Quick work lunch ideas

Monday – the usual routine – wake up a few hours earlier than you did yesterday, zombie through the morning on a couple of coffees, counting down the moments until you get to battle peak hour traffic or trains to get back home to gradually recover and hope that Tuesday is a bit better.   That’s usually how it goes for me if I’ve had no exercise and ate badly on the weekend.  I try to be healthy Monday – Thursday and then enjoy a bit more indulgent food from Friday night onwards.  Let’s face it, there’s not much to do to catch up with friends than to do it over lunch or dinner or drinks :)     So after a weekend of bad eating, how can you give your stomach a bit of a rest as well as your wallet?   Here are a few things I’ve been having which have made it quite pleasing to be healthy on Mondays to start the week.

1) Tuna sandwich. Sounds boring eh?  But when you use tuna in oil (no, not the cat food like springwater one), it’s quite tasty.   I’ve stirred through a tablespoon of pesto into the drained tuna and had it with mesclun and very thinly sliced cucumber.  Today, switched the pesto with a thick spread of avocado and very ripe roma tomatoes.  It helps if you use yummy bread too, like sourdough or toasted turkish.

2) Grilled vege and Moroccan chicken wraps – Your Moroccan spice mix is your best friend. Or any spice mix really.  Slice an eggplant, 2 zucchinis lengthways.  Turn on your oven to the highest setting and spray with oil.  Season and bake until soft.  While this is happening, oil your chicken tenderloins and sprinkle with the spice mix and grill.  Sure, your veges won’t have the pretty grill marks – but your chicken will – and really when it all goes down who cares you’re not having a dinner party after all!  I like to have this with rocket and use lebanese bread or a tortilla wrap.  If you like, ditch the rocket and put cheese in it and press in your work sandwich griller (after you clean it from last week’s dirty colleague that is!).

3) Vege patties – microwave a cup of sweet potato cubes until soft.  Mash in with a can of drained chickpeas, a handful of chopped coriander, a teaspoon of ground coriander and generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and an egg.  Shape into patties and put in your fridge to firm up.  Once firm, panfry in a few tablespoons of oil.   Have these with sweet chilli sauce and a side salad.

4) Noodle stir fry – heat a tablespoon of oil, add some julienned ginger and crushed garlic, and stir fry until fragrant.  Add julienned veges of choice (cabbage, red capsicum, carrot and zucchini hold well, as does baby corn) and cook through.  Add a packet of pre-cooked hokkien or udon noodles, as well as quarter cup of chicken stock, a splash of dark soy and a splash of oyster sauce to taste.  Keep tasting to make it saltier if you like, and add a tiny few drops of sesame oil.

5) My favourite freezer lunch that I make ahead is chickpea, harissa and tomato soup.  It’s SO easy.  One can of chickpeas, drained, one can of diced tomatoes, one chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 bunch of coriander.  Heat oil and saute some ground coriander, garlic and onion until soft and fragrant.  Add chickpeas and tomato and a cup of stock (or half a cup if you prefer runnier soups).  Simmer with a generous squeeze of harissa, and then get a blender and whiz half the soup.   Mix it back with the chunky soup to make a stew and stir in the coriander also.  This soup freezes SO well, with the added bonus that it doesn’t spill when you take it into work.

As for snacking – I try to stick to fruit and also drink water instead of vending machine cans.  It’s apparently meant to make your skin glow, not to mention save your teeth. And obviously, less juice as it’s better to eat whole fruit for more fibre.  The biscuit jar is a no no too!  I’ve made a banana bread (low fat one) and cut it into slices into the freezer.  Date loaf is good too and both provide a sweet treat at hand for your cravings.

Hmm this post has sounded more like a diet/nutrition one but anyway, I hope that you start your week fresh and healthy until you gradually slide into Friday’s chips and drinks hahaha.

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