Quick, nutrition-packed midday meals on the go

These delicious and satisfying light lunches are easy to assemble and stash in the office fridge. Whether you choose the salad, sandwich or platter, each recipe has a full serving of vegetables or more. There’s also no heavy lifting here, add a few inexpensive items to your pantry, make good use of your leftovers and you’re good to go.

Crunchy Finger-Food Muncher

Servings: 1

½ cup baby carrots

5 medium whole mushrooms

¼ cup pea pods or snow peas

4 cherry tomatoes

4 ounces chicken breast chunks (leftovers work well here)

2 tablespoons low-fat, olive-oil vinaigrette dressing (for stricter sodium

control, mix your own)

6 baked reduced-fat whole-wheat crackers

This is the easiest of the three recipes: Pack each food item in its own snack-pack bag; when it’s time to eat, arrange on a plate for a colorful eye-catching array of crunchy goodness or just enjoy straight out of the bag for the contrasting texture and taste each favorite contributes to your midday meal. Dressing can be drizzled on or used as a dip.

Nutrition information per serving: 380 calories; 8 g fat, (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fat); 95 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 43 g protein; 6 g fiber; 690 mg sodium.

Percent Daily Value: 180 percent, vitamin A; 40 percent, vitamin C; 15 percent iron.

Pita Pocket Picks

Pita pockets make nutritious, on-the-go meals. (Lauri Patterson)

Pita pockets make nutritious, on-the-go meals. (Lauri Patterson)

Servings: 1

1 individual whole-wheat pita round (6 1/2”)

1

cup cucumber or zucchini squash slices

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup red bell pepper slices

4 ounces turkey slices

2 tablespoons low-fat, olive-oil vinaigrette dressing (for stricter sodium control, mix your own)

Cut pita round in half to create 2 pockets. Line each with 2 ounces of turkey. Fill with half the veggies and drizzle

with dressing.

Nutrition information per stuffed pita half: 180 calories; 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fat); 25 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 4 g fiber; 860 mg sodium.

Percent Daily Value: 15 percent Vitamin A;

60 percent vitamin C; 10 percent iron.

Black-eyed Peas ’n’ Rice Jar Salad

Servings: 4 (about 2 cups per jar)

One 16-ounce package frozen, par-boiled, black-eyed peas (or one 15-ounce can, no salt added)

One 8.8-ounce pouch “instant” whole-grain brown rice

3 tomatoes, diced

2 mangoes, diced

3 green onions, sliced

3 tablespoons cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Juice from 1 fresh lime

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Four 16-ounce wide-mouth jars with lids

If using frozen peas, rinse thoroughly under hot water then transfer to a bowl. Fill the bowl with boiling water, completely covering the peas. Cover and let stand while chopping and prepping other ingredients. Microwave rice in pouch for tenderness.

In a separate bowl, combine together the olive oil, vinegars, lime juice, and spices.

To assemble, in each of the 4 jars layer ¼ of each ingredient starting with the drained peas on the bottom, cover with the (portioned) seasoned vinegar dressing, then the tomatoes, next the mangoes followed by the green onions and chopped cilantro topped with the rice. Leave in the fridge until lunchtime and enjoy thoroughly chilled by turning onto a plate, mixing or shaking thoroughly.

Nutrition information per serving: 430 calories; 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 73 g carbohydrates; 14 g protein; 11 g fiber; 65 mg sodium.

Percent Daily Value: 45 percent vitamin A; 120 percent vitamin C; 20 percent iron.