Work lunch is hard. Should you spend your Sundays doing meal prep, or half your lunch break trying and failing to find a decent sandwich?
Even if you do find a decent sandwich, it’s probably $14. And I don’t know your personal situation, but that seems like a lot of money to spend on sandwiches every day. If you’re working 5 days, then 5 x $14 = $70.
Seventy dollars a week on sandwiches. Does that seem excessive?
Even if you’re fine with that, eating healthy is pretty dang hard when you’re buying food all the time. Perhaps you have some health or weight goals you’d like to reach, or you’re hoping for a general improvement in wellbeing over 2020. Cafe food ranges wildly in quality, and a lot of it contains far more salt and processed ingredients than something you’d make yourself.
What if I told you work lunch could be… easy? Cheap? Delicious?
It can. Read on for some super easy lunch recipes you can put together in 5 minutes, whether you want something no-cook, low-cook or an indulgent guilty pleasure. All these ‘recipes’ are just basic formulas, so you can swap ingredients out for whatever is available or in season.
The main idea is to come up with a basic meal ‘idea’, and tweak it depending on what you’ve got. So take one of these loose ideas and run with it, or do it exactly as described. Depends how creative you’re feeling!
Classic Work Lunches
THESE CLASSICS NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE
1. The Wrap
Salad wraps are amazing. They’re dead easy, take two seconds, and you can put whatever delicious things in them that you like. Very little thought required, and their potential for variation means you can use them day in, day out without getting bored. Try this formula for a greek chicken wrap version:
of your choice
or cherry tomatoes
or mayo aioli
or turkey slices
or marinated tofu
2. Tuna and Rice Salad
Combine some microwaveable rice (which you can find near the other rice in the supermarket and which is an unqualified miracle), with some kind of crunchy thing, a protein, and a vegetable and ta-da, you have a healthy meal! Here in the office, my coworker has a stash of frozen veggies in those steamable sachets stashed in the fridge, along with a supply of tuna cans. Swap the rice for brown rice or wild rice if you’re feeling especially crunchy.
or brown rice
or wild rice
or 4 bean mix
or kewpie mayo
or fresh vegies
3. Pita Pocket
Pita pockets are really great for when you’re on the go. They patiently hold all of your food for you while you walk to the park to spy on all the dogs! Put the filling in when you’re about to eat it, though. You don’t want it to go all soggy.
Here’s an easy way to remember what to put in your pita pocket.
or mozzarella cheese
or fresh herbs
or crumbled feta
or goats cheese
4. Italian Sanga
Full of Mediterranean flavours, this one seems pretty fancy, and it might inspire some food envy in your colleagues. Nobody needs to know everything came straight from the IGA across the road!
with squeeze of lemon
roasted red capsicum (from a jar)
or cherry tomato
or any leafy greens
Livin la Vida Low-Carb
GET YOUR PROTEIN FIX
5. Tuna Salad, Chickpea Salad, Or Chicken Salad
Salads are pretty simple once you get the hang of how they work, and they are the best option if healthy eating is your goal. Keep the dressing in a separate container before it’s time to eat, along with anything that won’t play well with the other ingredients, like avocado.
or leafy greens
like red onion
or fried noodles
or nuts & seeds
something rich and salty
like red onion
or fried noodles
or nuts & seeds
cucumber & tomato
or other fresh veg
6. Quinoa Salad Bowl
For this quinoa salad bowl, you’ll need to make some quinoa and roast some vegetables beforehand (may we suggest Sunday night?). For extra deliciousness, grate some garlic, salt and olive oil onto the chopped vegies and give them a quick mix so they’re coated before they go in the oven.
It’s worth it, though, because the result is super tasty! And packed with health, with the quinoa providing protein and energy to keep you going til the end of the day.
or any leafy green
1 cup quinoa
nuts and seeds
2 small handfuls
eg. almonds, sunflower seeds & pepitas
lemon juice, salt and pepper
& red onion
Microwave Mug Magic
WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS A MICROWAVE AND A CRAVING
Okay, so not exactly the healthiest option, but sometimes you just want something warm and satisfying, like, yesterday.
These recipes from viral recipe video blog Tasty should come with a warning sign: more addictive than making grilled cheese sandwiches. Approach with caution.
7. Mug Mac & Cheese
In a mug, put half a cup of water + half a cup of macaroni + a pinch of salt in the microwave for 2-3 mins.
Stir in a splash of milk + 1/4 cup grated cheese + pinch pepper and microwave for 30 secs.
8. 3 Minute Mug Omelette
In a mug, put 2 eggs, half a diced capsicum, 2 slices ham, and a handful of chopped spinach with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Boom, you’ve got yourself a mug omelette!
Has all this delicious food inspired you to consider a career as a chef? Check out our culinary courses and read this industry insider story. Check out Ben’s story below:
Now you’ve got these quick and easy recipes up your sleeve, your next trip to the supermarket will be a whiz. And while everyone goes back to takeaways some days, now you have a list to refer back to so you won’t get stuck so often.
Work lunch doesn’t have to be hard! Whether you go for a chicken wrap or a chickpea salad, these easy lunch ideas will have you covered.
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