Lunch has always been the meal I find the most difficult. Like many people, in the middle of the day I am usually caught up in work and have other things on my mind than preparing a gourmet lunch for myself. Often I find myself making a sandwich with whatever is in the fridge, or opening a tin of sardines and eating them directly from the tin while I sit at my desk. This usually results in an oily, fishy, smelly keyboard which is revolting I know. So this week’s mission is to make the effort every day, to eat a healthy, nutritious lunch that can be made in a minimial amount of time and with little or no cooking skill at all.
So far, so good:
Monday: Roast chicken in a wholemeal wrap with sliced red peppers and spinach, with homemade hummous spread on the wrap as an alternative to margarine.
Tuesday: Homemade butternut squash and carrot soup ( Method: 1 x butternut squash peeled and diced, 2 large carrots peeled and diced, 2 onions peeled and chopped, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 3 sticks of celery chopped and any other veg laying around. Boil them all together in 1.5 litres of vegetable or chicken stock until tender and season as per your preference. Finish by blending to the consistency you prefer. I make a huge batch and then freeze it in containers and then microwave it as and when).
Wednesday: Grilled Portobello mushroom with spinach and egg. See photos below
Thursday: This will be: Tuna salad with lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, cucumber and olives if I have them in.
Friday: I am in and out of meetings, so this will be something portable in the shape of a wrap with either tuna or chicken and veg.
As we all know, it is important to eat well and healthily throughout the day and lunch is not something we should be missing out on. Making sure we take the time to eat a balanced, nutritious lunch means that we are a lot less likely to have those mid-afternoon hunger pangs and cave in to the office biscuits. Lunch is also another chance for us to get in our daily intake of all the good stuff our bodies need to function optimally: vitamins and minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fibre and yes fat is in there too. There is also no escaping the fact that if you eat a takeout, carb heavy lunch (think Subway sandwiches with extra cheese and a side of crisps) you feel a lot more rubbish than when you have a healthier, lighter option (think a lovely seafood salad or fresh chicken and salad wrap); plus you get to enjoy the smug feeling of knowing you have eaten a lot better than most of your colleagues.
I know I am lucky in that I work mainly from home so I have a fully equipped kitchen in which to prepare my lunch, but it does not have to be a complex affair to be healthy. The receipe below does require a grill, so may not be an option for during the week, but it would make an awesome brunch too. There are also many healthy options that you can prepare yourself with minimal fuss and ingredients and take in to the office and I have mentioned some of them above. It is also something you can easily Google for ideas. You don’t need to use the precise ingredients, but I find the internet is great for inspiration. I find BBC Good Food recipes a good place to start as you can filter by ingredient and can see how other people have got on making it: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-lunch
So here it is, today’s lunch:
- 1 large Portobello mushroom (if they come in a pack like mine did you can add the other mushrooms to soup, or have them for breakfast or sliced thinly on a salad….)
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- 1 egg
- Salt & pepper for seasoning if you want it
- A sprinkling of parmesan if desired
- A slug of olive oil
- Take the stalk out of the mushroom, drizzle with olive oil and then grill on both sides until cooked. My grill only has one setting and it took about 8 minutes in total, but keep your eye on it!
- Boil an egg. I do 6 minutes for a soft, runny yolk. You could scramble it if you prefer….
- Wilt the spinach. I steamed mine over the pan that the egg was in.
- Assemble! Mushroom, followed by spinach on top of it, followed by the egg.
- Season with salt and pepper if desired
- Sprinkle parmesan over for a tasty treat.
Approximate preparation and cooking time, 15 minutes.
Voila! Lunch is served.