Diet and Nutrition

Boring Lunches No More!

Just think of the exhilarating jolt that rocks your world when bust out a new workout or the rush you get when you hike or bike unfamiliar trails and vistas. You already know that doing the same exercise routine stales your fitness enthusiasm, so why do you eat the same boring – although healthy – lunch foods day in and day out?

Get out of your uninspired, unfulfilling rut of brown bag boredom and heighten your lunchtime pleasure with the following nutrient-rich, palate-piquing recipes.

These recipes are geared for two servings but can easily be doubled or tripled if feeding a hungry crowd. So, lets get straight to it.


Saffron-Mustard Salmon Sauté
Makes 2 servings

The irreplaceable earthy flavor of saffron blended with piquant lemon, mustard and garlic infuse the nutrient-rich salmon fillets for a sumptuous lunch with deceivingly complex taste. The growing popularity of saffron has landed it on the shelves of most supermarkets and whole foods stores. Though pricey, its bold, unique flavor is well worth the cost – and a little pinch goes a long way.

In a small bowl, whisk together and set aside:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Rub salmon fillets with oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook salmon for 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Salmon is done when just cooked through and flakes when firmly pressed with the back of a fork – do not overcook, salmon is better slightly undercooked. Transfer to a plate of mixed greens and drizzle with saffron-mustard sauce.

Sauce can be made the day before and refrigerated. Ingredients may separate and will need to be rewhisked before drizzling on salmon. This dish can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Salmon may also be cooked on a grill or broiled, for a change.

Nutritional Analysis (per fillet):

Calories 468 (60% from fat); Protein 38 grams; Carbohydrates 2 grams; Fiber less than 1 gram; Total Fat 32 grams (Saturated Fat 5 grams; Monounsaturated Fat 20 grams; Polyunsaturated Fat 6 grams); Cholesterol 124 milligrams; Sodium 645 milligrams.

Moroccan Chicken Salad
Makes about 4 cups

The infamous high-protein stand-by – rotisserie chicken – is great to gnaw on when you have that carnivoristic desire to break bones with your teeth and gnash cooked flesh. But the “tastes like chicken” flavor can get old, too. Good news is that leftover chicken gives you endless opportunities for exciting meals with stimulating new tastes. Mix a hearty shred of chicken with pungent spices, crunchy almonds, and sweet currants for a salad or salad-sandwich that will perk up your lulling senses.

Whisk the following in a large bowl:

  • ½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Juice of ½ an orange (about 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Add the following and mix well:

  • 3 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (preferably skinless breast)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 large green onion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced almonds (toasted, if desired)
  • ¼ cup currants (or raisins)

Adjust spices and other ingredients to your liking. Chicken mixture can be artfully mounded on mixed greens, stuffed in a pita, wrapped in a tortilla, or sandwiched with whole-grain breads or simply eaten alone.

Nutritional Analysis (per 2 cups):

Calories 561 (33% from fat); Protein 57 grams; Carbohydrates 35 grams; Fiber 7 grams; Total Fat 21 grams (Saturated Fat 8 grams; Monounsaturated Fat 8 grams; Polyunsaturated Fat 5 grams); Cholesterol 166 milligrams; Sodium 327 milligrams.

Tempeh Simmer
Makes 2 servings

Vegetarian cooking evokes creativity, by default, in that meals have to be carefully planned in order to supply the recommended daily intakes of nutrients. Tempeh is an excellent vegetarian choice. Its nutty flavor and meaty texture make it a hearty, satisfying midday meal. Whether you eat meat or not, this curry-inspired dish is a delicious change from the norm.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 (8-ounce) package of tempeh, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, patted dry
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder or more to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Wedges of lemon

Heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer tempeh for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving):

Calories 367 (41% from fat); Protein 26 grams; Carbohydrates 32 grams; Fiber 14 grams; Total Fat 17 grams (Saturated Fat 7 grams; Monounsaturated Fat 4 grams; Polyunsaturated Fat 6 grams); Cholesterol 0 milligrams; Sodium 353 milligrams.

Written by Shelly Sinton

Discuss, comment or ask a question

If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums – Boring Lunches No More discussion thread.