December 13th, 2011

As a college student, I often find myself getting tired of the narrow selection of dining locations available on campus when I need to grab a quick lunch in between classes (not to mention an even narrower selection of healthy options). Sure, I can name at least five different campus restaurants that specialize in sandwiches (hey, I even worked at one!), but my college-budget wallet and my body can’t handle buying those high-calorie sandwiches every day. When I was asked by Student Health 101 to produce a video about healthy lunches that students could pack for the day, I was quick to choose a sandwich that never fails to please: the Caprese.

When it comes to sandwiches, my rule of thumb is to choose the option that’s lowest in fat and highest in protein to keep me going through the day. Although everyone loves adding ranch dressing, mayonnaise, or the ever popular chipotle mayonnaise to their sandwiches, it’s healthier (and still tasty) to use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as alternatives to reduce fat and calorie intake. Another culprit of a high-calorie and high-fat sandwich is the cheese. Mozzarella is always a healthy choice of cheese that is low in fat and high in protein. For those of you who have never tried the Caprese before, trust me, it’s pretty hard to resist the refreshing blend of mozzarella, tomato, and basil. Healthy can be tasty!

Although I love me a good sandwich, I eventually get sick of them, so I also included a quick salad recipe in this video. My rule of thumb for salads is stick with deeper-colored lettuces, they provide more nutrients. I can’t remember the last time I made a salad without using arugula, an extremely healthy green that is high in phytonutrients. Arugula is much healthier and tastier than your typical lettuce, which is 95% water (where are the nutrients?)! For the dressing, I used pesto sauce, which is high in unsaturated fat (the good kind of fat your body needs); however, you can also use the olive oil and balsamic vinegar blend if you want. And, to add some protein to this salad, I threw in some roasted, unsalted almonds. Remember, protein doesn’t always have to come from meat. Nuts and beans are loaded with protein!

The perfect lunch isn’t complete without a drink, so I experimented with a green energy drink recipe (perfect for the drowsy college student, no?). This is the first time I have ever tried kale, a green that is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. I have to say, even though kale doesn’t taste the best on it’s own, you can’t even taste it in this drink recipe because it’s blended with apples and bananas. For a frostier drink with a smoothie-like consistency, freeze your bananas. This recipe sure beats those deadly Red Bull and Monster drinks!

To learn more about the health benefits of these lunch recipes, you can watch me prepare the recipes here. You can also view the latest issue of Student Health 101 here.

Happy Holidays from WK!
Did you notice my use of festive colors in these recipes? Yes, that was completely intentional, I swear.

Caprese Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich

2 slices whole grain bread
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Tomato, sliced
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Salt & pepper, to taste
Fresh basil leaves
Slices of low-sodium turkey or chicken (optional)

If time permits, toast the bread slices. Place tomato and cheese on one slice of bread. Sprinkle desired amount of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place basil leaves on top, followed by the second slice of bread.

Pesto Arugula Salad
Makes 1 salad

Cherry tomatoes, rinsed & halved
Roasted almonds (unsalted)
Pesto sauce

Combine arugula and tomatoes. Scatter almonds and pesto on top.

Green Energy Smoothie
Makes 1 drink

3/4 cup water
1/2 lemon, squeeze
2 cups kale, washed and stemmed
1 green apple, seeded and sliced
1 banana, sliced and frozen

Blend all ingredients (with the liquids at the bottom and frozen ingredients at the top) in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

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