For most people, keeping up with healthy habits and eating clean remains relatively easy when there is a possibility for lunching/dining home. At home, you can easily control what you have on your plate as long as you prepare the meals from scratch, choose carefully the ingredients, prefer fresh organic produce and always check the nutritional information from the package for products. However, daily problems can be faced during lunchtime, as most of us must work for a living or go to school or university. Work or university lunches very rarely include healthy options – even those salad buffets, marketed as “healthy alternatives” often include a large amount of unnecessary additives, fats and salt disguised in the form of marinades and dressings. I am not saying that you should always eat homemade, extra clean meals, but consuming these “institutional kitchen” foods for lunch five days a week can ruin your healthy habits pretty quickly even if you were able to compensate at dinner time. Therefore, I prefer bringing my own lunches to work and rather eat out in quality restaurants from time to time.
I normally prepare my work lunches the day before I intend to eat them. I know that some people cook all the lunches for the coming week at once, but since I don’t necessarily want to eat the same thing each day and I don’t go to office daily either, I have not adopted this habit. However, I try to utilize some dinner leftovers in my lunchboxes to save time. For example quinoa, grains and roasted veggies can be prepared in big batches and used as lunchbox building blocks for several days. In contrast, as leafy greens tend to turn smushy pretty quickly, I always add them only the day before.
Most often, I use a very simple formula for combining my easy #lunchbox: one nutritious grain, one leafy green, two veggies, and one source of protein + dressing + optional extras. Below, I will list down some of my favourite ingredients that go under the different elements in the formula – the method for building the #lunchbox will be simply to pick one ingredient from each category. I have my veggies either roasted or steamed and keep the amount of dressing moderate – a drizzle of oil with a splash of lemon or vinegar and a pinch of Himalayan salt is enough. The grains are cooked according to package instructions.
The perfect easy #lunchbox
What you will need:
- NUTRITIOUS GRAIN (amount – 1/2dl uncooked):
- LEAFY GREEN (amount – a large handful or two):
kale (when in season)
- VEGGIE 1 (amount – roughly the size of your palm):
- VEGGIE 2 (amount – roughly the size of your palm):
- PROTEIN (amount – 100-200 g):
beans (chickpeas, black beans, butter beans, green beans, edamame beans)
lentils (Beluga lentils, red lentils, green lentils)
extra virgin olive oil + apple cider vinegar + Himalayan salt
sesame oil + lemon juice + Himalayan salt
EXTRAS (you can pick more than one):
small amount of sauerkraut, olives (watch out for the salt!)
small amount of seeds, nuts, sprouts, avocado
unlimited amount of crunchy cabbage, fresh herbs, watercress
How to do it?
Pick one ingredient from each category, arrange them in your #lunchbox, choose your dressing and add your favourite extras! Enjoy!