While it's important to start the day with a balanced breakfast and to provide your family with a nutritious dinner, lunch is the perfect meal to save calories. By choosing food items carefully when you shop, you'll always have a selection of easy-to-prepare, low-calorie items on hand for a low-cal midday meal.
When you shop, ensure that you purchase enough products to make your lunch for one to two weeks. Cans of tuna preserved in water, bottles of light salad dressing and cans of low-sodium soups will stock the pantry and give you something to grab for an easy lunch that won't pack on the pounds. Visit the produce section as well for a selection of carrots, celery, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower that you can eat raw or cooked.
Most moms don't want to spend a lot of time on lunch in the midst of a busy day. Prepare lunch components ahead of time, so lunch service isn't an ordeal. Boil and peel several eggs at a time, and store them in the fridge for use later. Grab one to chop up on a salad, slice for a sandwich or dice for egg salad. Wash, peel and chop your veggies over the weekend and store them in airtight containers. You'll be more likely to grab a carrot stick than a bag of chips when you have them ready to eat.
Ideas for Kids
While you may find hot soup and your favorite salad heavenly, it's possible that your kids won't share your enthusiasm. Serve the kids a pita pocket stuffed with chicken or tuna salad, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a slice of cheese and low-fat lunch meat. Accompany it with raw vegetables and ranch dressing for dipping. Mini rice cakes smeared with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese or macaroni and cheese dotted with chunks vegetarian hot dogs make another tasty treat for little ones.
When you want a simple meal that you can eat with your fingers, something kids especially love, several options should come to mind. Skip the bread and roll up slices of lean lunch meat and cheese secured inside a lettuce leaf. Slice apples or bananas and spread with a low-fat peanut butter. Serve baked chips as a special treat and an added crunch with your lunch. Sticks of string cheese round out the meal and offer a source of much-needed protein.