I was going to mention Bento as well! There are probably some great ideas for you to pull in just by googling it.
I would be more worried about the sodium content in those three items as well, so my "healthier lunchables" would be Wasa Crisp-n-Light crackers, some natural unsweetened jam or natural peanut butter, and some crunchy vegetables.
I've just started eating Christies Rice Thins crackers and am really enjoying them, especially with spreading some Laughing Cow Lite cheese on them. The Laughing Cow Lite is around 35 calories a wedge and the crackers are 80 calories for 12 of them. Or if you don't want to stray from Triscuits they have Thin Crisps which a bit lower in calories and sodium. Maybe try substituting Turkey Kolbasa for the pepperoni.
for lunch I often use a small tossed salad with a protein.. chicken, tuna; or with a broth based soup and maybe finish with a tangerine. It is all fooling myself, but I find if the meal has several "courses" it takes longer to eat and thus I feel more satisfied.
could you crisp up some lavash instead of the triscuits? a half a thing of lavash would be about 100 cals and about 5 g protein, so i am guessing that would cut about 50 cals and add a little protein at the same time. also, if you like wasa crackers, could you use those instead of the triscuits? and what about cutting back to three slices of cheese instead of four? as has already been noted, the cheese is going to be the big calorie block here, so if you were to cut out 25% but keep the rest steady you would just end up with a little less cheese per cracker.
Fitness Minutes: (41,738)
523 1/14/13 1:48 A
I think for homemade lunchables, you're not going to get it very healthy... Crackers tend to be just fat and refined carbs. They have never felt substantial to me at all, too. The only way to healthify this part is by finding whole-grain crackers or crackers that are made to be fiber-full somehow. Now, cheese? Cheese is very high calorie in itself. Remember a serving of it is only like an ounce, so if you are eating four slices, depending on how thick you cut it, you're looking at over 300 calories just for the cheese. Could you use fat-free cheese or reduced-fat cheese? As far as the meat product goes, even turkey pepperoni isn't the best. It's definitely better than normal pepperoni, but you can slim it down even further by using deli lean meat cuts.
Honestly, if I were you, I would do one of two things: 1) Eat about half of what you normally do, and then load up on other things, like a serving of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables. 2) Just cut out the lunchable style all together and opt for just building a better lunch. I'm not saying never eat the homemade lunchables, but to eat it less often, accepting that if you want the type of lunch, it comes at a nutritional cost.
I find a lot of healthy eating is realizing that there is a nutritional cost to everything. You have a budget- like money- and you have things you really ought to have (vitamins and minerals) and you need to be satiated and satisfied. What is the best deal for YOU? Some days, splurging ~500 calories on that lunch specifically may be OK, but maybe you'll realize that there are lots of other options that are "better deals."
1. With barbecue sauce as sort of a sloppy joe/pulled-pork type sandwich 2. The Bumblebee Tuna Sensations tuna on Wasa crackers 3. Tuna cakes made with tuna, seasonings, cottage cheese, and an egg.
Tuna salad on crackers? No.
Although, I did think of another fun "lunchable" inspired by Starbucks and their bistro boxes. I could have mini triscuits and raw veggies dipped in hummus. I'd pair that combo with some fruit and a 6 oz. Chobani cup.
Fitness Minutes: (50,754)
3,229 1/13/13 10:35 P
What about subbing some chunked up chicken, ham or turkey?
3oz of chicken breast is 102 calories (turkey is roughly the same) - ham is slightly higher.
Do you like Tuna? How about a yummy low cal/fat tuna salad with your crackers?
Thing is, it's not very high for lunch (my range is around 1300-1500 or so (I have to double check that)). However, it's definitely a lunch that I need to bulk up because cheese and crackers don't generally make a good lunch unless there are a lot of them haha!
I've done carrots and broccoli before- especially paired with a dip made of plain greek yogurt and ranch dressing mix. I just decided to pick up some blackberries and tomatoes today. I think cherry tomatoes and a pepper jack cheese bar or a string cheese is probably one of my favorite snacks!
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,666 1/13/13 9:25 P
440 is not too high for lunch! You need a substantial lunch in order to keep fueled until dinner. What is your target calorie count? How about instead of just cutting back what you have and leaving it at that, fill it with veggies. Cut your crackers back by half, and replace them with broccoli or carrots. Tomatoes and blackberries are good, but not very filling.
I have gotten into the habit of packing a lunch on most work days. Sure, I've gone out for McDonalds once or twice in the past 6 months, and there was that day my "lunch" consisted of sunchips I found at work (no money and no food in the house). Sometimes, my "packed" lunch was a pizza and a banana I grabbed at the store on the way to work, but so what?
One of my favorite lunches to pack when I don't feel like preparing lunch (but I don't want something frozen) is homemade lunchables. I use 4 slices of either pepper jack or munster cheese (depending on if I want something spicy or not) cut into 4 pieces each, 16 Triscuits (sometimes original, but I love the other flavors as well), and 16 slices of pepperoni.
Unfortunately, that combo comes out to over 660 calories. I want to try to lighten it without sacrificing half of the food. I know swapping the pepperoni for turkey pepperoni will save me around 70 calories. I figured that if I use Turkey Pepperoni as well as cutting back to only 12 crackers and cheese squares I can drop the calorie count to around 440, but that's still high for lunch At the same time, I don't want to cut back TOO much on the amount of food. 4 crackers with 4 slices of pepperoni and 1 cheese slice cut into 4 pieces is ok as a snack, but that won't be enough food for lunch.
I do usually serve my lunchables with some kind of fruit and veggie. Today, it's blackberries, grape tomatoes, and kumquats.
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