Hi friends! Wow, it feels like a long time since I’ve posted. A few busy weeks at work and the sudden decision to sell our home and move out made blogging kiiiiind of a low priority. Real life and fatigue just got in the way of my blogging mojo for a while, but things are settling down for us, boxes are unpacked, and dinner is expanding beyond soft boiled eggs, turkey smokies, and cereal (not all together!). It’s only fitting that I bounce back with a post about how I power through the day – with the help of a good lunch!
Mr. ST and I have a lot of food habits in common but lunch is not one of them. He can go almost the entire day without eating – a small nosh midday maybe – and then eat after work just to keep hunger at bay until I come home later and make dinner. I, however, will crash and burn come 3 p.m. if I haven’t had a nutritious and satisfying lunch.
Having watched my co-workers lament the expense of takeout lunch and the challenge of preparing, packing and remembering to bring a brown bag, I thought it time to give you a peek into my lunch box. Plus, whether it’s for health or financial belt-tightening, brown bagging always seems to be an “in” resolution. And if you already gave up on those resolutions, maybe I can help you get back on.
Before I continue this attempt at inspirational writing, I would just like to give voice to my inner cynic and say I abhor the standard discourse of the Rachel Ray fast and easy meal prep devotees. They always focus on family dining and DINNER as the most important and hardest meal of the day to plan. But the rest of the world—single, coupled, pet-owning, workaholic, fitness freaks, lazybones—we all have busy days, or at least ones when we DO NOT feel like cooking, let alone contemplate what we should eat tomorrow! Whatever your lifestyle, we can all benefit from healthy, convenience fridge-hacking skills. ‘Scuse me while I get off my soapbox now.
Below I’ve compiled a list of my favourite power lunches. Well-rounded meals, easy to pack and go, that keep me full but also give me energy to get through the rest of my day (which usually includes an hour or an hour and a half of working out).
As if bloggers need any more disclaimers, I have one. I love spending an entire afternoon in food prep zen. Something about the grey light of sun-filtered rain clouds coming through the skylight makes all the veggie chopping, granola bar baking, and soup simmering feel positively meditative. Other times, the only thing better after a long run, a hot shower and some stretching in front the fire is a big sandwich, my slipper socks and a marathon of Sons of Anarchy (this is the honest truth and not deliberate precocious alliteration—I swear.) To that end, my five-minute power lunches are sometimes put together on the fly, sometimes prepped in advance, and usually combined with a portable quick snack to make a complete meal.
Power lunches, ST-style:
Granola parfait: Greek yogurt, homemade granola, leftover pantry dried fruit, diced seasonal fruit and sliced banana with sprinkled nuts and/or coconut).
Chickpeak goji berry salad with feta: I usually add more veggies to this, reduce the almonds a bit and use dried cranberries instead of goji berries.
Crisper-cleaner Bean salad: As a variation on the above salad, take whatever beans you’ve got left in your pantry, chop up some of the raw veggies left in your pantry (I usually have knobs of cucumber, parts of bell peppers and a half a red onion hanging out in there). Make it different by switching up your dressings!
Ants on a log: Celery sticks plus peanut butter, dotted with golden raisins or dried cranberries. Some of the snacks from childhood are more genius than I knew at the time!
Rye crackers with roasted cherry tomatoes, sliced avocados and hummus: Try The Healthy Everythingtarian’s Spicy Buffalo Hummus or Eat Live Run’s Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus.
Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup (currently I am in love with Kashi Pita Crisp crackers alongside my soups. They have the texture of a pita chip and the flavour of a Wheat Thin!).
Just to state the obvious, I also rely on dinner leftovers some days too! The following recipes always net a few lunch portions and they re-heat well. I usually pack them with a piece of fruit or two and a grown up granola bar.
For more lunch inspiration, check out the very awesome and hilarious Holly the Everythingtarian who did a clever little post of her favourite 5-minute meal and then hauled in a bunch of awesome reader suggestions in her comments. If nothing there turns your crank, try Ann’s post on packing lunch in five minutes flat.