Want more energy to get you through the afternoons? Stuck on ideas for lunch? Always resorting to a sandwich or whatever you can grab from the fridge if you’re at home. Yoghurt and a piece of fruit for lunch isn’t going to give you much energy. A sandwich or wrap from the cafe is unlikely to get you through either.
Keep reading for 7 fresh ideas that will make preparing lunch easy and you’ll be the envy of your colleagues at work or your friends who are yawning their way through the afternoon and you’ll surprise yourself too!
1. Preparation saves time and creates brain space
It might take you a bit longer in the evening, but do some bulk (easy) cooking to get that lunch prepped the night before will save you time (and energy) in the long run. Think about how much brain space thinking about what to have for lunch takes up during your day. Not to mention standing in a queue wherever you choose to buy it.
2. Get yourself a funky lunch box that you can pack your lunch and snacks in
I don’t have a fridge at work so need my food to be kept cold by itself and have a funky container called a ‘Fridge to go’ that has a removable ice block in it’s own little separate pouch. Packing this the night before and keeping it in the fridge, keeps it cold enough (and I live in a hot climate).
3. Check your storage container supply
Something that you can put a salad in, something for bliss balls or nuts. One that will suit leftovers from the night before. You don’t need heaps.
4. Create a list of lunch ideas that you enjoy so when you are shopping you can grab what you need
It doesn’t have to be fancy. The easier the better – but it does have to be delicious! Sushi (easy to make at home); salad with egg and roast veg; salad with tofu and roast veg; sweet potato patties with vege sticks; dip (homous, cannelini bean, guacamole – the list is endless) and vege sticks with some roast veges too; left over stir fry with rice noodles…
5. Know that creating your own amazing lunches doesn’t happen overnight but that anyone can do it!
It’s all about creating new habits and as we all know that isn’t easy but we CAN do it. Before you sit down at night after dinner (if you make the time to sit) prep your lunch for the next day. You can roast veges, boil eggs, cook rice and keep your vege supply stocked on your days off.
Keep imagining how awesome having a nourishing lunch will make you feel and how much extra brain space you’ll have in the day, not having to think about what to have for lunch.
I have a friend who never made her own lunch. She worked full time and every day was a stress about what to eat. Sometimes she didn’t even bother ‘cos it was all too hard to make a decision and find the energy to leave work and get lunch. She got sick often and rarely had much energy. Finding courage to change habits, she now makes her own lunch and the health benefits have been amazing. There is now energy to exercise and she gets frequent comments about her awesome food in the lunch room!
6. Pack your lunch the night before and store your funky lunchbox full of nourishing goodness in the fridge, ready to grab and go in the morning
This is a challenge and the last thing you will feel like doing at the end of the day but it’s worse in the morning, trust me! Worse still in the hours leading up to lunch time when you don’t have lunch packed and have to ‘wing’ it, not to mention the cost incurred to buy lunch and the temptation for food that is not nourishing to sneak into your hands.
7. The ideas list – keep it simple
Ideally, you need a good balance of veges, carbs and protein to give you that energy boost and leave you feeling deliciously satisfied. What works for me is 1/2 my container filled with veges, 1/4 with carbs and 1/4 with protein. Ideally non-starchy veges and complex carbs (another blog post to come).
–roast some sweet potato and pumpkin (dice into 2 cm chunks, drizzle with olive oil chuck on some freshly ground pepper and a teaspoon or 2 of coriander or cumin seeds. Pop it in the oven (180 C) for 30-40 minutes and store in the fridge ready to add to your lunch.
–cook some brown rice and/or quinoa and pop it in snap lock bags in the freezer ready to go when you need it
-boil some eggs so you can add them to your lunch for your protein fix and they can be stored in the fridge
-have some tofu or tempeh handy as it’s great to have your protein from ‘non-meat’ sources, leaving meat for once a day with at least one ‘non-meat’ day a week (Aussie bloke or not)!
-keep veges in containers in the fridge (I love my tupperware ‘fridge smart’) that are easy to grab when you want to throw a quick, colourful salad together
My ‘go to’ lunch when I’m short on time is a quick salad, boiled egg and roast sweet potato
Spinach, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, celery, grated carrot (that’s the basics, anything else I can chuck in to add colour and yumminess is a bonus – grated beetroot (yes, raw), sprouts, snow peas, capsi, spring onion…) with a peeled boiled egg and some roast veges that have both been pre-prepared and are ready to go in the fridge. Drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) and a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of tamari (a fabulous alternative to soy sauce, available at your supermarket).
That’s it, it’s not as hard as you think. Reward yourself after ‘x’ number of homemade lunches – you deserve it!
I have packed my own lunch for as long as I can remember. Even if I’m going to a seminar or workshop where lunch is provided. I never know what will be served and if it will drain my energy making me sleepy in the afternoon session.
We only have one body and we can’t expect it to keep on going how we want it to without providing some awesome fuel for it.
What’s your lunch going to look like tomorrow?