A lot of my clients, working from home or not, struggle with lunch. I would estimate that more than half of the clients I see daily are looking for recipe ideas for their mid-day meal.
The common phrase is “lunch is whatever I can get my hands on”.
It always seems to be rushed and when we’re in a rush and grabbing “whatever”, chances are that this meal isn’t balanced. What can happen when we eat an unbalanced meal is: increased likelihood to overeat later on, increased cravings, big energy dips and an overall feeling of dissatisfaction. If you are working from home or heading back to work this spring, these meal ideas may help you out of a “lunch rut”.
First and foremost… Take your lunch break! I can’t stress this enough.
In our overworked, productivity-based society, lunch is often skipped, rushed or consumed while multitasking (does lunch in front of the computer sound familiar?). Being present while eating can help with increased satisfaction, prevent overeating, promote satiety and may help reduce negative side effects that come from eating too fast (heartburn or bloating anyone?).
So do yourself a favour, start putting “lunch” into the calendar. Your mental and physical health will thank you. If you’ve already implemented this and are just here for the recipes, have a look at some of my favourite quick and easy lunches below.
Let’s get into these 4 packable, pre-prepped lunch ideas:
1. Salad Bowls
A twist on the classic salad, or should we say salads' more filling and trendy cousin (or is this a salad? What constitutes a salad anyway?). Bowls are a great way to use leftovers and the last remaining items from that grocery haul last week.
Here’s how to build a lunch bowl:
Choose your protein: chicken, tofu, fish, legumes, falafel etc.
Choose your grain or carbohydrate source: sweet potato (bonus points for leaving the skin on), quinoa, farro, brown rice, chickpeas*
Choose your fat source: dressing, avocado, cheese, hummus, seeds and/or nuts
*note on legumes: one of the many magical things about legumes is that they can count as both a carbohydrate and a protein.
This is another perfect one for utilizing leftovers. Not only are wraps super convenient, but they can make for a very satisfying meal.
As part of a balanced meal, include a source of protein, whole grain and fat. Here are some examples:
Tuna salad wrap: 1 can tuna mixed wih parsley, red onion, chili powder, small amount curry powder, salt and pepper, Olive Oil based mayo (and/or avocado) and mustard. Mix together. Add vegetables and add to whole wheat wrap.
Chickpea salad wrap: take the recipe above but instead of tuna use chickpeas (lentils also work here)
Black bean “taco seasoned” wrap: mix cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and garlic powder to black beans with lime juice, avocado and cilantro. Add greens and bell peppers, cheese and plain greek yogurt for a taco inspired plant based wrap
Leftovers re-invented: take leftover protein from the night before (beef, fish, chicken etc.), add veggies, sauce of your choice and cheese to a whole wheat wrap and bam! A whole new meal made with leftovers from last night.
If you’ve been thinking about adding plant based meals to your diet, vegetarian/vegan chili is one of the easiest ways to get started. You can find a fantastic recipe for vegetarian chili here.
4. Protein Boxes:
Okay hear me out… you know those “protein boxes” at Starbucks that are comprised of eggs, cheese, veggies/grapes and a whole grain “bun”, why not try these out for yourself?
Bonus: kids love these!
Ozery Snacking or Morning Rounds are great as the primary whole grain carbohydrate source here. Pairing these with a nut butter or hummus will add some protein and fat for satiety. Add some fruit and/or vegetables to this box such as: apple slices, grapes, carrot sticks, snap peas for some colour. Nuts or cheese would also work well here.
These are a few, of many lunch ideas. Stay tuned for upcoming recipe and snack ideas! If you have a question or comment, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org