Lunch at the office doesn’t have to be boring or unhealthy. With minimal prep work, you can pack and bring from home a lunch that your coworkers will envy. You may want to pack some extra for sharing.
Salad in a Jar
The salad-in-a-jar phenomenon is especially popular with office workers looking to make a portable healthy lunch. Here are a few tips on preparing your own. Add your ingredients in layers, going from wet to dry. Begin by adding your dressing to the empty jar, and then wet vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, cucumbers, and mangos. Next come the hard vegetables like carrots and zucchini, and last comes the dry stuff like nuts and seeds, proteins, and leafy greens. When you’re ready to eat, just shake up the jar and enjoy.
Breakfast for Lunch
Breakfast is good anytime, so why not for lunch? Homemade breakfast burritos, made in advance and frozen, make excellent convenient lunches. Scramble some eggs with cheese, sautéed peppers and onions, and wrap in a flour tortilla. If you have a microwave and a toaster available at work, you can make poached eggs on toast. To make the eggs, add a half cup of water to the bottom of a mug and delicately break an egg into the cup. Cover the mug or bowl with a plate and microwave on high for one minute. The white should be set and the yolk still runny, perfect to serve on top of your toast.
Filling and nutritious, a bean-based salad is something you can make a large batch of on the weekend and eat for lunch all week long. Try a Mexican theme with black beans, cucumbers, avocado, diced peppers, onions, and some salty cotija cheese. Or go with Italian flavors in a traditional five-bean salad starring garbanzos, kidney beans, wax beans, green beans, and lima beans dressed with champagne vinaigrette. Or do an arugula and green bean salad with some nuts for added protein and crunch, served with a nice Caesar dressing.
Flatbread pizza is another lunch you can prepare at work as long as you have a toaster oven. Bring to work a whole wheat flatbread of your choice like naan or pita, and whatever toppings you want on your pizza. Bring a sauce, a cheese, and some meats, veggies, and fruits. Simply top your pizzas as you like and pop them in the toaster oven for a few minutes so the cheese melts. You can mix and match your toppings, and if you bring extra you can share with your coworkers, a good way to make friends.
Another bean-based meal, the humble hummus sandwich has been satisfying hungry bellies for centuries. Start with some good whole-wheat bread and smear each piece with vegan mayonnaise from Hampton Creek to keep your bread from getting soggy. Layer on your favorite crunchy vegetables, being sure to include some pickles for salt and tang. Finish with a good sized smear of hummus on the second piece of bread, and you are ready to eat. Prepare this sandwich on the morning you plan to eat it, or even better is to assemble it at work to keep the bread from getting soggy.
Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
Sweet potatoes and quinoa are two superfoods that go great together. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins and carotenoids, and quinoa contains lots of protein and fiber. To prepare a healthy grain salad, begin by preparing your quinoa according to the package directions, being sure to use broth instead of water. Chop and roast some sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil and chop some nice tart apples for added crunch. Just before serving, mix together the sweet potatoes, apples, and quinoa and toss with apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve alone or on a bed of fresh greens.
Soup and Sandwich
This classic is versatile as anything can be, and is a good formula for allowing you to use up dinner leftovers. Pour a cup of soup into your thermos and tuck some dinner leftovers into a pita or between a few slices of your favorite bread, and you are ready for lunch. To keep things interesting, try keeping a few condiments at work to jazz up your sandwiches. Think mayonnaise and mustard, but also sriracha, guacamole, and chipotle sauce.
Use these seven ideas to make lunch at the office exciting again. While you’re at it, try eating lunch with a coworker instead of alone at your desk. You’ll decrease stress levels, build new friendships, and get more ideas for tasty lunches.