It’s lunchtime again, and you’re really not interested in food. That same old boring slim cuisine thing in the break room freezer is hardly enticing enough to get you up from your desk. You’re feeling bored, deprived and just tired of the same old thing, but your routine stays put regardless.
What if instead of just grabbing a cup of soup or another PBJ, your lunch became a mid-day reward, something that reenergized you for the afternoon?
Consider upgrading your lunch hour into something that you look forward to in your hectic, overscheduled day. With just a little prep the night before, these lunches are easy to take on your commute to the office.
First, watch this free video to learn the quick tip that changed my diet forever:
Here are some tasty and healthy recipes for you to try:
Corn and Quinoa Salad
There is plenty of protein to keep you alert and full in this south-of-the-border salad. A bit of heat livens up the quinoa, while avocado provides those good fats our brains need to function. Scoop it up with no-salt-added tortilla chips for extra crunch, keeping in mind that a serving of 10 is about 150 calories. I use blue corn chips that are unsalted to reduce sodium intake. They are yummy…
* 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
* 1 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn
* 1 cup cooked chicken breast, sliced
* 3 scallions (green onions), sliced
* 1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
* 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
* 1 medium stalk romaine lettuce, washed and torn
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 avocado, sliced
* 1/2 lime, wedged
* 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
* 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
* 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. chili powder
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, and stir in the quinoa with a pinch of salt. Simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and place corn kernels on top of quinoa. Let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir corn into quinoa, and then spread out on a baking sheet to cool for about 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients; set aside.
- Place cooled quinoa and corn, chicken, scallions, jalapeno and cilantro in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup dressing and salt to taste. Mix until well combined.
- Arrange romaine leaves in a deep covered salad container, and mound quinoa mixture in the center. Add tomato, avocado and lime wedges around quinoa. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over salad.
Ham and Cranberry Wrap
No one can resist the gourmet feel in this tangy, smoky wrap. The crunch of the apple and zing of the dressing highlight the rich flavors of the ham and cheese. Leave mixed greens on the side as you warm the wrap in a toaster oven for extra oh-so-goodness. This also tastes great with baked chicken or turkey.
* 2 large spinach tortillas (look for lowest sodium variety)
* 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
* 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
* 5 oz smoked ham, thinly sliced
* 1 oz. smoked gouda or swiss cheese, sliced
* 1/3 of a medium apple, thinly sliced
* 1/3 cup mixed greens
* 1 tsp. prepared honey Dijon dressing
- Assemble ingredients in order listed, keeping the apple and cheese in a long row in the center of tortilla.
- Fold bottom half of tortilla over stack of cheese and apples, and roll over once.
- Tuck sides of tortilla toward center, and continue to roll.
- Cut in half, and pack in an airtight to-go container.
Teriyaki Tofu with Noodles
Elevate tofu from healthy to hearty with this teriyaki dish, featuring crunchy stir-fried veggies as an added bonus. After just one bite, the Asian buffet and its promises of MSG will never tempt you again.
* 8 oz. package whole wheat Soba noodles
* 6 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
* 1 small onion, sliced
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
* 1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
* 1/2 cup scallions (green onions), sliced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
* 1/4 cup water
* 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar* 1/2 tsp. each: sesame oil and vegetable oil
* 1/4 cup light brown sugar
* 2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/2 tsp. red chili flake (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C) degrees.
- Prepare soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
- Wrap block of tofu in a few layers of paper towel and place on a cookie sheet. Top with a cutting board, and weigh down with canned goods. Drain for 5-10 minutes and then unwrap.
- Slice tofu into bite-sized cubes.
- In a medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Mix thoroughly, making sure sugar is fully dissolved.
- Add tofu to marinade, and mix thoroughly. Let stand for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove tofu from marinade; reserve remaining liquid.
- Bake tofu at 375F (190C) degrees for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
- Saute onion in olive oil until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add carrots, and cook until tender. Add cabbage, garlic and remaining marinade and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Toss with noodles and cooked tofu. Pack in reusable to-go containers along with an extra pair of chopsticks from last time you ordered take out.
These recipes are easy to prepare the night before, and they travel well. Add a cloth napkin and reusable bamboo utensils to your lunch bag for eco bonus points.
But, honestly, some days we all can’t make it to lunchtime without feeling a bit peckish. In a few days we’ll take a look at healthy office snacks.
Before you go, check out more great ideas from The Fat Loss Factor.
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