I have gotten into the terrible habit of not packing lunch for work. Let’s blame winter for this as I had such a good routine going until the cold set in! But around 12 pm I start feeling hungry and by 1 pm I am grabbing anything I can find in my drawers – usually crackers, chips or anything else unhealthy. So I asked my dear friend Zurika for her favourite lunch ideas – I wanted something simple, nutritious and delicious, but also something convenient for work.
Zurika is a Marathoner, a phenomenal chef and a restaurant consultant. When talking about her cooking style, Zurika says, “I have found the best thing about food is to keep it simple, allow ingredients to speak for themselves” and when I first tasted her food, I told her “Your food comes straight from the heart”. Have a look at these fantastic lunch ideas! She focused on recipes that are nutritious, easy to make and pack for work, leave you feeling satisfied but are also light enough so you can enjoy an evening run without too much discomfort. She has also highlighted some alternatives and noted which ones are gluten free and vegan. Enjoy!
1 – Butterbean & Chorizo Stew
This is definitely one for those cold winter days where you want to feel satisfied but not stuffed or guilty. Butterbeans are rich in Protein, B vitamins, Iron and Fibre. They are also a healthy carbohydrate. Enjoy with some crusty bread to mop up all the lovely juices. Make sure to check for gluten in the chorizo it you are gluten intolerant.
2 – Sweet Potato, Butternut and Coconut Soup
I just love soup! I make large batches and freeze it in portions, great if you are on the go. This soup has a little chilli kick and sweetness from the sweet potato and butternut. The health benefits of chilli pepper include improving cognitive function, boosting immunity and maintaining healthy eyes. As for sweet potatoes, they are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, manganese, potassium, dietary fibre and are super delicious. For a more substantial meal have it with some low GI bread to ensure you keep going until dinner time. [Gluten Free; Vegan]
3 – Roast Vegetable & Quinoa Jar
Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein and one of the few plant based foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium and various beneficial antioxidants. Add in a selection of roast vegetables, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some olive oil and lunch is served. This is also a lovely way to use up left over veggies and is great for picnics!
4 – Lemon & Garlic Roast Salmon with Sweet Potato and Broccoli
Salmon is such a divine option for your lunch box. I simply roast it with a garlic, chilli, thyme and lemon butter. The slightly tangy, spicy flavours work so well with the crispy roasted sweet potato and the crunchy broccoli. Try basil pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes for variation. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, loaded with selenium and contains the antioxidant Astaxanthin. Broccoli on the other hand is a great source of Vitamins K and C and a good source of folic acid. When shopping for fish remember the following: STAR – Is it SUSTAINABLE? Will it be TASTY? Is it ACCESSIBLE ( readily available and affordable)? Do I have a good RECIPE for it? You can substitute salmon for farmed rainbow trout.
5 – Honey & Sesame Chicken with Wild Rice and Vegetables
This is one of my favourites to make; the sweet salty combination is something that makes me very happy!!! This is a filling meal, so if you are going to train after work this will be a great lunch time option to sustain you. Because of its high fibre content, wild rice keeps your digestion smooth and helps lower cholesterol. It is a good source of essential minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and folate, which gives you energy and nurtures your bones. For a gluten free version, use tamari and gluten free chicken stock or water.
Thank you so much Zurika for sharing these scrumptious lunch ideas and for getting me to try them out! They were extremely tasty, full of beautifully combined flavours and so satisfying without feeling too “heavy”. For more information about who she is, what she does and what inspires her, visit Zurika McKee Secret Chef and follow her on Facebook or on Instagram.