Figure-Friendly Lunch Ideas Part I: Lunch Ideas for Chicken Breast

Tired of having that same old turkey sandwich every day for lunch? Variety is the spice of life and one of the secret weapons of weight loss.   Did you know you could make several completely different tasting lunches with chicken breast?  Try one of these figure-friendly lunch ideas:

1.  Honey-Mustard Chicken Breast Sandwich or Salad – take two  4 oz. chicken breasts, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board and pound them until they are a 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin or meat mallet or frying pan) and marinate them in 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (double the recipe for a pound of chicken).  Grill the chicken breast on a well-oiled grill or grill pan preheated to medium for 4-5 minutes per side.  If you don't have a grill pan, throw them onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Let the chicken rest for ten minutes.  Make honey-mustard chicken sandwiches by adding lettuce and tomato and using a whole wheat roll  (I use Arnold Select Sandwich Thins – Multigrain).   You can also chop up the chicken, add lettuce and tomatoes and make wraps (I use Flatout Flatbread Light wraps).  Alternatively, you can chop up the chicken and throw it over a salad dressed with a light dressing.  Serve with soup on the side and, if you make the salad, add a small whole wheat pita bread.  May I suggest Progresso Light Soup or my own curried vegetable soup (see the recipe section).  Makes 2 servings.

2.  Barbecued Chicken Breast sandwiches and salads – take two  4 oz. chicken breasts, pound them until they are a 1/2 inch thick, coat them with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill for 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.  Let the chicken cool.  Chop up the chicken and transfer to a bowl.  Add 2 tbsp. barbecue sauce and mix together.  I use Bullseye Barbecue Sauce Sweet and Tangy flavor.  Make 2 sandwiches or wraps with the barbecued chicken (add some lettuce and bell pepper or other veggie).  You can also make two salads by throwing  the barbecued chicken over a chopped salad using 4-5 cups of your favorite lettuce (chopped), 1 cup seeded diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced cucumber, 2 cups diced zucchini, 1 oz. light cheddar cheese (finely shredded) and chopped red onion dressed with a light balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing.  May I suggest Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette? 

3.  Honey Ginger Chicken – In a glass bowl, combine 2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger root, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/8 cup orange juice, 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce,  black pepper.   Take  two 4 oz. chicken breasts, pound them until they are a 1/2 inch thick and marinate them in the sauce in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil to catch the drippings.  Place a wire rack over the prepared pan and spray the rack with cooking spray.  Roast the chicken breast for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile put the reserved marinade into a small saucepan, add 1 tbsp. honey, and bring to a roiling boil for 2 minutes to kill any bacteria. Remove the chicken from the oven and brush with the marinade,then flip the chicken and continue to cook until cooked through (another 10-15 minutes).  Make sandwiches, wraps or a salad.

4.  Try the chicken salad recipe on my recipe page and make a wrap or a sandwich or serve with whole-grain crackers and soup or a salad on the side.

5.  Don't feel like cooking?  Make a wrap by warming up 3 Perdue Whole Grain Chicken Tenders in the microwave, placing them on a Flatout wrap and adding 1 tbsp. barbecue sauce, lettuce and/or other veggies.  Serve with a side salad and/or soup.

Other ideas include making a low-calorie chicken-pasta salad using whole wheat pasta and lots of veggies or a chinese chicken salad.  Check out the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and the WeightWatchers websites for inspiration.  You may have to modify the recipes to keep them low-calorie by using less oil or mayonnaise or by substituting low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise or sour cream or greek yogurt for some of the full fat mayonnaise called for.  I plan to play around with some pasta salad recipes myself this week.  If I find a winner, I will post it to my recipes page.

I hope I've inspired you to jazz up that lunch box this week.  This is the first installment of the lunchbox series.  Keep checking back for more ideas.  Also, keep checking the recipe page for new recipes.  Let me know what you think of them.

Peace

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