One of the hardest things about eating healthy is probably the times when we are not home. Faced with a million menu options, office kitchens, and celebratory occasions every other day, it’s no wonder our plans for healthy eating somehow always seem to derail. And believe it or not, even a few days a week of “not-the-best” choices could be the factor that is keeping you from the health and body you are striving for.
Therefore, based on popular request, we are going to get ourselves set up with a host of fabulous office work lunches that are both quick and easy, yet delicious and healthy. Because maintaining consistency is one of the best ways to stay on track with your health plan. We all know if we screw up early in the day, the rest is down hill. Because when you have no plan, the most enticing options always happen to be the most naughty.
So before we jump into the recipes and lunch ideas, we MUST talk about one thing… making your meals. Yes I know, the dreaded words… COOKING at home. I am sure you have heard it a million times, but let me make it a million and one, and hopefully this time it sticks. I don’t care if you have the healthiest lunch place next to your work and you are diligent about ordering, in the end, making food at home and then bringing your lunch is always going to be the best option. And while you might not believe me now, there will come a time when you are still feeling completely lethargic after lunch, or you are fed up over looking at those few extra pounds that will not come off, and only then may you start to question whether eating out is the culprit.
The problem is that both premade food and restaurant menu items have a million little hidden ingredients that make them NOT as healthy as they seem. Because lets face it, the bad for us stuff tastes so damn good, and there is no business in having a restaurant that does not makes tasty food. Therefore, little tricks such as adding extra oil, butter, msg, sugar and table salt, turn that supposed healthy menu item into something that will prevent you from reaching your health goals. Oh… and we cannot forget to mention the fact that we are so much more inclined to eat more when we didn’t cook it. I mean, we have to get our money’s worth right?
Therefore, the bottom line is that you are going to plan out your work week, make a few things in advance, and find the time and effort to bring your own lunch. And believe me, this makes all the difference because feeling and looking amazing IS actually worth the effort. And besides, you will see that even you have the power to make delicious food, even better than that of a restaurant.
The following are some great recipes from my favorite food blogs that can easily be put together. Please take note of the comments below the recipes. They offer some tips to look out for as well as ways to make it easier to put together.
Sweet Corn Ceviche by Sprouted Kitchen
* For this recipe, make sure to purchase ORGANIC corn. This is imperative because almost all conventional corn is Genetically Modified. This is a must.
Add this ceviche to salads, wraps (sprouted organic tortillas only) or eat it as a snack with crackers such as Mary’s Gone Crackers or other organic seed-based crackers.
Strawberry, Leek and Goat Cheese Quesadilla by Sprouted Kitchen
* This is a great recipe, but make sure you are getting organic, raw goat cheese (organic prevents consumption of hormones and antibiotics). Goat cheese is easier to digest than cow’s cheese, and typically is cleaner. But with that being said, if you don’t eat cheese like myself, you can always use a substitute such as a nut cheese.
Tortilla – for the tortilla, always choose organic sprouted grain tortillas. This way you are preventing exposure to genetically modified corn, pesticides, refined wheat, synthetic vitamins/minerals (which actually interfere with your vitamin/mineral balance leading to deficiencies), and other preservatives. In addition, sprouted grain or corn tortillas are easier to digest, reducing your chances of gluten-intolerance and weight gain, and have more bio-available nutrients. My favorite brands are Ezekial, Food for Life and Alvarado Street.
Quinoa Falafel with Tahini Sauce by Sprouted Kitchen
This is one of my favorite work recipes and in order to make it a bit more manageable, you can definitely buy canned garbanzo beans. Just make sure that you purchase them in a BPA-free can. BPA has been shown to interfere with hormone balance and lead to cancer, so definitely keep your eyes out if you are purchasing canned items. One great brand that uses BPA-free cans is Eden Organic.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad by Green Kitchen Stories
An excellent yet easy salad that will certainly be a hit in the office. To make it easier, simply buy packaged cut-up organic Brussels sprouts and kale. You can find this at Trader Joes. If you want to make it more filling, you can add organic tempeh, a nut cheese, beans, hummus or organic eggs.
Avocado Soup by Green Kitchen Stories
Talk about a no-brainer. This soup is unreal! Creamy avocados, mint and ginger… yumm!!! I typically have this with a small salad, some raw crackers or sprouted bread. Perfect for a lighter lunch when you are swamped with work.
Spinach and Kale Soup by Green Kitchen Stories
What is a list of recipes without one featuring Kale!!! While this recipe may take a bit more time, this is the perfect one to make on a Sunday night for dinner and then have leftovers for the beginning of the work week. Remember when we used to bring thermoses to school with hot soup? I propose we bring that back… just with a tastier, non-canned version.
Kale Market Salad by 101 Cookbooks
Ahhh yes…. one of my favorite kale salad recipes, topped with a decadent creamy, yet healthy dressing. Grab the pre-cut bag of kale and the 10-minute farro from Trader Joes, and have this prepared in 15 minutes. Done and done.
Spring Tabbouleh by 101 Cookbooks
This is a super simple, yet delicious recipe that can be used in many different ways. Add it to a sprouted tortilla for a lunch wrap, eat it with some dolmas and hummus for a Mediterranean feast or just it as is. Bulgur can be bought in bulk to save money and actually only takes about 10 minutes to cook, so it can be prepared quickly as well.
Honey Balsamic Bean Salad by 101 Cookbooks
Anything with honey and balsamic vinegar is right by me. Especially this salad since it actually gets better as the days go by… perfect criteria for a work lunch. Add some avocado and a cooked grain such as quinoa to beef this recipe up a bit. Other than that… divine!
Sweet Potato Hummus and Flax Crackers by My New Roots
This couldn’t be a happier marriage. Crunchy healthy crackers and sweet yet savory hummus. Eat this as a snack, as the main event or pack this up with a side of the avocado soup. Any way you decide will certainly be satisfying.
Parsley Root Fries and Roasted Tomato Ketchup by My New Roots
I am pretty sure this one sells itself… Put this together over the weekend and just relish in the looks of your co-workers as you pull this one out of your bag 🙂
Hemp Protein Granola Bars by My New Roots
Don’t be intimated by the list of ingredients, because as far as homemade bars go, these ROCK. Make a batch, store some in your drawer, and feel completely satisfied with yourself every time you pull one out to snack on. Rich in healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, these are perfect for the afternoon lull that inevitably hits each and every one of us.
Black Chickpea Wrap with Tarragon Yogurt by My New Roots
You can honestly through this one together in 10 minutes. Buy canned (BPA-free) lentils, whip up some tarragon yogurt and assemble. Ta-da!!! Your own fancy, healthy lunch wrap.
Massaged Kale with Grapes and Poppyseed Dressing by My New Roots
Peach Salsa Tostada by Love & Lemons
For this recipe, you don’t have to make the peach salsa yourself, you can always buy a premade one, but definitely check out the ingredients (no added sugars and preservatives please). Throw the ingredients into a few tupperwares and assemble it once you get to work. That way you can prevent it from getting soggy. Delicious!