burrito – Wrapping Up a Healthy Portable Lunch

Monday Apr 19, 2010


Lunch at work or on the go is one of the stumbling points of healthy eating. In a typical work environment, it’s easy to give in to the convenience of fast food, take out, and restaurant lunches. Unfortunately, eating unhealthy lunchtime meals will take a toll on both wallets and waistlines.

When you eat out, you’re letting someone else dictate the nutrition and content of your meals as well as the portion sizes. You give up control of your food. Restaurant meals are often extremely high in sodium and unhealthy fats. Restaurants also have very tight profit margins which mean that they buy cheaper ingredients with a long shelf life (in other words, low quality foods full of preservatives). Generally, people that cook their own food tend to buy higher quality ingredients, eat more vegetables, and maintain a more fit lifestyle.

A really easy portable lunch is a sandwich wrap. Wraps are a versatile food. These cleverly packaged sandwiches are great on the go, easy to make, and really draw attention to the fillings rather than the bread. Tortillas and lavash are both great for wraps and are lower-carb options than traditional sandwich bread. The nice thing about preparing them is that the ingredient amounts are flexible-really no need to measure. Have leftovers from your roast chicken and veggie dinner? Those will make perfect fillings the next day. Try the suggested wraps below and then come up with your own custom versions! To pack for a lunch or a picnic, wrap tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Add some fresh fruit and you have a healthy lunch ready to go.

Southwest Burrito

A flour tortilla wrapped around black beans, veggies, cheese, and salsa makes a perfect meal for anytime. You’ll be surprised at the burst of flavor in this healthy, low-fat burrito.

3 heaping Tbsp canned black beans, drained

A few pieces of oven roasted vegetables or roasted red peppers (available jarred)

3 Tbsp shredded cheese

2 Tbsp of your favorite salsa

A few sprigs fresh cilantro

Large flour tortilla

Slices of fresh avocado (optional)

Dollop of sour cream or yogurt (optional)

1. Place all ingredients down the center of the tortilla.

2. Roll tightly.

Vegetarian Hummus and Lentil Wrap

Packaged steamed lentils make this wrap a breeze. Tasty hummus, fresh greens, and creamy yogurt complete this delicious Middle Eastern combination. Sprouted wheat tortillas have a wonderful texture and hold together nicely, making this a good wrap to take on the road.

3 Tbsp hummus (available refrigerated at most grocery stores)

5 Tbsp packaged Steamed Lentils (available at Trader Joe’s stores)

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1 small handful micro greens, sprouts, or baby spring salad mix

2 Tbsp plain yogurt

Large Flour or Sprouted Wheat Tortilla or Lavash Bread

1. Place lentils, hummus, tomatoes, and micro greens down the center of the tortilla; drizzle yogurt across lentils.

2. Roll tightly.

Mozzarella and Basil Wrap

Basil, fresh mozzarella, pine nuts, and tomatoes create a fresh-from-the-garden taste. You can use pesto if you prefer, but we like the simple flavor of fresh basil in this wrap. In addition to contributing delicious taste, the basil acts as a moisture barrier, keeping your tortilla from getting soggy from the cheese.

3 slices fresh mozzarella

4 fresh basil leaves

3 slices Roma tomatoes or other flavorful ripe tomato

1 Tbsp toasted pignolias (pine nuts)

Large flour tortilla

1. Lay tortilla on a flat surface. Place basil leaves down the center of the tortilla. Add mozzarella, pine nuts, and tomato.

2. Roll tightly.

Featured in the Wall Street Journal, Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati are women who love food, love cooking, and love Trader Joe’s. They are authors of the independent cookbook, “Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s.” Learn more about their book, recipes, and blog at http://www.cookingwithtraderjoes.com

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