So much for grabbing a bite with friends.
A go-to soup for when the family is feeling under the weather is a must-have, and if you’re sick of the standard chicken style, then you must try this one.
Made from healthy spinach and lentil seeds, the soup can be customised to included some crunchy vegetables and healthy sweet potato.
2 cups lentils
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 red onion (diced)
2 spinach leaves
1 tomato (chopped)
2 celery sticks (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 potato (chopped)
2 cups baby spinach
Parsley and thyme
Salt and pepper
2 cups vegetable stock
- Heat a pan with the olive oil, then saute the onions, celery and diced carrots for 10 minutes – mix well.
- Add a splash of white wine into the pan for extra body and flavour. Then add the potatoes, lentils and vegetable stock and keep mixing.
- For some extra flavour, now add the parsley and thyme. Allow the entire mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes before removing the herbs.
- Add some more mashed potato into the mixture to make it thick and creamy, or just wait for it to reduce. Splash some red wine vinegar, then mix well before serving.
Image via Pinch of Yum
Rather than relying on takeaway as your number one option for lunch, why not prepare a delicious tuna and couscous salad the night before?
This recipe is packed with protein, flavour, and will keep your stomach full for hours to come. Add some of your favourite seasonal vegetables into the mix for a delicious meal, which is also perfect for dinner.
1/2 can sweet corn (drained)
1 tin tuna
1 red pepper (diced)
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lime
- Add the couscous into a pan of boiling water, and leave for 5 minutes. Drain out the excess water and transfer the couscous into a bowl.
- Add the red pepper, sweet corn and tuna into the mixture.
- Whisk the honey, lime and olive oil then pour it over the entire dish.
Image via Taste
Variety, really, is the spice of life. So, instead of packing yet another sandwich or last night’s left overs; why not try some alternatives. It won’t be as time consuming as you may believe, either. In just a few minutes you’ll have a tasty lunch, which will have your colleagues salivating!
Essentially, you’ll need to invest in departmentalized, lunch containers. They have some great designs with high functionality. Plastic wrap is for 1980s school yard lunches, which just isn’t going to cut it! These containers can give you inspiration to think outside the square and get creative. Plus, they are excellent for chopped foods which you can eat on the run. Not everyone can have an uninterrupted lunch break, so something you can pick up and eat while you work can be the difference between having lunch and going hungry.
If this sounds like you, avoid bulky foods like sandwiches or thick, awkward wraps. You need quick and easy, bite-sized foods like grapes, cubed cheese or fruits, rolled sandwich meat, olives, etc. That will be far more satisfying than going hungry and making up for it during the evening meal or hitting that 3.30 mark and pulling out the chocolate bar.
If you do have the opportunity to have a more relaxed lunch break, the sky’s the limit! When you go shopping, think of tasty treats that you can put in your new containers. You might want a different type of cheese or a yummy looking bread roll, covered with some type of topping. The choice is endless. For colder days, you might want to choose something you can warm up. Soups are excellent because they are usually vegetable based, which will add to the 5 serves you should be eating each day. Remember to buy containers for various food options. If you can’t pack a soup, you won’t have the option.
For the warmer days, go with a salad. There is something very refreshing about eating salad on warm days. There are so many varieties, that you could literally choose a different selection, each day of the week. You can either choose to make your own or buy a ready made one. Either way, it will still be cheaper and healthier than scrambling to buy your lunch from a busy, overpriced, strategically placed vendor.
At first you may be a little timid about the types of things you will put in your containers but, after time, you will get much more creative. SHESAID has some great lunch recipes, which freeze well and will fit in your containers. Maybe have a bit of a cook up and prepare foods for the week, or even a month, in advance. Your lunches will become famous around your office and the only thing you’ll need to do is keep it safe from the boys in accounting!
My buba (grandmother in Ukrainian) brought this recipe with her after fleeing her homeland after WWII. At 90 plus, she’s still well known for her soup, that eats more like a meal. Loaded with veggies and jam-packed with goodness, it actually tastes best on subsequent days. Most people make a big batch so they can freeze it, feed the entire mob around or have a ready-made meal for several days.
5 litres of water
2 lamb shanks
2 diced onions
4-5 cloves of crushed garlic
2 diced beets or a can of sliced beetroot
2 diced carrots
3 sticks of diced celery
4 diced potatoes
3 diced tomatoes or a large can of diced tomatoes
1/4 finely grated cabbage
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup fresh copped parsley
1/4 cup fresh dill
3 bay leaves
black pepper and sea salt to taste
A sprig of dill for garnish
- Place lamb shanks and chopped onion in an extra large 10+ litre saucepan.
- Add water, onion, garlic, bay leaves, vinegar, sugar, black pepper and sea salt to saucepan.
- Cook on high until water boils, then lower to a simmer and cook until meat separates from the bone. This may take several hours. Remove the bones.
- Add remaining vegetables, except dill and parsley. Stir vegetable through mixture and cook for another 30-45 minutes. (If using canned beetroot and tomatoes, add the entire can, including the juice).
- Add dill and parsley and cook for a remaining 15 minutes.
- Serve with a sprig of dill and dollop of sour cream.
Serve with warm bread for the ultimate traditional Ukrainian experience.
Image via air.news.gr/cov/-/NEO-KOSTAS/Mundial-Faghta/Russia-Borscht.jpg
By Kim Chartres
Do you skip lunch from time to time? You’re not alone – one in three Australians are not eating lunch every day, according to the Subway Aussie Lunchtime Habits Poll. Accredited Practicing Dietician Kate Di Prima says by making subtle changes in your diet at lunchtime, you can create positive habits for your health and wellbeing.
Kate shares five easy ways to make lunch count:
1. If you can’t make it out of the office
Have a desk drawer or locker stash of food. Store nuts, seeds, canned soups, microwaveable rice cups, canned tuna and salmon and individual tubs of chopped fruit in juice. That way, if you can’t make it out of the office you can still eat something nutritious.
2. Lunchtime is perfect for leftovers
If you do take a packed lunch, it’s easy to re-invent your dinner from the night before. Use leftover meat like chicken, beef or lamb, slice and place into rolls, pita or wraps and add salad. Or cut the meat into strips and add a hard-boiled egg, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few celery sticks. If you can cook an extra steak or chicken fillet for dinner, it can be easily transformed for lunch the next day by adding some coleslaw or rice salad for a healthy midday meal.
3. Not all fast foods are created equal
If you’re buying lunch go for a wrap, some sushi or a sandwich with lean meat to keep control over kilojoules, and add as many fresh salad fillings as you can. A standard Subway Six-Inch Sub includes 84 grams, or over one cup of salad vegetables, including lettuce, capsicum, cucumber, onion and tomato, which provides over one serve of an adult’s daily “2&5”.
4. Get out – it’s good for your sanity
Do yourself a favour and don’t eat lunch at your desk. Take a break and eat lunch with a friend, or enjoy lunch outside. If your time is limited, eat a quick lunch and power walk around the block. Getting a little exercise will boost your energy and up your productivity for the afternoon.
5. If you do miss lunch
Don’t overindulge at dinner – it’s not a great time to be stacking up on kilojoules and big portions which can cause bloating and fullness which isn’t great before bed. Try and squeeze in a healthy snack before dinner, like some vegetable sticks and hummus or a couple of crackers with cheese – that way you won’t be tempted to go for inflated portions.
Share your favourite lunch ideas in the comments!