Author Frances Largeman-Roth shares tips on packing healthy lunches in 2014

halloumi
Frances Largeman-Roth gave tips on packing healthy lunches like this grilled halloumi and lemon salad.
Credit: Quentin Bacon

Frances Largeman-Roth, health expert and author of “Eating in Color,” knows it can be hard to keep that New Year’s resolution to stay healthy when you’re in an office all day. It’s all too easy to get greasy take-out food for lunch, but Largeman-Roth gave Metro readers some tips on brown-bagging simple lunches with style.

1. Pick one day to prepare food for the week: It’s essential to put aside one day to do things like cut up produce or cook grains. “You can rinse grapes and cut them up into little bunches and put them in plastic containers,” said Largeman-Roth. “And things that are more time intensive, like cutting up fresh mango or pineapple, might take 20 minutes, but you’ll have great snacks for the whole week.” This goes for veggies as well: Largeman-Roth suggested cucumbers, jicama and sugar snap peas. She pointed out that setting aside one day will save plenty of time in the mornings, and snacks like fresh cut veggies will last the rest of the week.

2. Pre-cook grains: Largeman-Roth suggested cooking whole grain pasta or quinoa on your prep day to use for plenty of different dishes — just add a bit of olive oil to the pasta so it doesn’t stick together, and use shapes instead of spaghetti or linguine. “You can make salmon or buy it and serve it over your pasta with roasted vegetables,” she said. “Plan your meals around things that are going to last.” Largeman-Roth suggests mixing quinoa with chicken and vegetables for a satisfying and high-protein lunch, or eating it hot as a breakfast cereal with dried fruit and maple syrup.

3. Get plenty of containers: Containers will save time later. Use plastic containers of all different sizes for portions of sauces, snacks and mains. That way you can grab and go when you’re in a rush in the morning.

4. Jazz up prepackaged microwavable food: Largeman-Roth pointed out that brands like Amy’s and Annie Chun’s offer healthy, low-sodium microwavable meals like pizza or sticky rice. Get creative and add fresh ingredients to these lunches to make them healthier and more filling. Largeman-Roth suggested adding avocado to a microwaveable burrito or walnuts to a pizza. “I took Annie Chun’s Sticky Rice and added some stir-fried vegetables and two teaspoons of gochujang sauce, and it made a really yummy rice bowl you can easily make at work,” said Largeman-Roth. She also suggested adding hummus, cucumber and mini pitas to turn a boring veggie burger patty into a satisfying meal.

Largeman-Roth said it can actually be better to get a microwave lunch instead of take-out. “Restaurants don’t have to list the nutrition — all you have to do is taste it and know it’s high sodium, but you don’t know how much is in there,” she explained. “The one good thing about packaged food is you know the nutrition information.”

5. Freeze meals ahead of time: You can also make your own frozen meals. “Pretty much any kind of soup freezes well, and chili is especially hearty and good to make during the winter time,” said Largeman-Roth. “You can freeze them in airtight containers for up to three months.” She also suggested freezing lasagna. “You can use ground turkey or ground bison which is low on fat, and you can do a really amazing vegetarian one using spinach and mushroom or butternut squash.”

6. Throw in seasonal produce wherever possible: You don’t need a special recipe to use seasonal vegetables or fruit. Dishes like frittatas, homemade pizzas and pastas are a great way to incorporate healthy vegetables into your diet. “Using a vehicle you are familiar with, like a quiche or frittata, is a great way to introduce a new, healthy ingredient,” said Largeman-Roth. She suggested adding beets to pasta or kale and mustard greens to frittatas. Largeman-Roth also said microwave quesadillas are a great way to add in black beans or vegetables to your lunch. “You can use whole wheat or gluten-free tortillas for your dietary needs and bring a little container of salsa or Greek yogurt,” she said.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 7,…

Drunk girls and ghost brownies: here’s your weekly ‘Pretty Little Liars’ recap by way of Q&A. Q: do they really not check for feet under…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.