If you are looking for inspiration for a healthy lunch to take to work, then here it is! When it’s wet and cold and you are short on time, it can be tempting to rely on the workplace cafeteria or nearby bakery, but unfortunately café options are often pretty unbalanced, high in poor quality carbs, low in protein and often have next to no vegetables.
Here is a better solution, this is what I like to pack for lunch and then how I plan things to make this happen.
1) Frittata. Ideally, aim to build your lunch around a source of protein, this could be lean meat, fish, beans, falafel, tofu or in this case, eggs and then look at what veggies you can have with it. Frittata is a great lunch option as it can be eaten hot or cold and made in advance. You can buy fresh vegetables, use frozen ones and it’s a good way to use up any vegetables you didn’t use throughout the week. It is really filling too!
2) Pack some extra veg! Where possible it’s good to try to get 2 – 3 serves of vegetables in your lunch box, one of these may be in your frittata, but there are lots of ways to get the extra veg serves in. Edamame beans, roast veggie mix or veggie sticks are what I am loving right now. Veggie sticks like carrots, capsicum or celery along with hummus, some sliced cheese or 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas (can be pre made or store brought) are other ideas too. If you are after something warmer and a bit more comforting you could try edamame beans (microwave at work) or heat up a variety of roast veggies (carrot, pumpkin, kumara, capsicum, courgette) and serve with a dollop of pesto if you wish. A mug of veggie soup is also a winner!
3) Nuts - Add some healthy fats, this could be a small handful of nuts (such as about 8 almonds and 2 brazil nuts) for a boost of B Vitamins and Selenium to improve your immunity.
4) Fruit + yoghurt. Frozen berries, mandarin and kiwifruit are all super high in Vitamin C so great to enjoy at this time of year.
So can you make it easy to have this lunch? The key is planning and prep.
1) Make the Frittata Sunday evening while cooking your evening meal or during the day. Set aside some time and have Tupperware containers ready.
2) Pre-cut or cook vegetables at the same time as you are making your frittata. You may need to do a fresh batch midweek – plan to do this while cooking dinner. You can get containers that hold both the veggies and have a small space for hummus, cubes of cheese or chickpeas.
3) Pre-portion your nuts or keep them at your desk at work
Buy your fruit in season and with your weekend shop or at your local market if you have one nearby and pre-portion your berries and yoghurt into small plastic or glass containers.