Haven’t we had the best weather the last few days? I hope you got out on Sunday and spent some quality time with your Mammy! Thanks to my own Mammy I was sent off to school with a ham sandwich, a mandarin orange and some animal biscuits every day. To most Irish people the thoughts of a packed lunch for work can bring you out in the cold sweats. But fear not; lunches have evolved into cool things and it’s now very chic to “tote” your lunch with you to work!
There is a tonne of benefits to bringing your lunch to work that go beyond saving you some money. It’s a great way to control your portions meaning that option to go large or grab a soft drink with your roll isn’t going to spoil your good intentions. By making your own lunch you can also control the calorie content in your midday meal. Avoiding foods like chips, processed meat, cheese and sauces also means you are consuming less sugar and salt. The last benefit of making your own lunch is the endless options. Leftovers are made for tupperware but also consider salads and tapas style lunches.
Below are some suggestions to pimp your lunchbox and help you be the envy of the office:
Salad + protein and avocado
This is my go to lunch! A base of nutritious leaves, like spinach and rocket, or your own favourite lettuce. Add to this a source of protein, for example two boiled eggs, tin of tuna or some chicken. Chuck in some chopped peppers, onion, slices of avocado, beetroot or sweetcorn. To turn your plain salad into a show stopper, a good dressing is essential. I recommend making your own and don’t be afraid to get adventurous!
Stir-fry and quinoa
Our superfood from last week, quinoa, makes an appearance with stir fried vegetables and egg for a healthy twist on the traditional takeaway option. Most supermarkets sell pre-chopped peppers, I add these to ½ a cup of cooked quinoa with some spices in the wok. Beat and egg in a bowl and add to the mix, this literally takes 5 minutes to make and is nutritious and filling.
This is a great option and again don’t be afraid to experiment with flavours! By adding spices or interesting ingredients, soups can become nourishing belly hugs to warm you from the inside on miserable days. The Happy Pear have a very easy recipe for Thai coconut, sweet potato and lemongrass soup. The coconut adds a lovely depth of flavour to the sweet potato and with the fragrant lemongrass you could believe you were in Bangkok instead of at your desk.
The chocolate alternative
For healthy alternatives to chocolate bars or processed sugar at 3pm, I prefer to pack snacks like fruit, vegetables and hummus, roasted pumpkin seeds or chickpeas, yogurt and berries or homemade bars. These suggestions pack a nutritional punch and will keep you full until dinner time!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and next week we’ll be looking at some healthy Easter egg options, yum!
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