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5 Easy Cold Lunch Meals

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We’ve all been there – you’re at work or school and you’re hungry so you go to reheat your meal only to find out there is no microwave.  Or your job requires you to be on the road all day and you don’t have access to a microwave. It’s a frustrating feeling! But I have good news – there are tons of meals that you can prepare that can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.

Here are 5 of my favorite cold lunches to help get the wheels in your mind turning about what you can do…remember to make these meals your own and store them in quality containers.

For cold meals, I enjoy putting the food in stainless steel containers because I find that they keep the food cooler/colder while in the fridge or lunchbox cooler.

**As always, remember to adjust portions and servings to fit your diet and goals. Meals can fit nearly any fat loss or weight gain program, and are for both males and females – it’s all in the portions.**


SALMON QUINOA SALAD

5 cold lunches - salmon quinoa salad

Ingredients for 1 large serving:

  • 5oz baked wild-caught salmon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (or to taste) cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • 1/4 cup naturally dried cranberries, no sugar added (optional)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • lemon juice (optional)

 

Steps:

  1. Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl and store in the refrigerator until it is time to eat.
  2. Enjoy with balsamic glaze or your choice of “no oil” vinaigrette.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving:

644 calories, 55g protein, 47g carb, 25g fat, 8g fiber, 3g sugar


SESAME SOBA NOODLES WITH CHICKEN, BROCCOLINI &MUSHROOMS

5 cold lunches - sesame soba chicken

Ingredients for pasta for 1 serving:

  • 6oz cooked chicken breast (or your choice of protein)
  • 2oz (56g) whole wheat soba noodles
  • 1 cup broccolini
  • 2/3 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic

 

Ingredients for sauce for 2 servings:

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (paste or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon raw honey

 

Steps:

  1. Cook soba noodles according to the instructions given.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set it aside.
  3. Set a skillet on medium high heat and spray with a little olive oil.  Once it is hot, toss in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms appear sautéed on all sides.  Then, toss in broccolini and sear for another 5 to 6 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook the broccolini, you want it to be somewhat firm and crunchy.
  4. Allow the vegetables and chicken to cool down and then mix the noodles with the veggies and pasta.  Add your choice of protein (i.e., chicken, lean flank, etc) and half of the sauce.
  5. Stir and enjoy! Garnish with sesame seeds.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving with sauce:

542 calories, 54g protein, 58g carbs, 8g fat, 4g fiber, 14g sugar


AVOCADO & CHICKEN QUESADILLA

5 cold lunches - quesadilla

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 5oz cooked chicken, chopped or pulled
  • 1 medium whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/2 Haas avocado
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese crumble (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) reduced fat mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • fresh cilantro
  • spray olive oil

 

Steps:

  1. Spread avocado on a whole wheat tortilla.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to one side of the open tortilla. Once you pack in the ingredients, fold the empty part of the tortilla over the other half so that it easily closes. Gently mash down on it once you fold it over in order to pack in the ingredients.
  3. Spray a nonstick skillet with olive oil and set it on medium high heat. Toss in the quesadilla and cook on each side until the quesadilla is golden brown and crispy.
  4. Slice it down the middle, allow it to completely cool and then place it in your lunch box container.
  5. Enjoy with fresh pico de gallo or greek yogurt and lime.

 

Approximate macros for 1 quesadilla:

561 calories, 57g protein, 40g carbs, 20g fat (mostly from avocado),  12g fiber, 3g sugar


GREEK ORZO SALAD

5 cold lunches - orzo chicken

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 224g uncooked, raw orzo
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry (or roma) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup feta (optional)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

For each meal add your choice and serving of protein or another hearty vegetable.  Here I used 5oz grilled chicken breast.

 

Steps:

  1. Cook orzo according to the instructions given and once cooked, allow it to completely cool.
  2. Mix together all of the ingredients in a large bowl and season to taste with sea salt & pepper.
  3. Add your choice of protein or hearty vegetable to enjoy with the meal. I used 5oz grilled chicken breast.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving with 5oz grilled chicken breast:

489 calories, 49g protein, 46g carbs, 11g fat, 2g fiber, 2g sugar


HUMMUS & TURKEY PINWHEELS

5 cold lunches - pinwheels turkey

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 5oz turkey breast, nitrate-free, natural, low sodium
  • 1 medium whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 heaping tablespoons hummus
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped

 

Steps:

  1. Spread hummus on an open tortilla and cover with mixed greens and then turkey.
  2. Place the chopped bell peppers at the end of the tortilla and begin to roll it up. Ensure that you tightly roll the tortilla to firmly pack in the ingredients.
  3. Slice the wrap into fourths or thirds so it can fit in your lunchbox container.  To make the meal heartier, enjoy with avocado and fresh fruit.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving:

404 calories, 40g protein, 40g carbs, 10g fat, 8g fiber, 8g sugar

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