5 Nutritious Brown-Bag Lunches That Are Perfect for Back-to-School

Open-faced tomato, lettuce and cheese sandwich packed in reuable lunch container

Many bariatric patients have expressed that they are ready to “get back on track” after summer or the holidays. An easy way to head in the right direction is to start packing lunch for you and your family.

Preparing meals and snacks is a great way to stay focused so that you are not tempted to purchase unhealthy foods.

Here are some recipe suggestions for quick and easy make-ahead lunches that all family members will enjoy.

Low-carb tuna melts

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices of tomato
  • 1 can tuna packed in water, water drained
  • Low-fat mayo (optional - Dijon mustard)
  • 2 thin slices of low-fat cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you like!)

Method

Prepare tuna salad by mixing one can of tuna with either mayo, Dijon mustard, or a combination of the two. Use only enough mayo/Dijon to form the tuna into a salad.

Lay the tomato slices on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.

Place one to two ounces of prepared tuna salad on each tomato slice, then top each with a slice of low-fat cheddar cheese.

Place under the broiler in the oven, or toast in a toaster oven until cheese melts.

Serve warm, or pack and reheat in the microwave at a later time.

Egg salad with cucumber chips

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed
  • Low-fat mayo
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional - fresh chives or parsley
  • Cucumbers, sliced in ¼ slices

Method

To prepare egg salad, chop hard boiled eggs and mix together with equal parts low-fat mayo and mustard. Only use enough mayo/mustard to create a salad. If desired, mix in chopped chives or parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve egg salad on cucumber slices.

Making roll-ups are a quick and easy way to get in both protein and veggies. Roll-ups are a bariatric-friendly way to capture the flavors of your favorite sandwiches without the excessive carbohydrates! Here are a few of my favorites.

Turkey hoagie roll-ups

Ingredients

  • Lettuce leaves, such as Romaine Bibb, Boston, or other leaf lettuce, washed and dried
  • Low-sodium, low-fat deli turkey
  • Low-fat deli American cheese
  • Dried Oregano
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Optional - thin slices of tomato and/or red onion

Method

Lay 1 lettuce leaf on a clean counter or cutting board. Top with one to two slices of turkey and one slice of American cheese. If desired, lay one to two thin tomato slices and thinly sliced red onion on top.

Sprinkle oregano over the top and add a few drops of red wine vinegar.

Roll lettuce leaf tightly, making sure to roll in all of the toppings.

Roast beef roll-ups with low-fat horseradish sauce

Ingredients for roll-ups

  • Roast beef deli slices
  • Low-fat cheddar cheese
  • Baby spinach
  • Roasted red pepper

Ingredients for low-fat horseradish sauce

  • Grated horseradish
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Lay one slice of roast beef on a clean counter or cutting board, then top with one slice of low-fat cheddar cheese. Place roughly five baby spinach leaves in the center and top with one to two thin slices of roasted red pepper. Roll roast beef up tightly making sure to pack in the spinach leaves and roasted red pepper.

To make the low-fat horseradish sauce, mix one-fourth cup Greek yogurt with enough grated horseradish to meet your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cuban roll-ups

Ingredients

  • Low-fat deli ham
  • Low-fat Swiss cheese
  • Pickle spear
  • Yellow mustard

Method

Lay one slice of ham on a clean counter or cutting board, then top with one slice of low-fat Swiss cheese. Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard over the cheese. Roll meat and cheese slices around one pickle spear to create the roll-up.

I hope these recipes help to get you back on track! Remember, deli meats and cheese can be very high in sodium so purchase low-sodium options when they are available. You can also use thin slices of home-cooked meats to lower the sodium intake.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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