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Turkey sandwich. Tuna sandwich. Ham sandwich. Sigh. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then lunch may be the most boring. Put an end to ho-hum midday meals with these genius recipe upgrades.
Photo: Ryan Benyi/MyRecipes.com
Classic: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Twist: Peanut Butter and Pear Sandwich
Swap out sugary jelly for naturally sweet pears, raisins, and honey. Pears break up the monotony of traditional PB&J by adding crunch to every bite—and a dose of filling fiber and antioxidants.
Ingredients: Peanut butter, whole-wheat bread, raisins, pears, cinnamon, honey
Try this recipe: Peanut Butter and Pear Sandwich
Twist: Pastrami-Spiced Tofu Reuben
The average Reuben sandwich racks up nearly 800 calories. This vegetarian-friendly version swaps out beef pastrami for tofu, reducing the calorie count by nearly half. With 20 grams of protein per serving, you're sure to feel full until dinner!
Ingredients: Firm tofu, reduced-fat mayonnaise, ketchup, sweet pickles, coriander, ground black pepper, garlic powder, salt, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, sauerkraut, pickled jalapeno, unsalted butter, pumpernickel bread, Swiss cheese
Try this recipe: Pastrami-Spiced Tofu Reuben
Classic: Cobb Salad
Twist: Cobb Salad Lettuce Wraps
We get it: eating a salad every day is good for you. But does it get boring? Yes. These wraps—which you eat with your hands—are a finger-licking-good alternative that makes eating veggies feel fun again. Avocado and a touch of blue cheese add creaminess without fattening dressings.
Ingredients: Reduced-fat mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, black pepper, cooking spray, Canadian bacon, iceberg lettuce, smoked deli turkey breast slices, tomato, avocado, red onion, crumbled blue cheese
Try this recipe: Cobb Salad Lettuce Wraps
Photo: Jim Bathie/Health.com
Classic: Turkey Club with Mayo on White Bread
Twist: Turkey Club with Pesto on Pumpernickel Bread
Choosing pumpernickel bread over traditional white for your turkey club has two clear benefits: it gives your sammie a more complex nutty flavor, and it's a lot better for you. (A recent study revealed that frequent white-bread eaters are 40% more likely to become overweight than those who eat it less often.) And pesto not only adds flavor; the olive oil and pine nuts it's made from are known metabolism-boosters.
Ingredients: Prepared pesto, pumpernickel bread, sliced turkey, turkey bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato, apple
Try this recipe: Pesto Turkey Club
Photo: Randy Mayor and Mary Catherine Muir/MyRecipes.com
Classic: Chicken-Noodle Soup
Twist: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Forget canned chicken soup. Ginger, garlic, Thai spices, mint, and cilantro give this homemade version an Asian twist. Make it ahead of time and package it to take to work for the rest of the week.
Ingredients: Water, shallots, ginger, garlic, Thai fish sauce, salt, pepper, chicken broth, chicken thighs, vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, basil, mint, lime
Try this recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Photo: Jim Bathie/Health.com
Classic: Ham Sandwich
Twist: Ham, Sliced Pear, and Swiss Sandwich
Here's another classic sandwich that features fiber- and antioxidant-packed pears. This ham sandwich also swaps out fattening mayonnaise for plain, low-fat Greek yogurt, which provides an additional punch of protein.
Ingredients: Plain low-fat Greek yogurt, dill, pumpernickel bread, sliced lean ham, pear, Swiss cheese
Try this recipe: Ham, Sliced Pear & Swiss Sandwich
Classic: Pizza Delivery
Twist: Zucchini, Scallion, and Parmesan Pizza
It's all too easy to call for pizza delivery for your officemates at lunchtime. Instead, why not impress your coworkers with this healthier, more exciting version? Whole-wheat pizza dough is topped with zucchini, scallions, and just a sprinkling of flavorful Parmesan.
Ingredients: All-purpose flour and cornmeal, whole-wheat pizza dough, olive oil, scallions, zucchini, salt, pepper, Parmesan, fresh mint
Try this recipe: Zucchini, Scallion and Parmesan Pizza
Classic: Tuna Sandwich
Twist: Mediterranean Tuna Melt
Instead of mixing canned tuna with mayo (yawn), try a jar of heart-healthy oil-packed tuna topped with staples from the Mediterranean diet. Olives, chives, roasted red peppers, and melted Manchego will make you wonder why you ever ate tuna any other way.
Ingredients: Multigrain boule, extra-virgin olive oil, Spanish tuna, lemon zest, lemon juice, roasted red peppers, Spanish olives, red onion, Manchego, chives, Marcona almonds
Try this recipe: Mediterranean Tuna Melt
Classic: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with American
Twist: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Cheddar and Apples
Grilled cheese is a treat, but you can make it healthier—and tastier—by swapping out American cheese for cheddar and adding apple slices and baby spinach leaves. Multigrain bread sets you up with two out of your three recommended daily servings of whole grains.
Ingredients: Mayonnaise, whole-grain multigrain bread, Dijon mustard, cheddar, apple, baby spinach
Try this recipe: Grilled Cheddar with Apples
Photo: Jim Bathie/MyRecipes.com
Classic: Macaroni and Cheese
Twist: Baked Two-Cheese Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Mac and cheese soothes the soul, but nobody would ever call this comfort food healthy. You won't miss it with this upgraded version that swaps in whole-wheat pasta. The entire four-serving recipe uses just 3 ounces of flavor-packed fontina and Gouda cheeses, but is still creamy thanks to a secret ingredient: Greek yogurt.
Ingredients: Whole-wheat penne, olive oil, all-purpose flour, salt, black pepper, low-fat milk, Gouda, fontina, panko, roasted red bell pepper, low-fat Greek yogurt
Try this recipe: Baked Two-Cheese Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Twist: Guilt-Free Cheeseburger
Sure, it's tempting to hit the drive-through for lunchbut the choices there are uninspired at best. Plus, fast food spikes your blood sugar, so within a couple hours you'll feel hungry again. Try this guiltless cheeseburger insteadit features lean sirloin, and is topped with heart-healthy avocado and a juicy tomato salsa.
Ingredients: Lean sirloin, garlic, chili powder, kosher salt, cheddar, romaine, avocado, fresh salsa, sourdough bun
Try this recipe: Guilt-Free Cheeseburger
Twist: Bacon-and-Egg Sandwiches with Greens
A classic BLT is tasty, but lacking in nutrients. Try a BEK instead: bacon, egg, and kale. One egg is just 78 calories and is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and selenium. Meanwhile, a serving of kale—the ultimate superfood—gives you a days' worth of vitamin C, twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, and nearly seven times the recommended amount of vitamin K.
Ingredients: Bacon, yellow onion, kale, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, eggs, multigrain English muffins, garlic
Try this recipe: Bacon-and-Egg Sandwiches with Greens
Watch the video: How to Make a Healthier Bacon-and-Egg Sandwich
Classic: Cheese Quesadilla
Twist: Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas
You've never had a quesadilla quite like this! This recipe uses less cheese than a traditional quesadilla, and instead ramps up the flavor with sweet potatoes and red onions. Spinach adds virtually zero calories but gives you 56% of your daily vitamin A needs, plus a host of other nutrients.
Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, red wine vinegar, sugar, black peppercorns, red onion, kosher salt, black pepper, flour tortillas, baby spinach, shredded part-skim mozzarella, olive oil
Try this recipe: Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas