Pack Lunch, Not Pounds

A brown-bag lunch doesn’t have to be boring. We asked a nutritionist to revamp dishes from local eateries and create delicious options that won’t undo your diet.

Eating lunch out every day can be hard on your waistline. “If you’re not planning ahead, you tend to make less healthy decisions,” says Philly-based dietician Katie Cavuto Boyle, a nutrition coach for the Phillies. So we asked her to design healthy 10-minute meals inspired by local lunch spots. (Midafternoon crash not included.)

Village Whiskey taste-alike: Bison burger on a multigrain English muffin. Tip: Cook low-fat bison patties at home—Whole Foods sells them pre-made—and reheat them at work. Top with tomato and heart-healthy avocado, and add a side of store-bought roasted beets.

Continental Mid-town taste-alike: Whole-wheat pita with hummus, chicken and vegetables. Tip: Use leftover white-meat chicken, or grill a large batch at the beginning of the week. Add a dash of olive tapenade—available in a jar—for a pop of flavor. Fiber-rich veggies, such as romaine lettuce and tomato, keep you full longer.

Di Bruno Bros. taste-alike: Cannellini bean salad with tuna. Tip: The canned beans and tuna provide lots of fiber and protein. Add tomatoes, asparagus, arugula, fresh basil and a tablespoon of parmesan. Shake the salad with one to two tablespoons of white-balsamic dressing in a Tupperware container.

Marathon Grill taste-alike: Chicken salad on Arnold’s double fiber bread with tomato (pictured). Tip: Use leftover white-meat chicken or Trader Joe’s pre-cooked Just Chicken pieces. Dress with light mayo, Dijon mustard and fresh dill.

Paesano’s taste-alike: Chicken sausage on a whole-wheat bun with arugula. Tip: Buy precooked chicken sausage, and microwave it at work. Add more flavor with a teaspoon of pesto and roasted red peppers, which both come jarred.