I know that after a busy day at work, the last thing that most people want to do is figure out what they should have for dinner, let alone lunch the next day! Working for hours on end and trying to be healthy may seem like two things that don’t necessarily go together but I’m here to show you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be time consuming or over complicated. I’ve got some great recipes for you to take to work with you that are fast and easy to prepare.
Sometimes, the thought of picking up something on your lunch break from the local food hall or fast food chain might seem like the only available food option. However, pre-preparing healthy food for work can not only save you money, but it can also save you time in the long run so that you can sit down and enjoy your lunch that has already been made by you.
Eating healthily and preparing meals to nourish can also help to improve your work performance, and it can be simple to prepare healthy food the night before so that you can just grab it and go in the morning. If you’re reading this and it seems to you like an impossible feat, I’m here to show you that healthy lunches can be an achievable change in your workdays and really, it all comes down to mindset.
The number one word I’m going to use here is preparation. Preparing food, the night before or even preparing a few meals on the weekend, can save a lot of time and unnecessary stress in the morning. I’ll often cook more for dinner and take the rest as a takeaway. For example, if I’m making a salad, I’ll take some out before serving and put it in a container, and then dress the rest. This means the next morning it will still be fresh and delicious for the day and then all it needs is a protein source like a can of tuna in olive oil which I put in my bag and I’ll take a lemon with me to work (I work from the local library) and then at lunchtime, I'll dress the salad from there.
I’d love to share with you two of my favourite "Totally Totable" recipes from my latest book Fast Your Way to Wellness.
The first is a scrumptious Bento Box and secondly my Vegie Nori Wraps which are fun to make. Not only are these meals simple to prepare and delicious, they’ll also make all your co-workers extremely jealous by how good they look! They’re easy enough to transport to work and will help keep you focused for the day ahead.
The Supercharged Bento Box is a combination of everything to satisfy you fully! There’s a section packed with protein, another filled with complex carbohydrates, the third with vibrant veggies and of course the last one has a sweet little treat. I like to keep my meals balanced and like most, love having dessert to look forward to.
Nori is the main star of my Veggie Nori Wraps. Nori is an edible seaweed that is low in calories and rich in protein, iodine and fibre, making it a perfect lunchtime mix. Nori is packed full of B vitamins, especially B12, which is hard to find in vegetarian foods. This simple seaweed is also high in minerals and amino acids to maintain health as it controls everything from the immune system to mood.
Supercharged Bento Box
421 calories per serve (1763 kJ)
This meal has saved me time and time again! It’s a little bit like a throw-all-the-good-contents-from-the-fridge-into-a-container and it will no doubt taste delicious kind of meal. This is easiest to eat from a bento box or lunchbox with four separate sections. Once it’s assembled, just refrigerate it for lunch the following day. Easy!
Sesame slaw with tahini and orange dressing
- 15 g (1/2 oz/1/4 cup) shredded green cabbage
- 15 g (1/2 oz/1/4 cup) shredded red cabbage
- 40 g (11/2 oz/ 1/4 cup) grated carrot
- a few mint stalks, chopped
- a few parsley stalks, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (scallion)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a dry frying pan
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- finely grated zest of 1/2 orange
- Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine all the slaw ingredients except the sesame seeds and put in a section of the box. Combine the dressing ingredients, adding filtered water as needed, then pour over the salad. Top with the sesame seeds.
Sardines with Lemon and Pepper
- 45 g (11/2 oz) tinned sardines
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lemon wedge
Drain the sardines and place in a section of your box. Season with pepper and add the lemon wedge.
- 110 g (41/4 oz/1/2 cup) cooked quinoa (make this the night before or on the weekend and store in fridge)
- finely grated zest of 1 lime
- Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the quinoa and lime zest, then season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a section of your box.
Put a small handful of berries in the last section of the box for dessert.
Vegetable Nori Wraps
181 calories per serve (758 kJ)
These wraps are satisfyingly simple. Feel free to make them your own – add any additional veggies you like to the mix! Packing these nori rolls for lunch will keep your nourished and grounded when you’re on the go.
- 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
- 2 teaspoons rice malt (brown rice) syrup or raw honey
- 2 nori sheets
- 1 tablespoon nut butter (cashew nut butter works well)
- a few handfuls of baby English spinach leaves
- 40 g (11/2 oz/1/2 cup) shredded red cabbage
- 1/2 large carrot, grated
- 100 g (31/2 oz/about 1/2 large) avocado, sliced
- small handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
Note; You can add a protein source to this recipe too, tuna or salmon is nice!
Combine the tamari and rice malt syrup in a small bowl. Lay one of the nori sheets on a clean work surface with a long side facing you and the shiny side down, then evenly spread half the nut butter over it, leaving a 3 cm (11/4 in) border on the top side.
Spread about one-third of the tamari mixture over the nut butter. Spread a tiny bit of tamari on the top side to help the wrap stay rolled up.
Put your desired amount of spinach on top of the nut butter and tamari layers, followed by half of each of the remaining ingredients. Be sure not to pile on too much or the wrap could break when you roll it up.
Roll the nori up away from you until sealed. Cut into three. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Wrap in plastic wrap, seal in an airtight lunchbox and refrigerate until ready to eat.
I hope you enjoy these totally totable work day recipes. Make them and let me know what you think in the comments section below.