Yeah, I had thought about using an image of a salad for this post.
I mean that would make sense, right? Healthy lunch automatically translates into a bowl of lettuce n’ stuff.
Well, to be honest, I DO love me a good salad and truth be told, salads actually can be prepared with a lot of zest and creativity.
In fact, I’ll even share an idea for a pretty fantastic salad somewhere in the post…but for the image, I decided to go in another direction.
But First – Let’s Tackle the Healthy Food Mentality, Shall We?
Before we go on and start getting into the different available options, I say there’s just a small bit of work to do first.
This ‘work’ consists of making sure that your head, heart and gut are in the right place in order to keep your efforts consistent.
See, I know what it’s like to get all gung ho about jumping on the healthy living bandwagon, and taking action on my new found passion.
But what always ended up happening (before I chose awareness of course), was that my old ways would creep back in just a short while later on and before I knew it, I was back to ordering all sorts of nasty stuff at work as though I had never made any changes to begin with.
Sound familiar? It might – because I know for a fact that this is what many others out there do as well.
So while planning out your new lunchtime routine, I suggest taking a moment and writing down…
- why you want to do this
- what’s in it for you
- what obstacles you think may get in your way (and/or have in the past)
- how you plan on handling them if (I really mean WHEN) they do
If you can gain some clarity about how you make your new behavior something that can be realistic for you with the new tools (such as recipes), the likelihood that you’ll stick with this for the long haul will be much greater.
Healthy Recipes for Work
Recipe #1 – Quinoa Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers
Now the image shows sliced bell peppers stuffed with rice, shrimp and veggies. This is an option as well – as the sky is the limit.
The reason I mentioned quinoa instead is because it really is a wonderful food that fills you up nicely with goodies like fiber and protein.
The idea is to prepare this in advance, but it’s easy.
Just make the rice/quinoa and while that’s cooking, slice up some bell peppers (preferably organic since they’re on the dirty dozen list), drizzle some garlic and olive oil on them and roast them for about 5-7 minutes at about 350 degrees.
Take them out, stuff them and store them until ready to eat.
They can be enjoyed either hot or cold, so if there is no way to heat it up at work, no worries.
A friend of mine had invited me over for lunch and made this with some butternut squash soup. It was so fantastic – I’ve been hooked ever since!
Recipe #2 – Salad
Ok, I meant it when I said salad would make it into the list.
But the thing is, you can be so creative with salads.
I mean, you get to add in any and all veggies you like while including fun foods like nuts or seeds (according to serving size of course), hard boiled eggs, lean proteins, beans and even raisins.
As far as dressing goes, I would stick with a balsamic or dijon mustard vinegarette. I make my own using a tbsp of olive oil, spicy brown mustard, balsamic vinegar and spices like garlic and onion powder with some pepper and other various seasonings free of msg (monosodium glutamate).
In fact, here’s a recipe from the Food Matters site.
I would suggest getting as creative as you want…being mindful of course. While it’s fine to add other ingredients like croutons or Craisins, just keep in mind that if you aren’t careful, you can create a salad fattening enough to make a cheeseburger look like a healthy option.
I would also refrain from adding things like fatty meats or dressings such as bacon and ranch dressing. I know this may not be what you want to hear, but they don’t exactly represent clean and nutrient dense foods.
Recipe #3 – Pasta or Rice With Steamed Veggies
Now I know that pasta has gotten a bad rap for quite a while now, but the truth is that pasta can be ok if used properly.
In fact, if you’re following a gluten free meal plan, there are pastas made without this ingredient.
The idea is to make a nice batch in advance and have all of your favorite vegetables steamed up and ready to be added. This way, you can quickly have it ready to take with you as you leave for the day.
You can make your own sauce or dressing using olive, peanut or coconut oils and complementing spices. One of my favorites is combining olive oil, garlic, sauteed onions and mushrooms along with some lemon juice and spices for a refreshing lemon garlic flavor.
Do Most of the Work One or Two Days Out of the Week
You don’t want to leave it till the last minute to prepare these things…as this is an excellent way to build resentment toward the process.
The best thing to do is to clean and prepare your veggies in advance and have your pastas, rice or quinoa already cooked.
Then it’s simply a matter of mixing all said ingredients together and having it all completed in about five minutes or so.
The path of least resistance will be a friend to you, as it’s been a friend to me.
Having my foods prepared in advance was the reason I was able to stick with my new habits when I began implementing the advice dispensed in this article…so I do speak from personal experience.
Be creative, be enthusiastic and have fun with this. Healthy and nutritious foods can be a source of pleasure – as long as this is believed to be true.
Which it is.
What healthy lunches have you tried and loved? Have you made your new habits permanent? Please tell us below.