The holidays are over and we are officially back to our regular routines which include packing healthy lunches for work and school. Here are five healthy lunches that can be made ahead and travel well to make that transition easier.

Veggie Pinwheels

Serves 4

3 pinwheels = 1 green light, 2 yellow lights



1/2 cup nonfat cream cheese

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 green onion, sliced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

5 oz arugula

4 spinach tortilla wrap



In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese, pepper, carrot, onion, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the arugula. Divide between 4 tortillas, roll tight and slice into 6 pinwheels. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.


Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Serve 4

1 closed fist = 1 green light, 3 yellow light



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 garlic clove minced

Zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1 medium avocado, chopped when ready to use

1 bag salad greens of choice



2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice – juice of 1 large lemon 

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper



Whisk oil, soy sauce, garlic, lemon, parsley, chives, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, toss with shrimp and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

Spray a grill pan with non-fat cooking oil and heat over medium-high.  Season zucchini with salt and pepper and grill for 3 minutes per side until just tender. Don’t let it get too soft and mushy. Remove from pan and add marinated shrimp. Grill the shrimp until no longer opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Let cool a couple of minutes then slice zucchini and chop shrimp. 

To make the dressing mix all dressing ingredients in a jar and store in the fridge. 

Store salad greens, shrimp zucchini mixture and dressing in separate compartments to take to school or work. 


Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

Serves 4

1 fist = 1 green light, 1 yellow light



1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz ground lean turkey meat, broken into chunks

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or oregano or basil, whatever you have on hand

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 small bunch kale, stem removed, leaves chopped

1 ½  teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley



Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute stirring frequently until tender, about  5 – 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add turkey, season with salt and cook until golden. Add the herbs and stir. Add the broth, tomatoes, rice and kale, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and pack in a thermos for school or work.


Vegetarian Chili 

Serves 4

This recipe was adapted from Cookie and Kate

1 fist = 1 green light, 1 yellow light



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

½ teaspoon salt, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with their juices

2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing

1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, non-fat sour cream



Heat a large pot over medium and add the oil. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and pinto beans, vegetable broth, and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. Remove the chili from the heat.

For the best texture and flavor, transfer 1 ½ cups of the chili to a blender, making sure to get some of the liquid. Securely fasten the lid and blend until smooth (watch out for hot steam), then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. (Or, you can blend the chili briefly with an immersion blender, or mash the chili with a potato masher until it reaches a thicker, more chili-like consistency.)

Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat and pack in a thermos for school or work with toppings on the side.


Zucchini Noodle Salad

Serves 1

1 fist = 1 green, 2 yellow



3 cups zucchini noodles

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon, non-fat feta cheese

1 tablespoon non-fat Italian dressing

2 oz sliced cooked chicken breast



Toss zucchini noodles, tomatoes and feta together and pack with a side of dressing and chicken. Mix in dressing and top with chicken right before serving.