Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

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So we’re coming into the last week of January everyone! Its just about that time when every day-time talk show, magazine, and newspaper reminds us that we are in a competition with our New Years Resolutions and its time to check the score…

 

So if chocolate, cycling class, and happy hour are kicking your pretty little butt, stop stressing because this isn’t the NFL. Not even high school basketball… this is pee wee soccer ladies and gents; and everyone is a winner as long as they try.

 

And lucky for all of us I have the fabulous Ashley, RD, LDN, on the blog today sharing her best tips and tricks to make that ‘trying’ even easier! I don’t know about you all, but office lunches can sometimes be the hardest time to stay on track. We’re either crunched for time, grabbing fast food or haphazardly shoving our faces with whatever is quick and in front of us… OR we’re out to lunch with clients, surrounded by high calorie restaurant food. But never fear! Lunch hour doesn’t have to be the time that sabotages our day, with the right choices it can set the tone for a healthy afternoon! Fast food included… :)

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How cute are these reusable sandwich baggies?? Found them creeping on Oprah.com…such a great idea!

Take it away Ash!

Ever notice the wave of fresh faces at the gym right after the New Year?  While this may be frustrating to some of the regular attendees who now have to fight for a treadmill, it is also admirable to see people trying to make positive changes in their life.  Unfortunately, it tends to be short-lived in many cases.   The New Year is a great time to reflect on some areas in need of improvement in our lives, especially when it comes to our health.  Today let’s focus on office lunches!

After an entire month of overindulging at holiday parties, it may be time to take a temporary hiatus from going out to eat.  This can be especially beneficial in the workplace for a variety of reasons.  Not only is bringing your lunch to work easy on your waistline, it’s budget friendly too.   I don’t know about you, but I need my debit card to stay in hibernation until the Spring.  Buying your lunch at work can easily cost between 5 to 10 dollars, and you can easily purchase ingredients that can last you an entire week for the price.  You’ll help reduce your overall intake of sodium, saturated fat, refined grains and sugar.  Every packed lunch should include these staple items: whole grains, one fruit, one vegetable, and a lean source of protein.  The combination of protein and fiber will keep you feeling full throughout the afternoon until dinnertime.  The challenge is to keep yourself from getting bored to death of the same sandwich every day.

1. If you typically like to bring a sandwich, try a variety of whole-grain breads, pitas, tortillas and wraps. Rotate your fillings between sliced eggs, tuna fish, nut butters, hummus, cheese or lean/low sodium deli meats. Add some flavor and crunch with assorted greens, fresh basil, sprouts, sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, bananas etc.

2. Salads can provide the majority of your veggie servings for the day, and can easily be prepared the night before.  Don’t forget to keep your dressing in a separate container so your salad doesn’t get soggy!  Check out this handout for ideas on how to prevent salad burnout – click here!

3. Last night’s leftovers are another option that encourages you to exercise portion control the night before.  They also prevent you from wasting food and money.  Be sure to use microwave containers that you can reheat food at the office.

4. Frozen meals are a convenient option, but make sure you are checking your food labels for the calorie and sodium content (<500 calories, <20% daily value for sodium). Be sure to keep your lunch refrigerated once you get to work.  Invest in a lunchbox and ice packs to keep your lunch at the proper temperature if you do not have access to a refrigerator.

 

And for those times we can’t bring our own lunches from home, Cooking Light has a fabulous list of Best Restaurant Lunches to choose from! Dominoes, Subway, McDonalds, and Wendy’s all made the cut, click here for the full list!

Same with Brown-Bag recipes ideas: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/everyday-menus/brown-bag-lunches-00412000077398/page16.html

 

And Ashley looked up Pinterest for some yummy inspiration! http://pinterest.com/debbielynnl/brown-bag-lunches/

 

Butttt…. most importantly. Obviously.

 

My Pesto Pasta Salad!

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This comes together in 20 minutes – start to finish. Boil your water, throw in your pasta, and either whip out your store bought pesto, or make my recipe below! You can make this days ahead – it will stay good in the fridge all week. Pesto is a great make-ahead condiment, it stays fabulously in the fridge, and also freezes super well.

 

 

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Comments

  1. I love all the helpful tips! I ALSO love pesto annnd chicken aaaand pasta!!!! Mmmmmmm

  2. This looks delicious. I love pesto and pasta!

  3. I always bring my own lunch to work because it saves me money and calories! usually leftovers :) What a great pasta salad!

  4. LOVE this!! Thank you :)

  5. Mmm, this pasta salad sounds like the perfect way to stay on track without compensating flavor. Yum!

  6. I love all these tips!! I am often grabbing Wendy’s when I shouldn’t be because of small-time breaks for work, but pasta salad is one of my favorites. And I love the idea of leftovers – since I’m usually cooking for one there ends up being leftovers anyways :D Great post Kristina!

    • Whipped Baking says:

      Thanks Jess! I’m with you on the leftovers :) I swear I can always make them stretch at least 3 days… and love my Wendy’s too! Their chili is on the ‘nice’ list so eat away girl!

  7. Healthy but flavoursome, I would eat this in a heartbeat :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Yum! I love pesto, pasta, and chicken. Thanks for all the great tips. =)

  9. This looks fabulous! I want to try a version using my Italian Dinner Starter. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. YUM!!!! All your food always makes me hungry. Maybe I should take an early lunch today. :)

  11. Yum, this salad sounds great!! Ashley’s ideas are great too. Not everyone likes leftovers, but I love leftovers and luckily I always have to cook a lot of yummy things on Sundays, giving me plenty of leftovers for lunch!

  12. I make almost this exact same recipe, except with a can of tuna instead of the chicken – just to make it even easier! Also works really well with quinoa.

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