After the Christmas cookie and cake galore I felt the need to return to refreshing, clean, healthy eating. I believe some of you may be trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions including healthy diet, so this healthy lunchbox idea may come useful!
If you’re trying to follow a healthy eating plan, meal prepping and planning should become your best friends. If you ever find yourself unprepared, with close to no time, no healthy food at hand and a rumbling stomach – you’re more than likely to end up devouring chocolate bars from the nearest vending machine. That’s why preparing your food in advance should become part of your daily routine. 30 minutes sacrificed in the evening today can guarantee a stress- and guilt-free tomorrow. Well, at least as far as food goes.
I don’t eat breakfast at home. I down a giant mug of coffee the moment I get out of bed, but that’s it. I eat my breakfast at work, right after I clock in (no, I’m not a terrible employee, that’s where part of my lunch break goes – no one said I had to use up the whole lunch break for lunch!). So, this post includes breakfast, snacks and lunch you can eat at the office.
Quick breakfast porridge
I usually start the day at work with porridge from this recipe (5 minute no-cook version) – this time with raspberries, chia seeds and desiccated coconut.
The yoghurt I use – Greek or Icelandic type – is high in protein and fat-free. That’s not because fat is bad – it’s not! But there are better sources of it than dairy. Like, for example, seeds or coconut. That’s why I always have a selection of nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, chia and coconut in my desk drawer – to fill my breakfast with good sources of fat.
Snacks – seasonal fruits (apple sprinkled with cinnamon, tangerine), dark chocolate
Fruits make great snacks, especially in the first half of the day (some nutritionists may recommend against eating them in the afternoon/evening due to their high sugar contents). They’re loaded with vitamins and fibre and should be part of every balanced diet. Try to mainly choose seasonal fruits to keep your healthy diet on a budget!
Dark chocolate, full of fibre, iron and magnesium, is actually pretty healthy too! Eating a whole bar in one sitting certainly exceeds the recommended amount, but a little piece of it won’t hurt you – even when you’re on a diet! Just remember that this only applies to dark chocolate. I’m afraid that sweet milk chocolate bars filled with caramel, as delicious as they are, don’t count as healthy.
Quinoa with split red lentils, hard-boiled egg and steam cooked vegs
A mixture of quinoa and red split lentils (about 1/3 cup before cooking), steam cooked vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, baby carrots. 1 hard-boiled egg.
Both quinoa and lentils are sources or carbs which also bring a fair amount of protein and vitamins.
In winter, I tend to use a lot of frozen vegetables, for a simple reason – there aren’t that many seasonal ones available. Frozen vegetables are actually just as good as fresh, if not better – they’re usually frozen shortly after they’re picked, whereas fresh vegs have some time to age and lose some of their precious nutrients before they make it to your table.
The egg serves as another source of protein.
In these boxes, I generally like to combine vegetables with grains (complex carbs) and protein (usually eggs or chicken). I sometimes add a tablespoon of healthy dressing (Greek yoghurt with herbs and spices).
A slice of my mum’s sourdough rye bread, tomato and cucumber
Last, but not least, I have a little piece of my mum’s sourdough rye bread, a small tomato and a few pieces of cucumber. It’s just another little snack and a way to include more vegetables – this time fresh – in my menu. The bread is so rich in texture and flavour, eating it alone and not as a sandwich base absolutely makes sense!
It may seem like a completely random mixture of foods, but since I usually eat numerous small meals in a day, it works for me! Preparing my office food the day before has now become a habit of mine. And it doesn’t take much time at all! I usually do it while making supper, multitasking around different dishes. I never end up starving at work and I make sure that I don’t need to visit the vending machines, full of sugary snacks and nothing else. Meal prepping is healthier, more efficient and also cheaper!
And if I have more time and decide to eat breakfast at home…