      I’ve done this too…way less on my plate than yours, though…am smallish, fiftyish and don’t need a 700 calorie lunch!!! I’ve done hummus with radish slices, red pepper strips, carrot sticks and sliced broccoli stalks. Co-workers have said “Oh, wow, what a pretty plate of food!”

      Have also done an awesome healthy black bean dip recipe that I’ve become addicted to making with blue corn chips and fresh salsa and sometimes some jack cheese added; I always add a ton of chopped fresh cilantro to that snack plate sprinkled over the dip. Occasionally, I’ll put the dip on top of the chips, add the cheese and nuke it in m/w if a million co-workers aren’t waiting to use it and then add the cilantro with the salsa on the side.

    2. Gloria said on December 19th, 2009

      Home made baked whole grain pita chips, hummus,carrot sticks,
      cucumber, bell pepper, sliced bananas with peanut butter and cinnamon

    3. Marianne said on December 20th, 2009

      I’m a big fan of the snack lunch, especially if it involves dipping foods 🙂 Hummus, pita, veggies, cheese, and some fruit always makes for a good meal. Or peanut butter-filled dates. Yum!

    4. Andy Bellatti said on December 20th, 2009

      Yes! Love dates filled with nut butter.

    5. JJ said on December 21st, 2009

      I do this more for a snack supper: whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter (honey on one side, fruit jam or marshmallow fluff on the other), with a bowl of air popped popcorn, and a big salad! And skim milk of course with the peanut butter (then a side of dark chocolate for dessert!)

    6. Susy said on December 21st, 2009

      My favorite lunch is 1 cup of egg whites, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 banana, 1 tbs flax seed. I blend this in my Magic Bullet and then pour it onto a plate and microwave it for 4 minutes. I let it cool, drizzle a little sugar free syrup and cut it into squares. I eat this sometimes for breakfast or lunch or take it with me as a snack. I like it cold! You can also add more fruit like strawberries to make it more substantial.

    7. Kevin said on December 22nd, 2009

      Recently, I’ve been having a can of tuna, mixed with about a tablespoon of Tapatio Hot Sauce, and spread onto three or four Wasa crackers. This, along with a handful of sugar snap peas or mixed veggies makes a delicious, healthy lunch that fills me up until my afternoon snack.

    8. Kevin said on December 22nd, 2009

      I forgot to mention that sometimes I’ll throw in some raw sweet potato slices. Yum!

    9. Val said on December 24th, 2009

      Should Kevin be careful about too much mercury? I’m just wondering…a co-worker of mine used to eat albacore tuna about 4 or 5 times a week…I gently told her she might be getting too much mercury…she’s adjusted her lunch habits since then. Thanks, Andy!

    10. Terri said on March 5th, 2010

      We love snack lunches! I do this for my four-year old daughter b/c kids tend to like snacks so much. At the grocery I let her choose veggies – usually red pepper, sugar snap peas, carrots. Then she gets a nut butter to dip them in. We usually pair this with a couple of the following – nuts, apple slices, toasted whole wheat bread cut it into triangles for dipping, cubes of tofu and a bean – usually chick peas. We’ve also had tortilla chips w/ mashed up avocado (since she’s not a fan of guacamole yet).

    11. Andy Bellatti said on March 6th, 2010


      What great choices. You make a great point about fun shapes, by the way — an easy way to make foods appealing to children.

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