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Simple Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work or School

Busy moms and dads... this one's for you!

In our kitchen today, Tara Rochford, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Healthy Living Blogger, shares a few simple, healthy recipes that you can easily pack for work or school... AND and all of these recipes take advantage of citrus, which is in season during the winter months!

To start with, here is a simple room refresher using the part of the citrus that typically goes in the trash once the juice is used:

DIY Room Refresher

Ingredients:

●    Any leftover citrus (oranges, lemons, limes with the peel and the juiced fruit or just the peel)
●    Cloves
●    Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon
●    Enough water to cover the tops of the citrus
●    Small saucepan

Directions:
●    Put the citrus, spices and water into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Make sure to leave the lid off.
●    Continue to add water as long as you want to boil because the water will evaporate.  
●    Enjoy the fresh and comforting scent in your home!

Tuna Avocado Salad

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 packet of tuna
2 Tbsp smashed avocado
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp ground cumin

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.
Serve with your favorite vegetable dippers, whole grain cracker or whole grain bread.

For this meal you have:
Protein: tuna
Fat: avocado, which contains fiber (good for digestion and helping us feel full!)  as well, tuna is also a source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for brain and heart health
Carbs: vegetables, whole grain crackers, fruit on the side

The citrus gives us a dose of vitamin C, which helps keep our immune system strong, but it also prevents the avocado from turning brown and gives the salad a bright, fresh flavor.

*You could easily make a triple or quadruple batch so you have lunch all throughout the week!

Quinoa Salad two ways - Taco and Mediterranean 

Toss either of these recipes over a bed of leafy greens for an extra vitamin, mineral and fiber boost. You can also boost the protein in this dish by adding shredded chicken, salmon, or cooked tofu or tempeh, or you can enjoy it as is!

Ingredients:
For the Taco Version:
●    1 cup cooked quinoa
●    ½ avocado, diced
●    ½ cup black beans, rinsed for about 1 minute
●    ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
●    ½ bell pepper, diced
●    ½ cup salsa
●    2 limes, juiced
●    2 tsp ground cumin
●    ½ tsp salt

For the Mediterranean Version:
●    1 cup cooked quinoa
●    ½ cup chopped black or kalamata olives
●    ½ cup garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed for about 1 minute
●    ½ cup diced cucumber
●    ½ bell pepper, diced
●    2 lemons, juiced
●    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
●    2 tsp dried oregano
●    ½ tsp salt
●    ¼ tsp black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt, pepper, oregano/cumin, lime/lemon.

Serve over a bed of leafy greens.  Optional - add cheddar cheese to the Taco Salad and Feta Cheese to the Mediterranean Salad.

Store unused portion in the fridge.

Here are some nutrition facts about the ingredients in this recipe:

Protein: quinoa and beans - beans are also high in B vitamins which are important for metabolism and brain health, and some call B vitamins “mood boosting vitamins.” 
Fat: avocado or olives and olive oil, cheese if using
Carbs: vegetables, quinoa, beans

Takeaways:
●    You can use citrus peels or juiced citrus to make a DIY room refresher
●    Using a meal planner will help you free up brain space for other decision making in the week, and it will allow you to plan for satisfying lunches and a variety of foods in your week.
●    Citrus is in season in the winter months and is filled with vitamin C, which helps keep our immune system strong and also adds a bright, fresh flavor to recipes.

To learn more, visit: 

http://tararochfordnutrition.com 
Instagram @tararochford
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