In NYC we have so many food options on every corner. Come lunch time all the food can be very tempting especially when you walk by the pizzeria, or smell fresh cut french fries, or see a monster panini being pressed. Even if the salads or fresh sandwiches are appealing to you they often cost upwards of $10. In order to keep some extra dough in your pocket and take in less calories it’s good to pack your own lunch, and save these more indulgent lunches for once in a while treats.
I’m lucky to sometimes be able to go home for lunch, at which point I can make myself a hot meal. And the other times I bring food to eat in my office. Here are two very simple examples of how to make lunch in 5 minutes.
A meal at home:
Pizza is one of my favorite foods, so I like to create it a little bit “healthier” at home so I can indulge frequently! My pizza is made on a Damascus wrap (these are great and only have 110 calories!) with home-made tomato sauce, 1 ounce of fresh mozzarella, and a sliced Bilinski’s chicken sausage. I broiled it in the oven until the cheese melted and became bubbly. Paired with the pizza I served myself a watercress salad topped with carrots, avocado and balsamic vinegar. Delicious! This lunch was incredibly satisfying, provided ample protein (chicken sausage & cheese), lots of fiber (wrap & veggies), and some fat for satiety (cheese & avocado). And the best part was that I cooked it in no time at all!
Next up is lunch in my office:
I made myself a simple sandwich, on 2 slices of Arnold’s 100% whole wheat bread, one slice topped with 1/4 of an avocado and the other half with a schmear of hummus. Between the bread is an Amy’s veggie burger, which I cooked in the microwave before making the sandwich. I also added about a cup or so of watercress. On the side I had a carrot and a nectarine. The nectarine was from my CSA delivery, it was so sweet & juicy, and made for a perfect sweet ending to my meal!
FYI: I keep all of my bread in the freezer since I like to have an assortement on hand (english muffins, bagels, pita, bread, etc). Today, I took 2 slices out of my freezer and made the sandwich on frozen bread, by the time I ate it, the bread was perfect!
You have probably noticed, there are three common foods amongst these lunches: avocado, carrots & watercress. Read below to learn more about watercress.
Nutrition Tidbit: Watercress
- Watercress is a leafy vegetable, usually grown in water, that has a slightly peppery taste.
- I think Watercress is underutilized, especially when considering it’s nutritional value!
- Watercress is fragile and will last a few days in your fridge if you place the stems in a glass of water
- The greens are delicious added to a sandwich or used as a salad base (or you could try topping a cooked pizza with it too!)
- Nutritional Information: 100 grams (3 cups raw, chopped) provides 11 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, and 2 grams protein
- 100 grams provides 120 mg of Calcium! This is 12% of the RDA, and it’s particularly great since watercress contains very few oxalates (limits calcium absorption, common in many green vegetables)
- Provides 64% DV for vitamin A, 72% DV for vitamin C, 312% RDA for vitamin K, and 12% DV for manganese.
- Watercress is definitely a nutrient powerhouse and delicious, try it yourself!