Hey guys! So in my first post of the health and fitness reboot (are you with me?) I wanted to share with you what has previously been a major downfall for me when it comes to eating healthy – lunchtimes at work.
For years I have always wanted to be disciplined about taking my lunch, but other than the odd leftovers I have just never had the time to get organised, and have always been stuck with the 11am ‘What shall I have for lunch’ conundrum. This, inevitably meant that I not only ate badly, but I spent an absolute tonne of money on the privilege. But a little while ago friends of mine launched a cool new lunchbox called Prepd, and so since the beginning of the year when I’ve been in the studio I’ve been experimenting with an amazing new concept… packing myself heathy lunches! *self high five*
My Approach – The Fresh Lunchbox
You may recognise Prepd because it went pretty much viral on Kickstarter last year – it’s an intuitively designed lunch box, with a range of accessories and recipes and shopping app with recipes so you’re inspired to actually be healthy. The online response to the concept is a sign that I’m not the only person who struggles in the lunch planning department!
In the last few months I’ve been using a few of the recipes and also creating my own. But, if I’m completely honest, carving out time to cook in advance can sometimes be tricky, and so if I’m busy my approach is to instead focus on stocking the fridge with fresh produce so I can easily create fresh salad boxes everyday, without any need for cooking! Don’t get me wrong I love a Sunday cooking prep when I’m not too busy (coconut dahl and cauliflower rice pilaf are two fave recipes), but if, on the other hand, I’m time poor, I’ve finally worked out it doesn’t mean you have to eat badly. If I don’t have much time for cooking prep, I instead devote the time I have on Sundays to grocery shopping, filling the fridge with healthy produce so that I can easily throw together a salad in the morning without too much thought. We’ve done a cheatsheet below to show you how easy it is to put together a salad box that’s super yummy and also really healthy!
Let’s talk about Shopping
So, the focus therefore to eating healthy lunches all week doesn’t (necessarily) have to be about cooking lots of dishes in advance. It can be just about making sure you have the right produce in the fridge – something that shouldn’t take you more than an hour on a Sunday afternoon… Or even less time if you order your groceries online.
My Shopping List
- Greens like baby spinach or kale.
- Grains/beans like lentils, quinoa or brown rice. You can also buy these ready cooked if you’re too time poor to cook yourself.
- Proteins like chickpeas, smoked salmon or chicken.
- Vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, fresh herbs and carrots. Also cauliflower, sweet potato and beetroot.
- Special toppings like fetta cheese, avocado, hummus and yogurt.
- Lemons, seeds and nuts.
If I have a little extra time, I prep a few things in advance, cutting carrots, washing lettuce or making some quinoa. When it comes to any cooked foods (like meat or veggies), I like to integrate that with any cooking I plan on doing during the week. This shopping list is specifically for my lunch, but usually I’ll buy most of my produce so it can be used across lunch and dinner.
Building the Perfect Lunchbox
We’ve put together the above image so you can see how easy it is to build a salad lunch box – I think the toppings and sauces really make such a big different when it comes to the actual flavour of what you are eating. Which is great because this lunchbox comes with a little screw in sauce pot so that your salad doesn’t go soggy… Genius!
You can either make a bunch of lunch boxes a few days in advance, or make them on the day. Sometimes I make a few in advance and other times I just throw one together as I’m making breakfast. For anything that needs cooking like meat, vegetables or grains, I will just cook a little more at dinner and throw it into the lunch box the next day. Ie anything left over gets added to the lunch box! This is a great way to use all the leftovers in your fridge. In the event there aren’t leftovers, I simply go for a raw lunchbox with things like chickpeas and fresh vegetables.
In case you’re wondering what makes Prepd so popular, I think there are a few things. Obviously the design with its bamboo case, screw in sauce pots and leak proof containers, and the app which makes it easy to be inspired and plan your meals. Another thing I also noticed when using it was the layout and size of the containers which were great for giving you the right portion sizes (I generally eat healthy but usually eat wayyyy too much) and also encouraging you to have a healthy snack. I usually add greek yogurt and my granola, or some apricot or chocolate protein balls. In case you’re interest in trying it for yourself, you can get 15% off your purchase over at Prepd using the code ‘ASpare15‘.
I’d love to hear if you have any tips for me in terms of how you approach eating healthy during work lunches, I know it an be such a challenge! I have been trying to take my lunchbox outside to eat so I can get some fresh air, and get my steps up :).
This post is in collaboration with Prepd.